Take a stroll through Birmingham’s city centre squares and streets to find fabulous shops and restaurants, fantastic street entertainment and stunning architecture.
Birmingham’s most famous street takes you from the Bullring at one end to the Town Hall and Council House at the other. On the way there’s plenty to grab your attention including Jack Wills, The Body Shop, Primark and Watches of Switzerland - or maybe the latest cinematic blockbuster at the Odeon. Why not take a break along the way at Starbucks, Pret a Manger or Café Rouge?
Narrow streets with brilliant names snake off to unearth hidden gems. There’s the unique independent boutique Disorder on Needless Alley, Jigsaw and M.A.C on Cannon Street, and two of Birmingham’s specialist independent fashion retailers in Autograph and ‘a too’ on Ethel Street.
Don’t forget to explore Piccadilly and Burlington Arcades too. Both offer a host of independent retailers, jewellers and hair and beauty stores including Bad Apple Hair, Piccadilly Jewellers and Smithsonia, as well as unique places to eat and drink such as the Bacchus Bar and top quality designer clothes from the likes of Flannels.
Recognised as a shopping destination in its own right, it’s an easy walk from New Street Station, Snow Hill Station or the Bullring, where you’ll find big names such as Gap, Jane Norman and the only New Era Caps flagship store outside of Berlin and London.
House of Fraser commands pride of place on Corporation Street, packed full of the latest men’s, women’s and children’s fashion, as well as a wide range of home and beauty items.
Just off Corporation Street is Martineau Place, a great spot for lunch with EAT and Sainsbury’s at hand, as well as Nata, an independent café specialising in Portuguese coffee, sandwiches and treats. If you head the other way, you’ll walk down Cherry Street and head towards Birmingham Cathedral where office workers and visitors mingle and enjoy the lunchtime summer sunshine in its’ beautiful green church yard.
The Square is home to more of Birmingham’s independent retailers. The indoor Oasis is a legendary institution and houses dozens of independent and alternative retailers. From bikes to boots, Manga to masquerade masks, the Oasis is bound to stock it!
Linking Bullring with Marks & Spencer, you’ll find the best street entertainers providing a lively backdrop to the vibrant, bustling High Street. Big names such as Waterstones, the city’s largest Boots, H&M and Levi, as well as M&S can be found here. It’s also the gateway to Pavilions, one of our major shopping centres and home to brands such as L’Occitane and Hobbs as well a large food court on the top floor.
Squares, Fountains and Famous Faces
At the top end of New Street is historic Victoria Square, named after Queen Victoria. Dominating the square is the Council House building, with elaborate architectural detailing, mosaics and statuary. The fountain in the square, known locally as the “Floozie in the Jacuzzi”, is one of the largest fountains in Europe. Nearby, a giant figure emerges. The Iron Man statue by Anthony Gormley represents the heavy manufacturing heritage of Birmingham and the region.
In the centre of Chamberlain Square is a fountain and memorial dedicated to the square’s namesake, Joseph Chamberlain. Chamberlain was one of Birmingham’s most influential and popular civic leaders in the nineteenth century.The adjacent Chamberlain Square is small but perfectly formed. The square is home to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), the largest art gallery in the city. With the most comprehensive collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork in the world, as well as works from the Middle Ages to the present day, the BMAG is one not to be missed.
The Birmingham Central Library is one of the busiest public libraries in Europe. In Centenary Square, the new Library of Birmingham is taking shape and will replace the current library in 2013.
Centenary Square is one of Birmingham’s newest public spaces and is undergoing extensive redevelopment. The new Library of Birmingham, with its striking golden facade and fretwork is taking shape in the centre of the square. At one end, the Hall of Memory houses the names of Birmingham’s losses, both military and civilian, to conflict and is a peaceful place for thought.
The International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall are two of Birmingham’s jewels. One of the greatest concert halls in the world and a bustling convention centre that has welcomed royalty, presidents and delegates from across the globe; the ICC and Symphony Hall also act as a gateway to Birmingham’s waterways with the canals winding their way past.
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