This is the ideal park for the entire family, offering a variety of facilities including boating lakes, playgrounds, tennis courts, tropical greenhouses and nature conservation areas. It is also the home of the Midland Arts Centre. A walking/bicycling route winds through the grounds that has recently been extended. The park also plays host to a variety of concerts, performances and the annual Fireworks Fantasia.
The Rep is one of Britain's most successful and prestigious producing theaters, having achieved national recognition for quality and excitement. The theater offers an eclectic mix of productions. Past performances have included Noel Coward's Private Lives, Patrick Marber's award-winning Closer and a version of Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men. The theater also has a cafe bar, which is extremely popular in the evenings and on weekends, often offering live jazz.
Situated across Church Hill Road, the St Alphege Parish Church is a historic church that dates back to the 12th Century. Over a period of time, it was refurbished several times; the bells and the church's shire were renovated too. It is a beautifully restored religious space and its ancient organ pipe organ, stained glass windows that belong to different time periods and the overall architecture is worth exploring. Apart from that, this church is home to community functions, choir concerts, youth groups, sermons, lectures and similar events.
Housing one of the world's finest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art, with works by Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown and Holman Hunt, Birmingham's principal museum and gallery is located in a stunning Victorian building. The museum displays works by British and European artists, along with collections of ceramics, sculpture, silver and stained glass. You can also find archaeological, ethnographic and local history exhibits, including Egyptian mummies.
The Black Country is a large industrial area to the north-west of Birmingham and this museum is a reminder of how things used to be here 100 years ago. It comprises many historic buildings, taken down from elsewhere and re-erected to make an authentic town of a century ago. Highlights include an old-fashioned funfair, a narrowboat ride and a trip down a coal mine, light is deliberately kept to the levels that would have been experienced by the miners. All children and adults can take a lesson in an 1840s school and tour round a Victorian sweetshop, chemist's, nail-making shop and stables, among many other exhibits.
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.
The epicenter of the Industrial Revolution, Birmingham was once known as the 'city of 1001 trades'. A master of reinvention, the city has shed its once gritty, industrial vibe towards a more contemporary, cultural outlook with institutions like the City of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, International Convention Center, and Coffin Works paving the way for cultural exploration. Georgian-era landmarks like St. Paul’s Church, Victorian-era Law Courts and the Neo-Gothic St. Martin’s Church offer a glimpse of a bygone era while the Selfridges Building and Library of Birmingham serve as a modern symbol of the city's evolution. With a vibrant dining, theater and nightlife scene, the city offers much along its canal-lined streets and is a powerhouse of modern British life.
Perhaps more closely resembling a totem pole, this enjoyable and unmistakable modern sculpture stands as a memorial to Birmingham industrialist James Watt. The obelisk features a large block of stone, on top of which is another with the crude beginnings of a carved human head. On top of that is a third block, with more recognizable features, then another, which is still more sophisticated. The final head, at the top of the pile, is the smallest and is recognizably that of James Watt. The Wattelisk is located in front of the new Queen Elizabeth Law Courts, just off Corporation Street. Open everyday.
A real architectural gem, the foundation stone to this beautiful terracotta building was laid by Queen Victoria herself in 1887. It's not to be confused with the modern Queen Elizabeth Courts in nearby Dalton Street: not that you could confuse the two. This monumental edifice is lavishly decorated with fine sculptures and prompted a rash of terracotta buildings elsewhere in the city. The russet architectural marvel is as inviting as it is exotic. It is now home to the city's Magistrate Court
Until recently a rather shabby subway occupied this site, but now is a pleasant square with benches, trees and hedging. Situated towards the top of Corporation Street, its features include a relief sculpture depicting people and stories from the area's history (a 13th century priory once stood here, and Dr. Johnson was a regular visitor). You won't miss the distinctive sculpture of Birmingham-born comedian Tony Hancock. Not a conventional sculpture, this is a flat outline showing Hancock with his trademark hat and coat slouched over a cup of tea. With typical Birmingham wit, his statue in Old Square is close to the National Blood Transfusion Service - "The Blood Donor" was a classic episode from his hit sixties TV series.
St. Chad's is one of two cathedrals in Birmingham. Situated opposite the Thistle Birmingham City, and with one of the finest decorated church ceilings in the Midlands, St Chad's was designed by A.W.N Pugin who was at the forefront of Gothic revival architecture. It was also noted for being the first Roman Catholic cathedral to be built in England since the Reformation. The cathedral has a well-respected choir, who sing on Sundays. Do check out the website or call for timings.
St Philip's is a rare example of fine English baroque. The Cathedral is elegantly decorated with four stained glass windows by Birmingham-born Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. Its dome is based on the central dome of the Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. It is listed as a Grade I building and is the third smallest cathedral in England.