May 02, 2017
Thinking of settling in Birmingham? There is lots to love about the UK’s second largest city. Take a look at our guide to life in Birmingham to find out more about the city’s history, culture, and quality of life.
Birmingham has a rich history, and you’ll see reminders of its booming industrial past throughout the city. A city of thinkers and doers, during the Industrial Revolution, there were more patents registered in Birmingham than in any other British city.
Birmingham was home to the world’s first cotton mill, Upper Priority Cotton Mill, and was where the industrial steam engine was invented in 1776. In the 19th century, the postage stamp was invented in Birmingham, and it was officially given city status by Queen Victoria in 1889.
There are nearly 2,000 listed buildings across the city, showcasing Birmingham’s Victorian, Georgian and even medieval past. Visit the city’s original parish church, St Martin in the Bull Ring, or St Chad’s Cathedral, the first cathedral to be built in the UK after the Reformation.
In the UK’s second-biggest city, you’ll find no shortage of cultural attractions. Whether you want to learn about the city’s rich past in its many museums, watch live music in venues big and small, or enjoy a weekend at festivals throughout the year, there’s something for everyone in Birmingham.
The city has a rich history of literature, with both J.R.R. Tolkien and W.H. Auden spending their formative years in the city. Today, that literary past lives on in the Library of Birmingham, built in 2013, which is the UK’s largest public library.
Birmingham is also a major musical hub. It was the birthplace of heavy metal music, with Black Sabbath and Judas Priest both hailing from the city. Birmingham regularly plays host to world-class musical talent at leading venues, as well as smaller, independent gems such as The Sunflower Lounge and the Custard Factory.
Birmingham is a haven for foodies, and whether you prefer street food or Michelin starred dining, you’ll find no shortage of tasty treats in and around the city.
Birmingham is often called the curry capital of the UK, thanks to the bewildering array of restaurants which were once to be found in the city’s Balti Triangle. Nowadays, there are fewer to choose from, but as the home of the balti, this spicy dish is still a must-eat in the city.
For a special treat, take a trip to one of the city’s multiple Michelin starred restaurants, including the fabulous Adam’s Restaurant on Waterloo Street, and Carters of Moseley.
And, of course, if you’re a chocoholic, you could do worse than live in Birmingham, home of Cadbury chocolate.
Birmingham is a shopping mecca, with everything from high street favourites to independent retailers. The Bull Ring has long been an important retail destination in the city, and since 2003, it has housed Bullring and Grand Central, where you can find a 25,000 square foot branch of John Lewis alongside over 200 other shops.
For chic clothing, one-off pieces and unusual gifts, head to Piccadilly Arcade opposite New Street Station, which houses a range of unique independent shops. Great Western Arcade is another top pick for independent retailers, where you can find everything from confectionary shops to fine wines.
Birmingham is the perfect place for families, thanks to an abundance of highly-rated schools in the city. From state schools to independent schools, there is a wide range of choice in both primary and secondary education throughout the city and its suburbs.
There are also five excellent universities in Birmingham, including the University of Birmingham and Aston University, as well as additional options for higher education in Solihull, Warwickshire and other areas of the Black Country.
Getting around in Birmingham couldn’t be easier, thanks to its excellent bus network, but also its good rail links and easy motorway access.
Birmingham New Street Station is a major rail hub in the UK, offering connections to London taking an average of two hours. The city also boasts an underground network, but the largest proportion of public transport in Birmingham is by bus, with around 50 local bus network operators in the West Midlands.
Just outside the city is Spaghetti Junction, where the M6 meets the M38, connecting Birmingham to London, north-west England and Scotland.
The city also boasts more canals than Venice, with 35 miles of waterways within the city!
If you need advice for first-time buying in Birmingham – or if you’re looking for a reliable mortgage broker in the West Midlands – don’t hesitate to contact us today.
We’re experts on all things mortgage-related (and our services are always 100% free).
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