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Birmingham, England: Your Essential Weekend Itinerary

With a city population of over 1 million people, and almost 4 million in the surrounding metropolitan area, Birmingham is the second most populous area in the UK. Nicknamed England’s second city, Birmingham is the birthplace of many iconic and world-changing inventions, such as the Mini Cooper, the x-ray, gas-lit homes, and is even believed to have been J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration for the Shire. With so much to do and see in Birmingham, here are some of the top sites the city has to offer.

Cadbury World

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Cadbury World is one of Birmingham’s top tourist attractions, welcoming over 500,000 visitors each year. Rather than being a tour of the original Cadbury’s factory, which was established in Birmingham in 1824, Cadbury World is a custom-built tourist experience that takes visitors through the full history of Britain’s biggest chocolate company. There are 14 different zones that make use of video, animatronics, interactive displays, rides, presentations, and more.

The activities available include a 4D cinema, a demonstration of using chocolate to sculpt elaborate art, such as edible shoes, a number of chocolate-related computer games, and the opportunity to create your own Cadbury’s chocolate. Cadbury World is a must-see attraction for anyone with an interest in chocolate, which probably includes you.

Purecraft Bar and Kitchen

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In the last few years, many new businesses have tried to combine quality gastropub food with enjoyable craft beers, but few have done so as well as Purecraft Bar and Kitchen. The success of this establishment can most likely be attributed to the fact that it doesn’t pretend to be fancy. The food here is simple, traditional British cuisine, sourced locally, and made to the highest quality.

While the food choices may not be unusual, including the likes of sausage rolls, pork scratchings, fish & chips, and burgers, what sets Purecraft Bar and Kitchen apart from the competition is how they pair each dish with one of their carefully selected craft beers to give customers the maximum tasting experience. Most of their dishes are available for under £10, with their most expensive being the rump steak at £19. So whether you’re visiting from within the UK or from abroad, Purecraft Bar and Kitchen is a safe bet if you want to try top-quality British food without breaking the bank.

Black Country Living Museum

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The Black Country Living Museum is 26 acre village that serves as both a functioning village, and a museum. The village is made of reconstructed historic buildings that have been moved from the surrounding areas to create a real-life simulation of bygone British life, focusing on the years 1850-1950. Museum employees will help you step into the past by carrying out all the jobs held by villagers back in the day, so expect to see some old-fashioned locksmiths, apothecaries, and lime kilns.

While you may see a number of vintage cars driving around, visitors move about the museum using trams or trolleybuses. These will carry you to the center of the village, where you can shop in over 50 stores, visit a fairground, a mine, or a forge. The museum can be an especially enlightening experience for young children, who can see what school was like in 1912, or just watch their expressions when they realize that pushing a hula hoop with a stick was once considered a game. An adult ticket costs £17.95, while a ticket for children under 16 is £8.95.

Adams

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Adams is a high-end restaurant run by Michelin-star Chef Adam Stokes. Based on TripAdvisor’s customer reviews, the restaurant has frequently ranked among the top 5 in both the UK and the world. Despite these enviable accolades, Adam’s restaurant, while not exactly cheap, is great value for the quality of food you’re getting. Their 3 course lunch menu costs £39.95, and includes options like veal sweetbread and rare breed pork. At £90, their tasting menu is the most expensive, but includes dishes such as monkfish and guinea fowl. Finally, their 3 course dinner menu costs £65, and includes some of Britain’s best meat, such as Norfolk quail and Herdwick hogget lamb.

The restaurant itself is done in a modern style, with a gleaming array of whites and creams giving clear indications that this is a pristine setting maintained to the highest standards. It is a relatively sizable venue with several different dining areas, meaning it is suited for the likes of an intimate romantic dinner, as well as a professional business lunch.

As the second-biggest city in England, there is a lot more to Birmingham than we could ever convey here. It is a modern city with a rich history, where some of England’s finest historic buildings stand opposite daring new architectural designs. Birmingham also has the biggest public library in Europe, and more parks than any other European city, and is the cleanest city in the UK. All of this clearly illustrates the importance the people of Birmingham place on creating nice public spaces, and when you see it, the results will speak for themselves.

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