With a total population of 1,141,816, Birmingham is frequently referred to as the ‘second city in the UK’, and with so much going on, it’s easy to see why!
Interestingly, even though it’s called the ‘second city’, it’s actually the fourth-largest city in the UK. Surrounded by cities like Coventry, Wolverhampton, and Walsall, and towns like Solihull and Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham has a maritime temperate, with the odd continental influence thrown in. The summers are warm but relatively short, and the winters can be icy cold.
If you’re looking for history, Birmingham could be the city for you as it’s one of England’s oldest cities, with evidence suggesting that it has been inhabited since around 900 AD. Anglo-Saxons laid down roots around 1100 AD; however, Birmingham has also been linked to Roman and Celtic settlements!
If you’re considering a longer stay in Birmingham, it’s easy to see why. The city has a large, diverse economy, worth around £121bn, with job opportunities in different fields, making it appealing to people seeking new employment opportunities from all over the UK and even Europe.
What to do in Birmingham
History and culture
If you’re seeking culture, there are several museums and art galleries in Birmingham, including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum, and The Museum of Jewellery Quarter. History lovers will also be interested in historical sites such as St. Paul’s Church, built in 1715 and considered the oldest building in Birmingham.
In addition, fans of the popular television show, Peaky Blinders, could immerse themselves in scenes from the show and take a tour of 1930s Birmingham.
Fancy a bit of shopping? Then you’re in luck as Birmingham has many famous indoor markets, selling everything from antiques to fabric. The famous Jewellery Quarter attracts visitors worldwide, with jewellers selling quality pieces that you can even customise to your own taste. In fact, the Jewellery Quarter has been a hub for the jewellery trade for centuries, and it is still responsible for producing 40% of all jewellery made in the UK today. If you are looking for the high street stores, head to the Bullring or Square shopping centres.
Food and nightlife
The nightlife in Birmingham is buzzing, with a range of bars, pubs and clubs spread across the city. Plus, thanks to the diversity of Birmingham, foodies will not be disappointed by the eclectic mix of cuisines on offer. From fine dining to breakfast cafes, you’re sure to find a restaurant or dining place that suits your fancy.
Getting around in Birmingham
A well-connected city, Birmingham has trains and buses linking different parts of the city and the rest of the UK. Birmingham New Street train station is the main station in Birmingham, serving as a hub for Birmingham and the train routes that connect Birmingham to the rest of the UK. The West Midland Metro runs through Birmingham to connect the city to Wolverhampton.
Birmingham’s bus routes are divided into five zones: A to E. Depending on where you’re going, the price will vary as your fare will depend on how many zonal points you enter. Birmingham Airport is just ten miles south of the city centre, offering both domestic and international flights, plus it has a railway station linked directly to its terminals.
Want to get around by car or taxi? Birmingham is also well served by roads and hundreds of taxi companies. Brummies are notoriously helpful and friendly, so if you ever find yourself lost, just ask for help.
Tips for moving to Birmingham
If you’re considering moving to Birmingham, you’re making a great decision as out of all the UK’s cities, Birmingham is one of the most bustling, engaging, and fun! Plus, it offers a large economy with diverse employment opportunities, good schools, affordable housing, and it is easy to get around.
As far as the lifestyle of Birmingham is concerned, it’s very family-orientated as there are many local attractions and family-friendly activities on offer. In addition, there are plenty of green spaces and parks; in fact, there are over 100 family-friendly parks in Birmingham. The Cannon Hill Park, Highbury Park, and Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park are some of the best green spaces to visit. Plus, there are many famous annual events to celebrate the culture and history of Birmingham.
Schools and education in Birmingham
Home to several excellent schools and educational institutes, there are primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, and universities in the city.
Housing in Birmingham
Before you move to Birmingham, you should visit and get a taste of the numerous suburbs and areas which all have their own character and appeals. If you’re looking for some great places to live in Birmingham, start by checking out areas such as Digbeth, Jewellery Quarter, Erdington, Edgbaston, Harborne, and Holloway Head.
Compared to other cities in England, Birmingham offers affordable housing, especially the suburbs, which are well connected to the different parts of the city.
If you’re looking to move to Birmingham for the first time, Digbeth could be the perfect option. Previously home to the headquarters of Typhoo Tea, Digbeth used to be an industrial hub due to its proximity to the Grand Union Canal and Digbeth Branch Canal. Today, the area is a creative industry hub, with The Custard Factory and Fazeley Studios both being home to various digital and creative businesses. Digbeth showcases Birmingham’s past, present and future, with old warehouses turned into modern apartments.
Erdington is five miles northeast of the city centre and is one of Birmingham’s best places to live. With a rich history dating back to the 9th century when it was established after settlers travelled up the River Tame from Tamworth. Erdington is famous for Spaghetti Junction! It’s a well-connected suburb with convenient motorway access, excellent bus links and a railway station on the Cross City Line.
One of Birmingham’s most affluent areas, Edgbaston is well-known for its greenery and Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Plus, sports fans will be in their element as it’s home to Edgbaston Cricket Ground and the Edgbaston Archery & Lawn Tennis Society. Don’t worry if you’re not interested in sports, there are plenty of other attractions, including Birmingham University and multiple Michelin-starred restaurants.
A Victorian suburb based around three miles southwest of the city centre, Harborne has a long history, first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. Today, Harborne is perfect for families, thanks to its convenient connections to the city centre and leafy parks, nature walks, and excellent primary & secondary schools.
Just a stone’s throw from the city centre, Holloway Head is the perfect choice for those who want a modern property in the bustling heart of Birmingham. The regeneration of Holloway Head has created nearly 500 brand-new apartments in the city centre. Perfect for young professionals, they’re just a 10-minute walk from Birmingham New Street station.
A historic part of the city, the Jewellery Quarter, has been associated with shopping for a long time, but it’s become known as an up-and-coming residential area over the last few years. The area is also a thriving cultural hub, and it’s like a city-centre meets village community spirit, offering a vast range of indie coffee shops, sports facilities, and museums & galleries.
Moseley and Kings Heath
One of Birmingham’s most sought-after areas, Moseley was named the ‘best urban area to live’ by The Sunday Times. It is famous for its Victorian architecture, monthly award-winning farmer’s market, and summer Moseley Festival. There are plenty of independent bars, restaurants, cafes, and green spaces.
Looking for the best of both worlds, with convenient public transport on hand with the feel of country living? Then Solihull could be perfect for you. With several top-rated schools, and over 1,500 acres of parks and green spaces, Solihull is an ideal location for families. With easy transport links into Birmingham’s city centre, it’s an excellent choice for commuters and with Birmingham Airport just down the road, travelling internationally couldn’t be easier.
When moving to a new area, you want to know what medical support is available. Birmingham has many GP surgeries, dentists, and hospitals accessible on the NHS. If you’d prefer to seek private treatment, there are also many private medical institutions that will accept medical insurance.
So, there you have it. Now you have an idea of what it’s like to live in Birmingham; it’s time for you to start planning your big move.
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