City Guide



Introduction to Birmingham

Birmingham takes its name from the old English words describing an Anglo-Saxon settlement: Birm (a name) ing (tribe) and ham (home). The town became famous for manufacturing and was nicknamed the 'city of a thousand trades' for its many industries. Through the ages it came to specialise in metal work and jewellery. Best-known brands made in Birmingham are Cadbury's chocolate and the Mini car.

The city is the second largest in England, with a population of more than one million people. Birmingham's growth was fuelled by coal from the surrounding Black Country. Today it is best known for its complex road systems, namely Spaghetti Junction, the Bullring shopping centre and the Brummies' strong regional accent.

City centre

Birmingham is split into seven quarters, with the city centre defined by the Middle Ring Road. Much of the city centre is pedestrianised, with one side within easy walking distance of the other. The centre has a vast number of train, bus and metro stations that make Birmingham one of the best connected cities in the country.

Aston Triangle

Aston Triangle stretches from Digbeth Millennium Quarter to Five Ways interchange and is dominated by Aston University. The higher educational institute is near city science and technology business parks, Millennium Point and Aston Science Park.

Bullring Market

The Bullring has been the city's focal point for trade since the Middle Ages and remains one of the busiest shopping centres in the country, attracting more than 35 million visitors each year. It was one of the first malls to be built outside the United States and one of the few UK cities to have a Selfridges store.

Birmingham Convention Quarter

This is the seat of fun in the city. The National Indoor Arena (NIA), International Convention Centre (ICC) and Town Hall and Symphony Hall can be found here. Nightlife bustles along Broad Street, which bisects the area. By day the National Sea Life Centre and Number Nine The Gallery attract a good crowd, by night it's the turn of the Gas Street Basin and Old Turn Junction canal areas.