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It is known as the heart of England, but Birmingham has many different beats to it. From the bustling city centre with its theatres, museums, bars and restaurants, to the urban, arty Digbeth, here’s a taste of some of the different flavours of the city.
Packed with bars and restaurants, the centre of Birmingham is easy to walk around and bursting with life. It’s here you will find its famed shopping district with its iconic Selfridges building and Bullring shopping centre and high-end Mailbox centre with its branch of Harvey Nichols. The cultural hub is centred around the landmark Birmingham Library building and Rep theatre and the gleaming new Paradise scheme development links it to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with its huge collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
Birmingham’s industrial heart is alive in the Jewellery Quarter, which is full of diamond jewellers and craftspeople still producing 40 per cent of Britain’s jewellery today. If you’re planning on getting engaged, this is the place to do it. Look carefully at the Georgian houses in St Paul’s Square and you’ll see the original workshops tucked behind them. Book a walking tour of the Jewellery Quarter with the knowledgeable Mary Moore and visit the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, where you can also join jewellery-making workshops. Grab a coffee in award-winning community hub The Hive, and finish off with a G&T at 40 St Paul’s.
It’s been dubbed the “coolest neighbourhood in Britain,” and Digbeth is the place to be for a vibrant independent arts scene. Check out the street art with a self-guided tour and relax in the bars and shops of the Custard Factory – the regenerated industrial centre that was the former home of Bird’s Custard. You can also follow in the footsteps of the Peaky Blinders, as Digbeth was where the term was first coined. Join a tour, or get right into the spirit in a Peaky Blinders escape room.
Another of the city’s Michelin-starred diners is Carters of Moseley – tucked in the leafy suburb south of the city centre. This hip area is full of venues like One Trick Pony Club and The Dark Horse as well as the home of popular Birmingham music festivals Moseley Folk and Arts Festival and Mostly Jazz Funk and Soul.
Birmingham is famous for its curries and rightly so. The home of the balti, the dish was invented in restaurants around Ladypool Road. Taste for yourself at the traditional Shababs Balti Restaurant, Adil’s or Al Faisal’s and then burn off all the calories with a running tour of Birmingham with Run of a Kind.