Birmingham & Sutton Coldfield
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From the shiny Bullring shopping centre to the vibrant cultural scene, top-class attractions and acres of beautiful parks, there are many things that make Britain's second city a marvellous place in which to live.
Birmingham's city centre has undergone a massive transformation over the last decade. There's the iconic Selfridges store with its blue-and-silver space-age architecture; the smart Mailbox (home to a plethora of designer shops headed by Harvey Nicks, and the BBC); the National Sealife Centre; and Millennium Point with the fantastic Thinktank science museum, Planetarium and giant IMAX cinema.
For evenings out, head to the elegant Brindley Place and its canalside wine bars and restaurants. Artworks can be enjoyed for free at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (which has some magnificent Old Masters and Impressionists) and at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (famous for its extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelites and the amazing Staffordshire Anglo-Saxon Hoard).
For live pop, rock, jazz or Bhangra, you can choose from spectacular stadiums or intimate gig venues, while classical music-lovers can enjoy the world-class CBSO orchestra or Birmingham Royal Ballet.
South of the city is Cadbury World, where you can tour the famous factory, scoff lots of chocolate and discover a bit about Birmingham's industrial heritage.
For a populous city, it comes as a happy surprise that there are some 8,000 acres of parkland scattered across the suburbs, and more than 100 miles of canals. It couldn't be easier to get some fresh air and exercise.
See our Local listings for further details and many more suggestions.
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