At the beginning of November I went to Birmingham with my big sister for the weekend. It was predominantly to see Jamiroquai at the Arena Birmingham (or the NEC/Barclaycard Arena they keep renaming it!). She bought me the ticket for my birthday and I got to spend some quality time together with her. I have not spent any time in Birmingham before so here is what I did in the 24 hours I was there with hopefully some helpful tips.
We travelled to Birmingham by train which only took 45 minutes from our departure point. The trains were pretty busy. There were lots of reservations so I would recommend booking in advance if travelling long distance. There are three stations in Birmingham. The best one to arrive at is Birmingham New Street which is slap bang opposite the Bullring shopping centre. The station itself is a treasure trove of shops and eating places. It looks like an airport its huge but very easy to navigate.
We chose to stay at a budget Ibis hotel which was only meant to be a 20 minute walk to the Arena. We got lost getting there and back thanks to me and google maps. However in the morning (as is always the case) we found a much quicker route. Its only a 10-15 minute walk from the station and was basic but clean and comfortable. We were literally using it for getting changed and sleeping and were both so tired we slept well. I can imagine that it could get quite noisy as it seemed to be a place to stay for young nightclubers and its only a five minute walk to the Birmingham O2 Academy which is a venue which hosts pretty lively bands and rock music.
We didn’t opt for the breakfast as it was only continental and there were so many other places to choose from it wasn’t an issue. Its right on the outskirts of the city centre and not the nicest area to walk around at night so we probably would not go back but as I said it did the job this time.
Birmingham is well known to have an abundance of shops and The Bullring is MASSIVE! I could not actually cope with all the stores on offer it was too much. The escalator in one area has a queuing system for getting down it as there are so many people. I like shopping as much as the next woman, but there were just too many to take in.
I bought a few things including a rather large Simba toy from the Disney store. (It was discounted, I had some birthday money and I was persuaded). It was a lovely Disney shop, and I literally could have bought half of it. I am still longing after an Olaf toy I left behind but just could not justify buying it so close to Christmas.
There are many, many food outlets to choose from including Five Guys, Nandos, Jamies Italian, Giraffe etc. We chose to have our dinner at Handmade Burger Co which is situated outside the Bullring centre opposite a rather lovely church. The burgers are massive so you might want to share some chips as we did and it was pretty decent food. We did not wait long to be served and seated even though it was heaving. I think it was about £30 for what we ate and drank so pretty standard for a main meal. For our breakfast we went to Giraffe which is inside the station. We both chose scrambled eggs on sourdough bread (pictured) which came with a big mug of tea for £5 and was just what the doctor ordered! You definitely wont find it hard to find somewhere to eat.
That is pretty much it. Plenty to see and plenty to do in Birmingham. Until next time!
Read about my 24 hours in Norwich if you like this post.
All photos ©CarriesCloset