Birmingham is the second- largest city in England and the UK after London. In some quarters Birmingham has a bit of a poor reputation but we have visited a few times and have always found it to be a lively, fun and safe-feeling city. Although Venice has a greater number of canals, Birmingham has more miles and the areas by the ones in the heart of the city have undergone regeneration and include lots of places to grab some food and drink. There are plenty of interesting buildings in the city, a blend of the historic and the ultra-modern. The Waterstones here is located in a large Art Deco building close to the Bullring Shopping Centre – the building was completed in 1938 and was formerly a branch of the Times Furnishing Company.
I can’t write about Birmingham without mentioning the library! It opened in 2013, replacing the old Central Library and is currently the largest library in the UK. Some dislike the modern design but I think it’s fab (but then I also liked the old library, which was Brutalist in style and definitely not to everyone’s taste!) – nicknames include the hat box and the wedding cake. It houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room, which was originally built to house Birmingham’s Shakespeare collection – the room was dismantled from its previous location and reassembled at the top of the library.