THE UK’s second city is often referred to as the ‘city of a thousand trades’, due to the integral part it played during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century.
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In fact, as early as the 1500s the city was known for its foundries and tanneries. By the 18th century Birmingham was exporting ironwork to Europe and converting corn mills to metalworking mills.
Gun-, toy- and button makers were dispatching their wares around the world.
In the 19th century Birmingham attracted immigrants from Ireland, Poland, Russia, Germany and Italy, all keen for a slice of industrial success. In the 1950s and 1960s a wave of post-war immigration brought families from the Caribbean and Asia, enriching the city’s multicultural heritage.
By the turn of the millennium, Birmingham had shaken off its gritty reputation and had become the bustling, vibrant city it remains to this day.
Any road up (or ‘whichever way you look at it’), the city has progressed from its manufacturing roots. Birmingham’s coat of arms might display an arm-and-hammer, but its modern day outlook – despite being the heart of the UK’s motor industry — is more international than industrial.
Travel to Birmingham
Book Emirates flights to Birmingham and experience award-winning service to the UK’s West Midlands.
Emirates offers twice daily flights to Birmingham from Dubai using a state-of-the-art fleet including the Boeing 777-300R.
Discover Emirates luxurious in-flight facilities, which include deeply reclining comfort in Business Class and a new generation of comfort inEconomy Class. All classes feature ice, Emirates onboard information, communication and entertainment system offering up to 1500 channels, ensuring flights pass smoothly.
Emirates flights to Birmingham arrive at Birmingham International Airport located in Solihull, 12km east of Birmingham CBD. The airport is well served by public transport: passengers have a choice of trains, coaches, buses and taxis.
The quickest way to the centre after flights to Birmingham is by train.
A free Air-Rail Link connects the airport with Birmingham International Rail Station, from where trains depart frequently for the 10 minute journey to New Street Station. Buses and taxis are also abundant and take 20-30 minutes.
Passengers travelling in Business Class on flights to Birmingham can take advantage of Emirates’ complimentary Chauffeur-drive service.
Passengers arriving in Birmingham can experience the revived fortunes of the UK’s industrial heartland.
Marvel at the intricate silver and goldsmiths of the Jewellery Quarter, visit the former home of Brummie rock star, Ozzy Osbourne, or indulge yourself at one of the world’s most iconic chocolate factories.
Birmingham is the UK’s second city in terms of size, but not in terms of tourist attractions. The city is a major business destination and features a world-class exhibition and conference centre, the NEC. Nevertheless, there is still plenty to see and do in Brum.
Consider a visit to Villa Park, home of Aston Villa FC. With seven FA Cups, seven league titles, and one European Cup under their belt they’re Birmingham’s most successful football club. Alternatively, learn all about Birmingham’s history at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.
This former jewellery workshop was abandoned in full working condition, and was subsequently opened to the public. It’s a great opportunity to see how gold and silversmiths worked, before purchasing the real thing in the still-commercially operating Jewellery Quarter.
If shopping is your thing, visit the Bull Ring. Once a notorious eyesore, the complex was demolished and a new shopping centre was built in its place, and it now draws people from around the region for the high street staples: clothes shops, chain stores and discount outlets.
Finally, budding Willy Wonkas will revel in the opportunity to visit Cadbury’s World. Located in Bourneville and billed as the place “where chocolate comes to life”, it’s a fun experience loved by children and adults. Look out for the cheap ‘seconds’ on sale in the shop: misshapen yet mouth-watering.
Dining and nightlife
Birmingham is home to a host of international cuisines, but is synonymous with just one: Indian. Birmingham’s multicultural society has bestowed the city with the title of Curry Capital, and is the 1977 birthplace of the Balti. This Brummie/Kashmiri favourite is celebrated in the so-called Balti Triangle, an area comprising around 50 Indian and Asian restaurants in Sparkbrook, three km south of the city centre.
Diners looking to move on from the ubiquitous curry can sample some excellent Chinese dishes in the city’s China Quarter, or a selection of cheap eats in the student district of Selly Oak.
Upmarket restaurants of every persuasion – the city has more than 200 restaurants from Thai to Japanese, Italian to French – can be found throughout Birmingham.
Birmingham also hosts some of Britain’s most popular clubs, events and gigs, many of which are boosted by the city’s student population. Take your pick from indie venues in Dale End, super clubs in Hurst Street, or bars and clubs around Broad Street and Brindley place. For the latest information consult local listings magazines.
Less than an hour by train from Birmingham is the pretty and historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Famous for being the birthplace of English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare, the town is one of Britain’s most popular tourist destinations.
Visit Shakespeare’s house at Henley Street: no one has been able to prove ‘The Bard’ was actually born here, but it is definitely the house in which he was raised. The 16th century building has been lovingly restored and contains many authentic items from this era.
EK 713 departs Dubai every day at 0925hrs, arriving in Lusaka at 1435hrs. The service departs Lusaka at 1605hrs, arriving in Harare at 1710hrs.
The return flight leaves Harare at 1840hrs, arriving Lusaka at 1950hrs. It departs Lusaka at 2125hrs and lands in Dubai at 0640hrs the next day.
For visa information check http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/
Book at your favourite travel agent; online at www.emirates.com/zw or visit the Emirates office in Wakefield Road, Avondale, Harare. Telephone +263 4 799 999.