HEART OF ENGLAND
Birmingham is a major city in England’s West Midlands region, with multiple Industrial Revolution-era landmarks that speak to its 18th-century history as a manufacturing powerhouse. It’s also home to a network of canals, many of which radiate from Sherborne Wharf and are now lined with trendy cafes and bars. In the city centre, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is known for pre-Raphaelite masterpieces.
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter tells the story of its namesake neighbourhood and the jewellery workshops that thrived here in the early 1900s. At Birmingham Back to Backs, visitors can admire surviving examples of the cosy, terraced homes that filled the city’s 19th-century working-class neighbourhoods. Contemporary attractions include the futuristic-looking Library of Birmingham, with a significant Shakespeare collection, and the Thinktank, an interactive science museum. Just outside town lie Cadbury World, which celebrates the famous confectionery maker, and Bournville Village, built for former Cadbury factory workers.
WHEN TO VISIT
Birmingham has mild summers (Jun–Aug) and cold winters (Nov–Mar). The busiest travel periods are Mar, when thousands turn out for the city’s famed St. Patrick’s Day parade, and Nov–Dec for a German-style outdoor market with dozens of food, toy and crafts vendors. In May, Birmingham Pride celebrates the gay community with a parade and other street festivities.