In it's quest to gain more of those elusive tourist dollars, Birmingham is casting around in it's history for new museums to draw in the tourists.
There are tentative plans for a museum of tennis - as it is claimed the world's first game was played in Edgbaston, a couple of miles from the city centre.
Tolkein could obviously be the basis for another 'visitor experience', although I feel they may have missed the bandwagon somewhat on that one.
More promisingly some suggest a 'Spitfire museum'. About 60% of the Spitfires built for WW2 came out of Birmingham, so it can rightfully claim to the home of the plane. It is rare that a piece of machinery performs so well, but also is a thing of beauty as well. I certainly support the push for such a museum, although I suspect they will have great difficulty in obtaining a full working example. The very few spitfires that remain, from the thousands produced, are often are the 'main draw' exhibit in whatever air museum they currently reside in.
Still, chocs away chappies, bandits a 3 O'clock, Ginger's bought it but we are still up for an innings. Tally- ho.
Tourist Information Centres aren't my favourite things and fondest memories of Birmingham but I couldn't think where to list this info for the best.... it's just really to let you know where they all are.
BIRMINGHAM Tourism Centre and Ticket Shop, The Rotunda, 150 New Street, Birmingham B2 4TA
This centre is under the Rotunda, a tall round building standing over the Bull Ring Shopping Centre. It is just down the passageway between the Bull and the shop, Zara
Birmingham National Exhibition Centre, Atrium Tourism Centre, The NEC next to Hall 9, Birmingham B40 1NT Tel: +44 (0)121 202 5101
Birmingham National Exhibition Centre, Piazza Tourism Centre, The NEC next to Hall 5, Birmingham B40 1NT Tel: +44 (0)121 202 5102
Opening hours for NEC offices: Mon - Fri 09:00 - 17:00
Welcome Centre At the junction where New Street meets Corporation Street, Birmingham Town Centre.
Opening hours: Mon-at 09:00 - 18:00, Sundays & Bank Holidays 10:00 - 16:00
The Welcome Centre is a glass structured meet and greet centre for visitors and is staffed by multi-lingual assistants.
The ICC Tourism Centre The Mall, The ICC, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EA Tel: +44 (0)121 202 5100
Jewellery Quarter Information Centre
Location: 120 Vyse Street, situated by Jewellery Quarter Clock.
Open: 10.00am - 4pm Monday to Saturday
The general contact telephone number and e-mail details are as follows:
Tel: +44 (0) 121 202 5099 (Information)
+44 (0) 121 202 5000 (Tickets)
+44 (0) 121 202 5050 (Short Breaks)
Lines open Mon - Sat 09:30 - 17:30, Sundays & Bank Hols 10:30 - 16:30
Web: Be In Birmingham Website
Fondest memory: Services available include the usual kind of Tourist Centre services such as accommodation booking, tickets for theatres etc, ticketmaster booking for events nationwide, books, guidebooks and gifts, coach tickets and excursions, tickets for local attractions (some of which can be purchased here at a discount).
I pop into the centres periodically as their services are really useful and lots of the information leaflets you pick up give discounts on admission rates or offer linked tickets with other attractions that you wouldn't normally know about.
I have compiled all these details from various lists so if you have any trouble with the individual telephone numbers, please use the general information number (+44 (0)121 202 5099)
situated in Sparkbrook (where I'm from) is the home of the Balti. Balti food was invented in Birmingham about 1991 and Sparkbrook is the main place to go in Brum for a Balti.
the Stratford Road, has a strip of Balti Restaraunts that offer great food and great hospitality and a real buzz at the weekend.
Fondest memory: Balti - The Tabac
Pub - The Brewers
Record Shops - Don Christies / Summit
other - The Holte End (Top Left) 1987-1994 3.00 pm on a saturday
BT Tower is still better known by many locals of my age as the Post Office Tower, even though the telephone side of the business has been separated off from the Post Office for many years and it has been privatised for over 20 years. The tower is a prominent landmark on the north side of the City Centre. It has very recently been repainted (April 2005) and is floodlit at night.
I took this photo from the platform at Snow Hill Station.
Just outside the door to the main terminal at Birmingham International Airport is a fingerpost sign to a whole range of European cities (and Beyond) that you can reach with a flight from the airport.
Some more sarcastic commentators might remark that a European arriving at Birmingham for a weekend break might reflect (in the piddling rain of course) the other options they could have taken when booking a flight !
