Quite similar to the new Morrissey single, I spent the day in Birmingham yesterday. I don’t want this to turn into a thread of easy potshots against Birmingham, but it really is an odd city.

First, as a disclaimer, I grew up in the rural Midlands, with Birmingham as my closest city. I had been there loads of times before as a teenager for gigs and shopping, but yesterday was the first time I set a day aside to visit it and just walk around. Admittedly, I didn’t do any research, but in most cities, you can get away with that and still find lots of stuff. Not Birmingham though.

For a start, it was completely dead everywhere, which I found bizarre. There were hardly any signs or maps around, and few tourist attractions, also no parks (but lots of canals). I liked the library and the viewpoint and the Shakespeare room. It’s great for shops and chain restaurants, but not much else. Was I missing something?

It feels really strange as UK’s second biggest city. What is its future? What should I try and see next time?


Lad I lived with at university was from Birmingham and he swore blind it was a superior city to Manchester in almost every way and that in 20 years we’d see Birmingham taking over the ‘best city in England that is not London’ mantle.

Still waiting for that one. I’ve been to Birmingham about half a dozen times and I’ve hated every visit.

didn’t like it much when I was up there for work a few years ago. Strange place. Probably preferred Coventry as a place to visit for a day.

in terms of where it stands on the UK leaderboard for culture, it’s

  1. London
  2. Liverpool
  3. Edinburgh
  4. Glasgow
  5. Sheffield
  6. Manchester
  7. Birmingham
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Holy shit there is nothing bleaker than an anonymous Midlands town is there. Alfreton, Long Eaton, Burton… those lads.

Um Bristol would like a word.


yep forgot Bristol strangely, as I really like the city. Put it above Edinburgh.

Brighton hasn’t really given us anything culturally speaking though, has it. Nice place to go for a weekend, but what else? The same could be said for Leeds?

I probably felt more culturally enriched there than I do now in London. Loads of things on all the time and in a very concentrated area.

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Bansky. Trip Hop. Decent theatre.

that’s it.

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Tread carefully young man…


Joking of course. Haven’t been to Corby for a long time but isn’t it ok now? Benefitted from the same thing as Hull in that it was SO maligned it had a load of money pumped into it and now it’s sort of London commutersville.

I think Bristol would be the one place in the UK I’d happily move to other than London. It kind of feels like South London condensed. Easy to get around too.


yeah, shithole.
But let’s be honest, London is the only truly great city in the UK, with smaller places like Bristol, Bath, Edinburgh worth going to, but all the big pretenders - Manc, liverpool etc generally awful.

I’ve got a conference/meal at the ICC this afternoon/evening. We are going out on the town afterwards.
As a night out, it isn’t that bad if you know where to go.

Only ever been Bham when I was 12 so things to see:

Cadbury World
Drayton manor park
Sea life centre
Lots of my family

I know you’re trolling but Liverpool is fucking fantastic, let it be known.

Never really got the fuss about Bristol myself, but every cunt in East London’s moving there at the moment.


Forgot to mention the station, it is beautiful. I think anything would’ve been an improvement on the last one though.

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Lived and worked in Birmingham from 2011-2015 and absolutely loved being there so gonna defend it. There’s tonnes of great stuff going on, it’s just often quite hidden and people don’t tend to shout about it so you need to either look it up first, or meet people who are in the know. Took me a good few months to settle when I first moved there.

Also the city itself is weirdly laid out due to all the redevelopment, and it’s tricky to get to the suburbs etc where interesting things are. Public transport was shit, basically. Last time I went the building work everywhere made things even worse for navigating, but the city centre itself is almost entirely walkable in half an hour.

Off the top of my head:

Art stuff
Ikon Gallery
Vivid Projects
Eastside Projects
ORT Cafe/Gallery
Digbeth warehouses
Custard Factory
Millennium Point

Hare and Hounds
Sunflower Lounge
Flatpack Festival
Electric Cinema
Fierce Festival
Frontiers Festival
Rainbow Venues
Various warehouses in Digbeth often had interesting happenings

Balti triangle and Balsall Heath for curry
All the little cafes in the city centre, often in the arcades - 6/8 Kafe, Faculty, Yorks, 200 Degrees, peel and stone bakery
40 23 - great cheap mediterranean food opposite new street station
3 Michelin Star restaurants with fairly affordable lunchtime or set menus for fancy food
Cherry Reds for food and beer
The Victoria, Wellington, Post Office Vaults all decent pubs

The more suburby areas of Harborne, Kings Heath, Balsall Heath and Moseley all had great pubs for food, interesting shops, and markets etc most weekends.

There’s lots more I can’t remember now, but you get the idea.


I’m from the Midlands hello