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Top Rated Attractions in Birmingham

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Birmingham Back to Backs

As the only surviving example of the once prevalent Back to Backs of Birmingham, these historic buildings are a rare treasure. During the 19th Century, a number of buildings were built back to back around a common courtyard to meet the demands of the rapidly growing population of the city as a result of industrialization. These houses were inhabited by the working class who managed to survive in these cramped quarters. Each of the four Back to Backs around the courtyard has been restored and refurnished as a representation of four different time periods, giving visitors an extremely rare opportunity to take a peek into the lives of the ordinary working men and women of the 1840s, 1870s, 1930s and 1970s. Only a few slots are available each day and prior reservations are a must if you wish to visit these homes.

Library of Birmingham

Birmingham's main library was opened in 2013 and is one of the most recognizable and visited buildings in England's second city. The Birmingham's library is the largest public library in the UK and is as remarkable as looking on the inside as it is on the outside. As soon as you walk in you feel like you're in some sort of literary spaceship. And the collections are just as out of this world, including the Boulton and Watt Archives, the Parker collection of children's books and several notable photography collections and archives. In addition, the library houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room, designed in 1882 and moved from the old central library to this one.

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

A little way out from the city center but easy to get to, the Barber Institute is adjacent to the University of Birmingham. This is one of the world's finest small art galleries with an outstanding collection of old and modern paintings, drawings and sculpture. This gallery is not normally as busy as some larger galleries, so your tour will be un-crowded and pleasant. Artists' works include Bellini, Canaletto, Monet, Renoir, Rossetti and Van Gogh. The Institute is also a regular venue for concerts, lectures and other events.

Ash End House Children's Farm

A fun day out for children, especially since the emphasis is on close contact with the animals. Youngsters can hold newly-hatched chicks, take a pony ride and help to feed the animals. All your familiar farmyard friends are here, and some less familiar in the form of rare breeds. There are also demonstrations of traditional crafts associated with the farm, such as wool spinning. The farm is both interesting and educational and parents should enjoy it too.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses

These fine gardens, opened in 1832, were designed by John Claudius Loudon, a leading garden planner, and horticultural journalist. The gardens offer you the chance to see some of the most beautiful greenery in the world along with stunning glasshouses. Attractions besides plants include indoor aviaries, a restaurant with a fantastic view of the gardens, a children's adventure playground, a gift shop and plant center and a gallery displaying work by local artists.

Butterfly Farm

Proudly proclaiming the fact that it is "Europe's largest", the Stratford-upon-Avon Butterfly Farm affords a peaceful retreat away from all things Shakespearean. Hundreds of butterflies can be viewed at close quarters, many of the species sporting spectacular colors. For those interested in less attractive, more frightening creatures, other insect displays are available, including stick insects, leaf-eating ants and the world's largest spider.

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