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Introducing Birmingham

Britain's second-largest city is also one of its most happening. A state-of-the-art £189 million library, a gleaming shopping centre atop the revitalised New St Station, beautifully restored Victorian buildings and a new 1.4km Midland Metro tram line extension through the city's heart are just some of the initiatives of its Big City Plan. There are also new parks, public spaces, and glitzy residential and commercial buildings. These come hot on the heels of the striking Mailbox and Bullring shopping malls and the 'bubblewrapped' facade of the iconic Selfridges building.

Alongside outstanding museums and galleries you'll find an increasing number of gastronomic restaurants, cool and/or secret cocktail bars, and picturesque canals with waterside bars, restaurants, attractions and cruises. Thriving legacies of Birmingham's industrial heritage include its Jewellery Quarter, Cadbury manufacturing plant and a former custard factory that's been transformed into a cutting-edge creative hub.

With construction on the High Speed Rail (HS2) line – connecting London with Birmingham in just 40 minutes by 2026 – set to boost employment and the economy, 'Brum', as it's dubbed by locals, is buzzing.