Outside looking in, it seems like London has it all. Sure, London may be where all the hot-shot celebrities live, and its a haven for the metropolitan shopper to bag those designer brands and hipster one offs. But we all know the saying: ‘first the worst second the best’, and Birmingham can definitely hold its own against the capital. Here’s 15 reasons why you should ditch the tacky tourist hotspots and rush hour madness for the wonderful second city of Birmingham.
Birmingham is full to the brim with history
London has its fair share of cultural curios and historic landmarks, but sometimes this country’s other great locations get overlooked. Birmingham is more than just the Bullring and Broad Street, we have a gilded history in jewellery, alongside a historic museum and gallery (pictured), a regal hall, the birthplace of incredible chocolate and an immense cathedral that stands proudly in the middle of it all.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
The locals actually speak to each another
Have you ever bumped into someone in the tube station and apologised, only to be met with a scowl as they speed off to catch the next tube (which are every two minutes, why the rush?) Maybe its because Birmingham isn’t home to the most confusing and stressful transport service ever, but the locals here are friendly, helpful and proud of their community.
Birmingham’s street food scene is completely unique
Despite not being the capital of England, Birmingham is spoilt for choice for incredible independent eateries. We’re fortunate enough to have local start ups flying the flag for our food scene, the infamous Digbeth Dining Club being one of them. Many food ventures have found their feet and created a name for themselves at this event, which brings the hungry punters to Digbeth every week in their hundreds – come rain or shine.
We have an unforgettable LGBT scene
Hurst St is not just a street for those who fly the rainbow flag. Everyone is welcome, and is sure to have an incredible night out. We are lucky to live in a city that is so proud of its LGBT community, and celebrates it through clubs, bars, and a pride weekend that is second to none.
Not to forget our incredible music scene…
Some people may cringe at the long forgotten phrase “B-Town” – but you can’t argue the fact that Birmingham’s music scene is of its own kind. From the days of Peace, Jaws and Swim Deep becoming household names Birmingham has excelled with the likes of The Cosmics (pictured), Paper Buoys and Ivory Wave fronting the next to breakthrough. Local music nights at venues such as The Sunflower Lounge, Hare & Hounds, Actress & Bishop and many more give a platform for fresh, local talent ready for stardom and are well worth visiting.
We can even be fancy
Second to London, Birmingham has the most Michelin starred restaurants in Britain. Each of these restaurants pride themselves on quality and originality, each being completely unique not only to each other, but to anything that London can provide.
Does London have a crazy golf course with a sex shop, toilet, VCR store and pub?
No, didn’t think so. If you haven’t been to Digbeth’s Ghetto Golf yet, where have you been?
Birmingham is the true home of the gangster
Forget the Cray Twins, the Peaky Blinders have captivated the world by storm, with their West Midlands charm met with brutal gang qualities. Based in Birmingham, Peaky Blinders is now on its fourth series, slicing, slashing and head butting their way into hearts of millions, so why not visit where it all began – Digbeth?
Good old canals…
If you utter the words “more canals than Venice” to a brummie local, expect a possible eye roll and a groan. Despite being the stereotype of Birmingham, this fact should be celebrated, and its this intricate waterway that connects Birmingham and brings many visitors to marvel at this man made creation.
Businesses are constantly popping up here
Businesses are becoming attracted to Birmingham, without the fear of being swallowed up by London’s elite and established. This year, we can look forward to the team behind Nottingham’s Rock City opening a new music venue here, as well as new bars Head of Steam and Dirty Martini. Even London’s own The Ivy is setting up shop on Temple Row!
Birmingham is greener than London
As of last year, Birmingham is home to 17 of Britain’s best green spaces – including Cannon Hill Park, Eastside City Park and the famous Lickey Hills (pictured). It’s time to ditch the smog and high rise cityscapes for lush green and natural beauty.
Public transport is on the up
Forget the stuffy, cramped sardine tin they call The Tube, even in rush hour there are plenty of choices for transport in Birmingham. The new tramlines create a network of the city centre that stretches as far as Wolverhampton, as well as our train connections to London (both now and in the future with HS2) and the buses that run in and out the city centre every 10 minutes.
The city never stops reinventing itself
It was Grand Central last year, this year it’s the Custard Factory (pictured). Regeneration is a constant here, and no doubt every time you visit Birmingham something new has popped up, whether it be one of the most eye-catching libraries in the country, luxurious high rise hotels, new entertainment complexes or a lick of paint to its creative quarter.
Living costs aren’t through the roof
Remember the story of someone renting out a cupboard under the stairs? Due to the current economic climate the cost of living in London is £754, a shocking number compared to the £576 a month in Birmingham. With cheaper accommodation and excellent travel links, living in Birmingham is a no brainer.
The Brummie accent is worth the trip alone
Everyone knows the Birmingham accent, often ridiculed, but never mistaken. The Brummie accent is distinct and legendary, and part of the city’s personality. Living in Birmingham, the accent will grow on you, and expect “bab” to sneak into your diction quite quickly.
Did we miss anything? Why do you think Birmingham is better than London?