Birmingham – Second to None!

Steeped in history and beauty, Birmingham’s Council House

Steeped in history and beauty, Birmingham’s Council House

An English city which attracts over 34 million visitors every year has been singled out by a prestigious New York publication as one of this country’s top holiday destinations-and it’s not London! The New York Magazine has told its readers that Birmingham is the place to choose as a holiday destination.

The article mentions the city’s many art, cultural and historical attractions-including the renowned Royal Ballet, the Jewellery Quarter, Brindley Place and the taste buds trail of the Balti Triangle.

This is the second recent accolade from New York to praise the city-last year it was the turn of the New York Times to describe Birmingham as being ‘a friendly and fun place’ to visit.


I wonder if Harp readers have ever though of Birmingham as a holiday destination? Have they ever visited the city centre during the annual Summer Floral Trail, taken a barge trip on a system, which has more miles of canals than Venice, sipped a coffee at Brindley Place, paid a visit to the Jewellery Quarter or the fascinating Pen Museum?

The prestigious Symphony Hall is well known to Harp readers who attend the annual Bob Brolly and Friends charity concert, the nearby NIA is equally famous.

The city’s Electric Cinema in Station Street has been showing films since 1909 and a visit to Cadbury’s factory in Bournville should please the Americans-especially now that they own it!

From an Irish point of view the annual St Patrick’s Parade now attracts over 100,000 visitors and Harp readers can feel a warm glow in knowing that many of Birmingham city centre’s most iconic buildings and squares have been paved in stone by Basil Burke from Kiltimagh, County Mayo.

Birmingham new £189 Million Library-some people have likened the building to Marmite-you either love it or hate it!

Birmingham new £189 Million Library-some people have likened the building to Marmite-you either love it or hate it!

Birmingham’s renowned historian and Harp Contributor, Professor Carl Chinn MBE had this to say-

“It is heartening that the publications in America have highlighted Birmingham as a tourist attraction and that it draws attention to venues both within and outside the city centre. Others that could be added to that exciting list include the engrossing Pen Museum in the Jewellery Quarter; the magnificent Jacobean mansion of Aston Hall; the entrancing Moseley Bog with its connection to Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings; the stunning St Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, a tribute to the talents of the great Pugin; proper traditional pubs like the ‘Anchor’ and ‘White Swan’ in Bradford Street and the ‘Bull’s Head’ in Price Street’; and the independent shops of York Road in Kings Heath, exuding with originality.

There are many more intriguing, exhilarating and creative places to go in Birmingham – but let’s stop saying it is the Second City. Instead of second best we should be proclaiming ourselves as ‘Birmingham. Second to None’.