Birmingham is the second-largest city in England and located in the West Midlands region. Although it has 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. However, nowadays, people travel to Birmingham in different ways.
1) BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT
Birmingham Airport is an international airport flying to numerous destinations. It is located on the outskirts and serves the whole of the midlands, international.
2) BIRMINGHAM GRAND CENTRAL/ NEW STREET STATION
Grand Central is a shopping centre located above New Street railway station. Although the station has been around for a while, it has recently been revamped.
3) BIRMINGHAM COACH STATION
Birmingham Coach Station is a major coach interchange in Digbeth
4) CURZON STREET RAILWAY STATION
Birmingham Curzon Street railway station is the planned High Speed 2 terminus station in the city centre of Birmingham. It was once a former railway station.
5) MOOR ST STATION
Birmingham Moor Street is one of three main railway stations in the city centre of Birmingham, England.
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Like with all cities, Birmingham has hidden areas that are not obvious but are just as beautiful and just as much a must to visit when visiting Birmingham. These define what is Birmingham and are truly hidden gems.
1. Jeweller Quarter
Historically, the heart of the jewellery industry, hence its name, now an up and coming area with numerous independent shops. Hidden within walking distance of the centre of Birmingham, it is fast becoming the hot spot for young people. However, jewellery is still very much at the heart of it.
2. Custard Factory
The Custard Factory is an independent shopping destination and creative and digital business workspace location in Digbeth. Located on the site of what was the Bird’s Custard factory in the industrial district of Digbeth, it is now home to a thriving working community of creative & digital businesses, independent shops and cafes and bars. They include hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses.
3. Gas Street Basin
Gas Street Basin is a canal basin in the centre of Birmingham, where the Worcester and Birmingham Canal meets the BCN Main Line. It is also situated near high-end restaurants, shops and bars. Nestled between, are new development flats and luxury apartments.
Bournville is a model village on the south side of Birmingham best known for its connections with the Cadbury family and chocolate. Full of a chocolate box housing and is designed as a cute quaint village atmosphere.
5. Sutton Coldfield
The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, lies 7 miles from the centre of Birmingham. It is an affluent suburban town with millionaire mansions and a sought after area in terms of housing. As a result, it has redeveloped the town and now includes a multitude of independent shops and cafes. One of its main features is its large park and ample green spaces.
To find out more about Birmingham, click here.
The Mailbox is an upmarket shopping and office development in the city centre of Birmingham, England. It serves as the base for BBC Birmingham and houses one of six Harvey Nichols department stores.
What Need to Know About ….. The Mailbox, Birmingham
- The Mailbox is about 300 metres long from front to back including The Cube. Above the front shops, it has an additional 6 floors which include a Malmaison hotel, residential apartments, restaurants and bars.
- The structure consisted of a steel frame on a 40-foot (12 m) square grid with lightweight pre-cast concrete floor slabs and reinforced concrete retaining walls and subfloors. The exterior was clad with cast glass troughs and exposed aggregate panels.
- The exterior consisted mainly of the glass slabs and projecting air handling units with recessed windows.
- On 30 May 2013, Milligan Retail announced that the Mailbox would undergo a major renovation, designed by Sterling Prize winners Stanton Williams, which would see a roof installed over the shopping complex’s atrium.
- The anchor store, Harvey Nichols, would double in size to over 45,000 sq. ft. It was also announced that Brockton Capital and Milligan would work in coordination with Birmingham City Council to improve the public area reaching from the underpass beneath Suffolk Street Queensway to the front of Mailbox.
- Previously the location of a railway goods yard with canal wharves off the Worcester and Birmingham Canal leading to Gas Street Basin, the site was the location of the Royal Mail’s main sorting office building for Birmingham.
- When completed, it was the largest mechanised letters and parcels sorting office in the country with a floor area of 81,000 m2 and the largest building in Birmingham.
Location of The Mailbox
Mailbox is conveniently located in Birmingham city centre, whichever your method of travel. The main shopping and business districts such as New Street, High Street, Corporation Street, Grand Central, Brindleyplace, Bullring and Colmore Row are all less than a 10-minute walk away.
