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Birmingham is the second largest city in Britain and the largest after London, with a population of just over one million. As the capital is split into 32 boroughs plus the city, this leaves Birmingham as the single most populous authority in the country.
Birmingham has a rich industrial heritage, but far from leaving a bleak legacy of former glories and long-gone factories, Birmingham has adapted to become a vibrant and modern post-industrial city. It is often called 'the city of a thousand trades', and though its manufacturing hey-day has passed, it boasts a diverse and thriving economy.
Like many of Britain's major cities, the redevelopment of the City centre in recent years has led to a significant supply of flats and apartments. However, unlike many of these, including London, some of the least populated parts are in innermost areas.
One of these, Edgbaston, differs from most inner city areas anywhere in the UK, being a leafy, fashionable suburb to the south of the centre. It is a place of wealth and parkland and home to Birmingham University, which is ranked 22nd in the Times Good University Guide (there are two other universities in Birmingham: Aston and Birmingham City). Apart from Edgbaston, the south-west of the city offers pleasant suburbia, as does Sutton Coldfield, a town at the north end of Birmingham that was brought inside the city boundaries in 1974 but is usually regarded as a separate entity.
Birmingham has an international airport that is linked to the city centre via rail. The local rail network is substantial, with two main hubs, Snow Street and New Street. The latter is due to undergo a major expansion that will raise its capacity. In addition to this, the city centre is served by the Midland Metro tram service, which links Birmingham with Wolverhampton and various parts of the Black Country in between. Extensions are planned. There is also a substantial bus service. The road network is congested but the M5, M6 and Aston Expressway ensure the city is very well connected to the national motorway network, while making Spaghetti Junction a national icon.
The city is not short of places to hold a large event, possessing the National Indoor Arena and International Convention Centre in the heart of the city and the National Exhibition Centre by the airport. There is plenty of shopping, not least in the post-modern Selfridges store, an armadillo-like structure that sits in the Bull Ring near the historic St Martins Church and the cylindrical 1960s Rotunda.
Birmingham has plenty of parks, not least the huge Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield. Spectator sport is well catered for with all three Birmingham clubs ¿ Birmingham City FC, Aston Villa FC and West Bromwich Albion FC ¿ all currently plying their trade in The Premiership. Elsewhere, Edgbaston is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club and, as a test venue, regularly holds test matches and one-day internationals. The Alexander Stadium hosts athletics and Moseley is the city's rugby union team.
For those looking for family activities, Cadbury World is a must for chocoholics, while the railway museum at Tyseley and the Birmingham Motor Museum at Kings Norton can delight children of all ages. As for the nightlife, Broad Street in the city centre is a notorious 'hot-spot', while foodies can visit the Balti Triangle to enjoy the best Asian cuisine.
Source acknowledgement: House price data produced by Land Registry
This material was last updated on 14 February 2024. It covers the period from 01 January 1995 to 28 December 2023. and contains property transactions which have been registered during that period.
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