Tolkien had a love/hate relationship with Birmingham. While he hated cities encroaching on nature, it was the green fields, woods and farms of the area that inspired locations in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Bag End is a real farm. Tolkien tours still run occasionally.
There are no bulls, but you can visit Topshop, Zara and H&M. Surrounding districts await with less predictable discoveries, like the Great Western Arcade and the famous Rag Market.
The Number 11
They even made a play about it. The number 11 bus route is the nation’s longest, taking in 26 miles of the city’s West Midlands borders, and stopping at many of the best pubs in the process!
Far more than just books: for one thing, there is a tremendous view. We recommend witnessing a city sunrise from its rooftop garden. The futuristic nine-storey gold and silver landmark opened in 2013 and cost a cool £189 million to build (including the many facilities it contains). In days when books alone are no longer the attraction they once were, it welcomed 2.7 million visitors in its first year.
Birmingham is famous for its modern architecture, but there are also many older listed buildings, including the former home of the Legal and General Assurance Society that now houses 31 Birmingham apartments. No.8 Waterloo Street apartments are excellent locations for your stay in the city.
Moseley Folk Festival
Birmingham’s far-flung districts all have characters of their own, and Moseley’s is revealed in its alternative-leaning festival, set in eleven acres of woodland just two miles from the city centre.
The World of Ozzy
Yes, we gave the world Ozzy Osbourne and the zany humour of Bill Oddie. Stevie Winwood, Jamelia and Dame Barbara Cartland are other celebrities spawned by the city – as varied as the city itself.
The University of Birmingham claims to have produced more self-made millionaires than any other. The city is home to many other prestigious colleges too, including Aston, BCU and Newman, while University College is a top training ground for the nation’s future chefs.
Speaking of Food
You’ve surely heard of the Balti Triangle? Asian immigration led to Balti-style cooking developing its own character here in the 1960s. The city also receives praise for its other restaurants, coffee shops and street food.