Sunday, 24 July 2016

Beautiful Birmingham, a City of Culture and Cordiality

A sculpture of a head from a Birmingham museum. Recently, I visited Birmingham with my daughter, to go to a Blogger's Conference. I have been promising myself since then that I would write a post about it, because everytime I go there, which isn't often enough, I'm reminded what a beautiful city it is. It's not just the architecture, it's the people too. Wherever I've travelled, I've never come across a more naturally friendly population! The atmosphere is friendly and relaxe and it always makes me want to go back again. Read on to find out more about this fair city, through the eyes of an infrequent visitor!

Statues in Victoria Square, BirminghamThe best way to visit Birmingham, particularly from Bristol, is via the Megabus. It is very, very cheap. Prices vary, but on our last visit, we paid just £3 each to get there (we left Bristol at 6.30am!) and £10 each to get home (this was at 5.30pm, so a bit more popular!). However, there is nothing cheap about the standard of the coaches. They are well organised, reliable, and really comfortable. The decor and quality is no different to any other coach company, it's just the price that's different! There are no other stops, once you leave Bristol, so the whole journey took a little over two hours. With no traffic worries, no parking charges and conveniently drops off right near the new John Lewis and New Street Station, perfect. 

So, we arrived at just after 9am and began getting lost pretty much straight away. It is a very tricky city to navigate if you are not a native, full of windy little side streets and alleyways. We got off the coach, grabbed our bags and started walking. Now, the best thing about Birmingham is undoubtedly the people. There is always someone with a friendly smile and a spot of helpful advice and it took about twelve seconds before someone kindly offered us a helping hand and established we were going completely the wrong way. I loved how this total stranger crossed the road to offer us directions, simply based on our confused demeanor. The first thing I noticed, once we were facing the right way, was the amazing architecture. Victoria Square is the perfect example of some of the beautiful buildings and statues that Bimingham has to offer.

Sculpture in a Birmingham Art Gallery
So, I went off to my conference and Jade set off to explore the city. I didn't manage to last the whole day, due to some trendy, and entirely useless, seating and left the conference early. We were booked into a Travelodge, which turned out to be lovely, so, after getting lost again, twice, on our way to the hotel, we decided to eat there. It turns out it's pretty tiring getting lost, particularly when it's really hilly. I had no idea Birmngham was hilly, so we all learned something there. Phew. The following day, we set off in another direction, and through the City's Jewellery Quarter. More beautiful buildings and a lovely little church greeted us, as we arrived at the RBSA Art Gallery, which is possibly the smallest art gallery I've ever visited, containing an even tinier one-table, self-service cafe. It did, however, contain some of the most exquisite jewellery, so was well worth a visit just for that. Birmingham has more than it's fair share of Arts and Culture attractions, including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and The Ikon. I try to visit one everytime I go there and hope to get through them all eventually. whenever we go to Birmingham, we always come away wishing we vould stay longer. If you've never been, it makes a lovely city break. Arts, culture, shopping, architecture, it has it all and lovely people too! 

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