Why is it that when someone mentions the UK, our minds immediately go to London? Yes, it is the capital and largest city in the country however there is so much more to this island in the north of Europe than just London. That is why we created ‘Top 10’ lists for big cities in the UK that we think you should try out for your placement. Each one of the cities we have chosen have a unique atmosphere that students worship so we wanted you to know too.
This week we introduce to you Birmingham; located in the heart of England Birmingham – or ‘Brum’ as it’s affectionately known – has reinvented itself in recent years and there are more than 10 reasons for it to be your first option.
1. Birmingham has been named one of the ‘top 10 cities in the world’ two years in a row by Rough Guides. It was the only UK city that made it into the list and it beat Rome, Paris, Milan and of course London.
2. It is practically impossible to feel like a stranger in Birmingham. The city is a melting pot of different cultures from all over the world. The city embraces you as one of its own. It is the place to be for all you foodies out there; Indian, Chinese, Irish, Turkish, Caribbean, Polish, Bangladeshi and Italian cuisine at its best.
3. Birmingham is on and off record the youngest city in Europe; 40% of its residents are under 25 and you can see that by taking a quick walk in the city. They even have their own name. The city labels them as ‘The New Beat Generation’ and encourages them to create their own events, which they do in abundance.
4. Birmingham is located in the heart of England. It is only one hour and twenty minutes away from London, Manchester, Bristol and Sheffield via train. It even has its own airport with flights to all European countries.
5. Start-ups, design agencies and tech companies are thriving in the Birmingham and it has begun to develop a collaborative scene in recent years. So if you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur or working for the next big name in business then Birmingham is definitely the place to start your career.
6. For all you fashionistas out there who are not really keen on saving money during your placement period then there is only one destination and the name of it is Bull Ring. With over 160 shops it is one of the most exhilarating city center retail experience anywhere in Europe. Providing an amazing backdrop, Bullring’s architecture mixes the historic St Martin’s Church with the visually stunning and world famous Selfridge’s building.
7. Birmingham is all about the weekend activities. For those with a sweet tooth Cadbury World is open on Saturdays and Sundays; and yes they do offer free chocolate. For those looking for a cultural experience, The Library of Birmingham is around 20% larger than the old Central Library building and is the largest public library in Europe. The ten-level Library shares a spacious entrance and foyer as well as a flexible studio theater seating 300 people with the Birmingham Repertory Theater. Birmingham is also the home to UK’s oldest working cinema which has been open since 1909.
8. Brum offers one of the best nightlife experiences in the UK, which is pretty self-explanatory if you take into consideration the four universities that are located in the city. From Digbeth warehouses to Broad Street DJ bars and live music venues, you’re never short of options when it comes to clubbing in Birmingham. You can find lively cocktail bars and quirky coffee shops in every corner.
9. Birmingham is located right next to Shakespeare’s county. Warwickshire has been named one of the best places to visit in Europe, according to the Lonely Planet guide. The county was listed as sixth of Europe’s best 2016 destinations ahead of the east coast of Tenerife, Northern Dalmatia in Croatia and the Texel in the Netherlands in the travel guide. Historic Stratford upon Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare; there you can choose between city bus tours, river cruises or a city sightseeing tour on foot.
10. Believe it or not in industrial Birmingham you can discover the inspiration for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Birmingham has strong links with author JRR Tolkien, whose classics Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have also been made into blockbuster movies. Tolkien lived in nine homes in the south of Birmingham during his formative years from 1895 to 1911 and later in life he explained that he drew inspiration for his writing from the people and landscapes of the city and the surrounding countryside. The city has a Tolkien Trail showing the places linked to the writer; the nearby towers at Edgbaston Waterworks and Perrott’s Folly were the inspiration for the ‘two towers’ of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Choosing the top 10 for this list was not as easy as you would think. Birmingham has so much more to offer you, but we will let you discover all its vibrant sides by yourself during your placement period. Till next time!