Birmingham is the wonderfully-vibrant second city of the UK, jam packed full of culture, food and shopping opportunities. Here are 10 things that we love to do in Birmingham.

1 – Shopping

Birmingham is home to the famous Bullring Shopping Centre. It has been a marketplace since the middle ages and after being completely rebuilt in 2003, it is now one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe. Expect to find designer brands alongside all the usual high street names and a great selection of food places.

2 – More shopping at Grand Central…

The Bullring isn’t the only place for shopping in Birmingham now. In 2015, a complete overhaul of New Street Station – the main train station – was finished. Inside Grand Central you’ll find a huge new John Lewis and when it comes to satisfying your shopping-induced hunger, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Expect to see big open places and high glass ceilings. We’ve also got a store there!

3 – Drink great coffee

Within a few minutes’ walk from Grand Central there are a number of independent coffee shops that serve great food and even better coffee. Try York’s Bakery Café, Urban Coffee Company, Boston Tea Party or Faculty Coffee.

4 – Go to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG)

BMAG is free entry and it has a stunning collection of pre-Raphaelite art as well as the Staffordshire Hoard. It also hosts other art galleries (The Gas Hall/The Waterhall Gallery) that often have travelling exhibitions you can pay to see. The museum also has a hidden gem of a café: The Edwardian Tea Rooms. These were recently refurbished and it’s quite a thing to eat in an Edwardian-era building surrounded by modern chic!

5 – Check out the view at The Library of Birmingham

The new Library of Birmingham and its postmodern architecture have been the cause of a few heated debates between city residents. But whether you love it or loathe it, it really is something to see. Head inside for a vast collection of books, visit the Shakespeare room and head to the 7th floor terrace to get some amazing views of Birmingham.

6 – Stroll along the canals

Birmingham is famous for its canals. It’s said that there are more canals in Birmingham than in Venice! Head over to Brindley Place and the Gas Street Basin to walk along the canals and grab some food.

7- Catch some music at the Town Hall

The Town Hall is a few minutes from Grand Central. It looks grand with its ancient-looking pillars outside but don’t be fooled: it’s a state of the art music and performance venue inside!

8 – Watch a film at an independent cinema

Birmingham is home to at least three independent cinemas: The Electric, The Everyman and The MAC. For a taste of what it used to be like going to the cinema, and to taste a glass of wine while you watch the film, check out The Electric.

9 – Be wowed by theatre and dance

The people of Birmingham are spoilt when it comes to live theatre and dance. Within a 10-minute walk from Grand Central there are more than five theatres! The REP, The New Alexander Theatre and The Hippodrome are just some of the more well-known names that host world-class theatre and dance.

10 – Stare at the diamonds in the Jewellery Quarter

On the edge of the city centre lies the world famous Jewellery Quarter. During the industrial revolution this was a hotbed of activity. And for many years a majority of the world’s jewellery originated here. There are still lots of independent jewellery shops where you can buy and sell gold, silver and precious stones. There’s also a working museum that shows people how things operated a hundred years ago!

Armed with this list of great things to do in Birmingham, you’ll have plenty to do when you visit. And don’t forget to come and say hello to us!

Photograph of the outside of the Selfridge’s building was taken by Rohit Mattoo