There are also three major train stations within a 10-minute walk, including New Street, the largest station in the city.
To find out more about the Mailbox click here
Top 10 Modern Buildings to Visit in Birmingham
When you think of Modern Buildings in England, Birmingham is not top of the list, London is. However, with recent investment and cheaper land, in recent years the scope to develop Birmingham has been HUGE!! By 2030, Birmingham will be the innovative green city and a stand out city for international markets. With more in the pipeline, like the HSBC building, numerous towers including the 42-storey tower on Broad Street and Natwest Tower, Paradise Forum and the redevelopment Digbeth Canal. In the meantime, here is a couple to get you started.
Grand Central in 2015 transformed our embarrassing old New Street station into somewhere visitors wouldn’t mind spending more than ten minutes.
2. The Cube
The Cube is a 25-storey mixed-use development, it contains 135 flats, offices, shops, a hotel and a skyline restaurant. The cubic dimensions of the main design element lend to the name of the development. However, the building consists of three stages with the cube being one of them.
The Mailbox is an upmarket shopping and office development in the city centre of Birmingham, England. It serves as the base for BBC Birmingham and houses the Harvey Nichols department stores. Above the front shops, it has an additional 6 floors which include a Malmaison hotel and residential apartments. The Worcester and Birmingham Canal passes along the back with a number of restaurants overlooking.
The Library of Birmingham is a public library in Birmingham, England. It is situated on the west side of the city centre at Centenary Square, beside the Birmingham Rep and Baskerville House.
5. Millennium Point
Millennium Point is a multi-use meeting complex in Birmingham, England, situated in the developing Eastside of the city centre
6. Hyatt Regency
Hyatt Regency Birmingham offers a quintessential stay in Birmingham’s city centre
7. La Tour Hotel
Hotel La Tour is a modern classic Birmingham hotel proudly designed and managed around creating lasting memories and exceptional experiences for our guests.
We are committed to providing first-class customer service. Here you’ll find meticulous attention to detail and passion for getting things right that is reflected in all we do: from the early morning “How are you?” to the 174 stylish bedrooms, brasserie-style restaurant, sophisticated bar, gym and conference and events floor.
8. 10 Holloway Circus
10 Holloway Circus is a 427-foot tall mixed-use skyscraper in Birmingham city centre, England. It is named after the developers, Beetham Organisation, and was designed by Ian Simpson and built by Laing O’Rourke
The Rotunda is a cylindrical highrise building in Birmingham, England. The Grade II listed building is 81 metres tall and was completed in 1965.
The site has always been a centre for commercial trade and shopping, originally holding markets, then a shopping centre and most recently, in 2003, the Bullring Shopping Centre with the iconic silver disc facade of Selfridges.
So remember, when booking your next trip to England, and if you want something a bit different, keep Birmingham in mind.
To find out more about Birmingham and other architectural sites click here
To find out more about the surrounding area of Birmingham click here
The Bullring Shopping Centre is a major commercial area, and iconic symbol, within the centre of Birmingham. The area has long been the established shopping district of Birmingham, since the Middle Ages, but is more commonly known to outsiders since the redevelopment. The current shopping centre was built in 2003 in order to revive the city and establish it as the true second city of England.
Location of Bullring Shopping Centre
The site is located on the edge of the city ridge which results in the steep gradient towards Digbeth. The slope drops from New Street to St Martin’s Church which is very visible near the church. Within easy walking distance to 3 main train station, and numerous car parks, it is accessible to all.
Exterior of Bullring Shopping Centre
The most iconic part of Bullring Shopping Centre is the Selfridges store. The Selfridges store is clad in 15,000 shiny aluminium discs and was inspired by a Paco Rabanne sequinned dress. There is a multi-storey car park opposite Selfridges which is connected to the Selfridges store via a 37-metre long, curved, polycarbonate-covered footbridge, known as the Parametric Bridge, suspended over the street.
The building’s shape itself resembles that of the shell and featured a curved bronze roof with both ends covered with glass. The building form is inspired by the mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci who identified natural patterns of growth found throughout the universe.
Outside the Bullring, towards the south, consists of a restaurant area called Special Street. Construction of the part indoor, part outdoor development consists of a glass, wooden and aluminium exterior and concertinaed style roof.
