With a population
of just over 1,000,000 people, the city of Birmingham is considered
to be the 'second city' of the United Kingdom. The metropolitan is
in the West Midlands and forms part of the larger West Midlands
conurbation (with the neighbouring towns and cities like
Wolverhampton and Solihull)
Birmingham played a major part in the Industrial Revolution in
Britain. Because of this, Birmingham was often known as the "city of
a thousand trades" and the "workshop of the world".
Originally a 6th century farming hamlet in Anglo-Saxon Britain,
Birmingham has a rich history. By the time of the English Civil War
in the 17th century Birmingham had become an important manufacturing
town. It built it's reputation on producing small arms which became
a staple trade for the area.
These days, Birmingham is an ethnically and culturally diverse city
with many museums and galleries. Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery
is one such example that features many leading works from the
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood movement. The work of Edward Burne-Jones
is prominent in the gallery.
As well as being a popular cultural centre, Birmingham has over
8,000 acres of parkland and open spaced. Sutton Park, the largest of
these parks, covers nearly 2,500 acres. This makes it the largest
"urban nature reserve" in Europe. Another highlight in Birmingham is
the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and the Winterbourne Botanic
Garden. The latter of the two is maintained by the University of
In recent years Birmingham has seen two major developments and
regenerations to major parts of the city. Brindleyplace is a new
major canalise development featuring many restaurants and office
buildings along with the National Sea Life Centre which is
recommended for family days out. The second development, the
Bullring Shopping Centre is complimented by designer stores in
addition to the offices and apartments.
The Birmingham National Indoor Arena is a famous and popular
location for large scale sporting and entertainment events. It is
one of the busiest large scale entertainment venues in Europe.
Because of the location and size, Birmingham is a major transport
hub for motorway traffic, rail and canal links. Spaghetti Junction
is the most famous motorway junction in the UK and serves a number
of major motorways around the city.
Birmingham International Airport is the sixth largest airport and
has the second highest proportion of business traffic (London
Heathrow being the largest)
Within the city the popular local transport is by bus, local train
or tram. Travel West Midlands operate many of the bus routes and
account of over 80% of all bus journeys in Birmingham.
By rail, Birmingham New Street is the main railway station. It is
located in the centre of the national railway network making it a
major stop of many railway routes. A local Metro service operates
from the station to Wolverhampton and serves some of the smaller
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