I do love the centre of Birmingham! Great food, great shopping and great views in a smallish area.
So I was playing around on t’internet and I thought I would see if I could get a decent deal on a train trip, and I found that if you booked three months ahead and weren’t too fussy about timings then yes you could! So I priced up a return to Birmingham New Street (about 30 quid return!!!) and set about finding a hotel. Now I have to admit, my favourite hotels are Premier Inn – the rooms are always comfortable and there is none of the pretentiousness of the fancy hotel chains. You can usually get a half decent meal too.
So I ended up staying at a Premier Inn in Waterloo Street Birmingham (about 20 minutes stroll from New Street station) for two nights.
Other than the Bullring there are a number of shopping centres in the centre of Birmingham, some are really nice, others, not so, but with a couple of hours before the shops shut, I had a wander around some of the lesser known ones – The Square, Martineau Place and the Piccadilly Arcade. I didn’t go to Birmingham to shop, but I like the buildings and the atmosphere. I did seem to spend most of my time in shopping areas though. The next day I went to the museum and Chinatown. I was disappointed with the museum (I prefer the RAMM at Exeter if I’m honest), I think I expected it to be like the big museums in London, but sadly it wasn’t.
Lunch in Chinatown was amazing. I noticed a number of Chinese going into one place so I thought I would join them. I had roast duck, roast pork and roast chicken with vegetables on a bed of fried rice, all for £7.00. I can honestly say, it was one of the biggest meals I’ve ever eaten! I had to go back to the hotel and sleep it off!
That meant I didn’t want to eat anything in the evening, so I walked to the nearest Wetherspoons – The Briar Rose (about 50yds away) for a couple of pints of Guinness and very nice it was too! Wetherspoons are great for people watching.
I had 1 day left (my train was leaving at 6:45pm), so I chose to go to the Bullring and the markets.
I had lunch at Izza Pizza in Selfridges, it was probably the best pizza I’ve ever eaten and I watched it being made – gorgeous! I went to explore the markets after lunch, there are three markets open to the public, the rag market, the bullring open market and St Martins market. I saw things I’ve never seen before – the rag market is brilliant, mainly clothing but loads of material. As I wandered back into the Bullring, I went in a different direction and found myself in yet another shopping centre, this one built above New Street Station! It had a massive John Lewis store and loads of others. Thankfully there was somewhere to relax and enjoy a glass or two of wine before I went downstairs to catch my train. In all, a really lovely couple of days.