Some years ago there was a little MAGLEV train that 'flew' the vast distance of 500 yards or so between the airport terminal and the train station. It no doubt looked good on the bid for the 1992 olympics, where Brum picked up about 3 votes (and those delegates thought they were voting for Birmingham , Alabama)
This futuristic technology was developed by the Germans, and the Chinese who now have a line some 20 miles or so long that catapults trains along at over 300 miles per hour.
So what happens in Birmingham ? It is replaced by a couple of train cars on a length of rope - a system that was perfected around the middle of the late 19th Century. It's also bulit on some tatty concrete legs that look as if they have been nicked from a council-built shopping centre in Lewisham in about 1967.
One of the very first railways in Britain ran from Euston in London to Curzon Street in Birmingham. The two ends of the line had very similar doric columned grand stations. The Birmingham building still stands and is just visible from the current main line into New Street, on the right, as you approach Birmingham from London or Coventry.
It is now being developed as the new Royal College of Organists HQ when thay will leave their present site near to the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Jan 2005 The restoration project for the Royal College of Organists will cost GBP8.2m and is due to be completed in 2006
Calling from puplic phone to outside UK is expensive so you can buy some prepaid calling card , they are cheap and can call anyone .
there is too much kind so ask the seller for the best card for the destenation you want to call
Favorite thing: NEC, as it is known, is the National Exhibition Centre. It is near to Birmingham International Airport and next door to the International Railway Station. It consists of 21 exhibition halls covering 200,000 square metres of space. It is the 7th largest venue in Europe.
For those VT member who want to keep in touch I have now come across 2 internet cafes. The first in the Pallisades Centre (0121 633 9803). The Pallisades Centre is at the top of the escalators above New Street Station, and the internet cafe is immediately at the top of the escalators.
The 2nd is on the very top floor of the Pavillions Shopping Centre, outside HMV records and next to Waterstones Bookshop. Here they are selling vouchers for 5 hours for £5.00
Most people have the impression that Birmingham is very built up. It certainly is the case that there are large areas where you wonder where the city stops and the countryside begins, but amongst all the urban sprawl, there are some wonderful parks. These include Cannon Hill Park, Highbury Park, Kings Heath Park, Moseley Bog, Harborne Park and Sutton Park, to mention a few. The first three are literally seperated by a couple of hundred metres, so you can imagine that it makes the area that they lie in feel very green.
Cannon Hill Park in the summer is a great place to be. I mispent many hours of my youth lazing about in the sun among the many glades. Every summer, Birmingham City Council puts on a "Fireworks Fantasia" in Cannon Hill, which many thousands of people attend with picnics. It starts early evening with party music and concludes with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) playing classical music as the fireworks are set off. It makes for a truly magical evening.
Birmingham Nature Centre is the best place to go. The centre has over 134 species of mainly British and European wildlife in a six and a half acre site. It can be found at the back of Cannon Hill Park, opposite Pebble Mill and close to Edgbaston Cricket Ground
Admission: £1.50 adults; £1.00 concs
Visit the Symphony Hall.
Also i recommend both the Alexandra and Hippodrome theatres.
Walk down Broad Street,the main cultural street in Birmingham.
Around Birmingham you have the recently opened Touchwood Centre in Solihull.The Touchwood centre is packed full of shops of different sorts.
Visit the nearby town of Stratford,the birthplace of William Shakespeare.Where you can stroll down the river Avon or take a boat.
Go Shopping...the abundance of shops is paradise for those with money to spend, there is nothing you cannot buy.
Go Clubbing...the pubs and clubs are first rate with a style and a taste to suit everyone. There are a great many places to eat out, with alot of choice on offer....whatever you fancy, we have it, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Japanese..spoilt for choice.
1) Park at the Indoor Market Carpark (In the City Centre) It's got one of the cheapest rates around at 50p first hour.
2) St Martin's Market opens on Tuesdays Fridays and Saturdays - It's a large enclosed (street style)market with many stalls (Almost like an organised carboot) near the chinese quater and they sell all sorts of quirky interesting things. Seems odd to me for the market to be opened only on such odd days in a prime building but - thats Birmingham for you.
3) You absolutely must visit BM&AG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery). It's Free Entry (unless you count giving a small voluntary donation ) and Birmingham has one of the finest Pre-Raphaelite Painting Collections.
4) You must also visit the IKON Gallery on 'trendy' up and coming Broad Street. This Gallery in stark contrast to the BM&AG is housed in a wonderfully refurbished old building with lots of creative interactive exhibitions by contemporary artists both performing and fine.
Fondest memory: Birmingham's city mascot is the crane (not the bird) as it's mostly under construction at the moment. I'm sure Birmingham will be a mighty fine city when they finish building it.
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