Also, at the main entrance to the west building stands “The Guardian”, a 2.2-metre tall bronze sculpture of a running, turning bull inside a ring.
The shopping centre itself consists of two main buildings the East Mall and the West Mall. Inside the two buildings which are connected by an underground passage lined with shops and is also accessible from St Martin’s Square. The two malls are different internally in design.
Bullring is the glamorous heart of Birmingham with over 160 imaginative and desirable shops to explore. Since opening in 2003 Bullring has helped to transform the city of Birmingham.
Gallery of Bullring Shopping Centre
To see more Buildings in Birmingham, click here
Blog Posts that include the Bullring Shopping Centre
The Library of Birmingham is the largest public library in Europe, designed by Dutch studio Mecanoo, including a circular courtyard, rooftop gardens and a facade clad with interlocking metal rings coloured in silver and gold. The library itself is used by users of all backgrounds and ages, connecting Birmingham.It provides a cafe, reading space, chill zones and nature spots.
What Need to Know About ….. The Library of Birmingham, Birmingham
- The building itself is made up of four rectangular masses, staggered to create canopies and terraces. The external facade compromises of overlapping metal rings, over gold, silver and glass. These rings can be seen from the third floor.
- A gently sloping floor leads visitors down to one level and then to another, where the children’s library and music section at the base of the building is. Here a circular courtyard allowing people to view the world sits.
- There are three main floors that branch out from the staggered centre of the building, rows of bookshelves and study spaces. Then the archives and research spaces occupy the levels above, while an oval space at the top of the structure houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room. Overlooking these top two levels are plant-filled terraces creating spaces for visitors to read and study outside.
Location of The Library of Birmingham
It is situated in Centenary Square, beside the Birmingham Rep, to which it connects, and Baskerville House. The construction of this building began the start of the cities much-needed redevelopment.
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Grand Central Station, is a train station and shopping centre located in Birmingham. It opened in 2015 as a much-needed redevelopment of the previously dilapidated train station. The original centre was built in 1971 and known as The Pallasades. The centre has been redesigned with a glass atrium roof as the centrepiece and is home to numerous shops and restaurants, with the main store being John Lewis.
What Need to Know About ….. Grand Central Central, Birmingham
- By reshaping Birmingham’s existing 1960s station, it increased its capacity to 52 million passengers per year.
- The undulating stainless-steel cladding added around the old station is based on the distorted shapes seen from moving trains.
- Warped reflections of the train tracks and surrounding plaza are created by building’s curving form and reflective cladding.
- Large “eye-shaped” screens have been integrated into the facade to mark the four main entrances.
- Inside, the station is split over two levels, with the station on the ground floor and retail on both. The lower floor
- The new vaulted roof sits on the columns of the original station building to enclose a public concourse and two tiers of shopping, including an AZPML-designed John Lewis department store with a glazed facade.
Location of Grand Central Station
Grand Central is located in the heart of Birmingham city centre directly above Birmingham New Street Station. If travelling by Car on the M6, take exit at Junction 6 and then follow the A38 into Birmingham City Centre, you will see signs for Grand Central.
Purpose of Grand Central Station
Located in the heart of Birmingham City Centre, making it place to not only eat, drink, travel and shop but a common meeting place.
Gallery for Grand Central Station
Blog Posts of Grand Central Station
Top 10 Places to Eat and Drink in GCS
Top 10 Shops to Shop at in GCS
To find out more about Grand Central Station go on there website, click here.
The train is where I start, a hub for an intergalactic spaceship with people toing and froing, the quick lunches being eaten by the hurried suits and packs of young and carefree. Up I descend and am hit with a range of smells, steaming hot pies, pho’s and pastries. Venturing around the corner and down a narrow indoor alley, again, packed with people, the angled lightning from above leading me. As I emerge from the dark, I enter a large airy space looking down I can see even more space and decide this is where I want to be. When I get there I am met with hordes of people and decide to continue on towards the exit, the middle of large, long people’s highway.
