Birmingham is a unique and diverse city; this is our breakdown of the top 11 interesting things about Birmingham that you didn’t already know.
1. Celebrations and festivals
Every year, the St Patrick’s Day parade takes place in Digbeth, celebrating the death of Ireland’s foremost patron saint, St. Patrick. The parade is the third largest in the world celebrating the saint, behind New York City and Dublin. 80,000 people attend each year.
Other multicultural events include the Bangla Mela, celebrating the Bengali new year, and the Vaisakhi Mela – the Sikh new year celebration with a fantastic reputation in Birmingham. There’s also the Birmingham Heritage Festival – a Mardi Gras-style event in August. Caribbean and African culture are celebrated with parades and street performances by buskers.
2. A great place to be young
Birmingham is thought to be the most youthful city in Europe, with 40% of residents under 25.
3. Parks and open spaces
There are 571 parks in Birmingham – more than any other European city – totalling over 3,500 hectares of public open space. Sutton Park is the largest urban park in Europe and a National Nature Reserve.
4. British engineering at its finest
Britain’s most famous and best-loved plane was built in Birmingham – the Spitfire. The original Mini Cooper was also manufactured here for 41 years, not to mention the famous Rover and Land Rover.
Local inventor Alexander Parkes was also from Birmingham, he invented plastic.
5. Food for thought
Birmingham is the only English city outside of London to have 5 Michelin starred restaurants.
6. A buzzing, vibrant city
Birmingham is the largest and most populous city in England, outside of London.
7. Unique experiences
The Electric cinema is the oldest working cinema in the UK. It is also home to a new wave of quirky and independent cinemas, including The Mockingbird and Everyman Mailbox.
8. Selly Oak
The area of Selly Oak is named after a great oak tree that stood before being felled in 1909. A plaque remains on Oak Tree Lane.
9. A footballing city
The precursor to the Football League was born in Aston in 1885. The first teams to join were Birmingham City, Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion.
10. Bingley Hall
Bingley Hall, the world’s first exhibition hall, opened in 1850 on the site now occupied by the ICC, also the home to Birmingham’s very own symphony hall. It was built to exhibit all of Birmingham’s wonderful products.
11. A hub for business
Food brands that started in Birmingham include Cadbury, Typhoo and HP Sauce.
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