I turn and find in front of me, giant silver balls, cascading down uniformly. As I follow these they lead me to the towering church alongside a noise of hustle and bustle. Market traders and customers bargaining to get the best deal. The rejuvenation of this city is impeccable with its old and new sitting side by side.
Venture to the east and the same occurs, the giant golden concentric circles boxed on top of one another, beaming to welcome you in. As I escalated up to the top of the box I was met with a sanction of greenery. A few steps forward and I could see in the distance the towers and the construction workers. Immediately to the right, however, was a rather dull sight, miserable grey, a sign of history dilapidation. Change was occurring but not for all.
Stepping inside the dull grey and the same resonated. On the other side, this was a different story altogether. The sound of gentle streaming water began to gently please the ear. Standing in the middle of the bridge, and behind was the dull grey, underneath was the gentle water, to the left was a tunnel and streets, to the right, a meander with possibilities and in front rows of a hidden world. I decided to venture forward.
The red brick buildings each displayed a different message, some of the food, some of drink. Meandering on and a square emerged with clean linear buildings neatly placed and all centring around this square with coffee resonating from the middle and a gentle patter of water. To the left a tall tower, with beautiful trees, again all neatly lined up. A far world from where I started.
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Want to Read More About My Ventures in Birmingham
Birmingham Suburbs hold some worthwhile pieces of Architecture. It is most definitely worth venturing out and checking out some of these.
1. Cadburys Factory
Cadbury World is a visitor attraction, featuring a self-guided exhibition tour, created and run by the Cadbury chocolate company. It houses a manufacturing site, and has expanded and developed its content through ‘continuous improvement’.It gives visitors the opportunity to explore and discover chocolate’s history, and to learn about the origins and story of the Cadbury business.
2. Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Edgbaston Cricket Ground, is a cricket ground in Edgbaston. It hosts a wide range of cricket matches. Edgbaston has also hosted the T20 domestic finals day more than any other cricket ground. The cricket ground also has a variety of conference and banqueting halls available for a variety of events.
3. Sarehole Mill
Sarehole Mill is a Grade II listed water mill on the River Cole in Hall Green, Birmingham, England. It is now run as a museum by the Birmingham Museums Trust. It is known for its association with J. R. R. Tolkien and is one of only two working water mills in Birmingham.
4. Birmingham University
The University of Birmingham is a public research university located in Edgbaston. The main campus of the university occupies a site some 3 miles south-west of Birmingham city centre, in Edgbaston. It is arranged around Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower. Chamberlain may be considered the founder of Birmingham University and was largely responsible for the university gaining its Royal Charter in 1900 and for the development of the Edgbaston campus. The university’s Great Hall is located in the domed Aston Webb Building. The initial 25-acre site was given to the university in 1900 by Lord Calthorpe.
5. Perrott’s Folly
Perrott’s Folly, also known The Observatory, is a 29-metre tall tower, built in 1758. It is a Grade II* listed building in Edgbaston. Built in the open Rotton Park by John Perrott in 1758, who lived in Belbroughton, the tower now stands high above the local residential and business housing.
6. MAC Birmingham
The Midlands Arts Centre, is a non-profit arts centre situated in Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. It was established in 1962 and is registered as an educational charity which hosts plays, concerts and films shows, and holds art exhibitions, music classes, and workshops for all ages.
7. Birmingham LG Arena
The Genting Arena is a multipurpose indoor arena located at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) near Birmingham. It has a capacity of 16,000 seats. The venue was built as the seventh hall of the NEC complex.
8. Resorts World
Set within a shopping mall overlooking Pendigo Lake, this contemporary hotel is a minute’s walk from the Genting International Casino and an 11-minute walk from Birmingham International train station.
9. Birmingham Botanical Gardens
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are a 15 acres botanical garden situated in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. They are located a mile and a half from Birmingham city centre. It is an independent educational charity.
10. Moxhull Hall
Moxhull Hall is a truly special place. This lovely Victorian mansion, set in 8 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens is the perfect venue for hosting weddings and a unique place for conferences, restaurant dining or overnight stays. Privately owned, the place is alive with warmth, hospitality and individual style. Original grandeur alongside modern, contemporary design gives Moxhull Hall a personality all of its own.