In the middle of England, Birmingham is its second largest city and one of the bigger cities in Europe. It covers an area of over 80 square miles, and has a population of over 1.1 million people. It is known for its multi-culturalism, and has a high Muslim population. Emerging from a bad reputation following post-war development in the late 1940s and early 1950s, significant recent investment has enabled Birmingham to proclaim itself as a major business destination, as well as a tourist hotspot. It has a proud industrial past, and is currently a booming business centre.
A vibrant and dynamic city, Birmingham rivals only London for its quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living 2012). The redeveloped Bullring shopping centre is a popular destination, and award-winning waterside developments have given Birmingham a much-needed facelift. There are more than 600 parksand open spaces in Birmingham including one of the largest urban parks in Europe, ten local nature reserves, and 156 designated nature conservation sites within easy reach.
Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice
Birmingham exceeds all expectations when it comes to shopping. All major high street stores and numerous designer stores can be found in the City Centre. The Bullring Centre is the UK’s largest City Centre shopping mall, and boasts over 500 retail units. Alongside this, the Victorian arcades and enormous mix of markets provide a destination shopping experience. The Mailbox shopping centre houses Harvey Nicholls and many designer labels.
The New York Times included Birmingham in its top 20 international visitor destinations. It has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city outside London and more than half a million works of art within a square mile. Curry lovers will never be bored in Birmingham, the famous ‘Balti Triangle’ alone houses over 50 different restaurants. Sporting events are regular and plentiful; the National Indoor Arena hosts a huge number of national events, two premier league football teams call Birmingham home, and Edgbaston Cricket Ground hosts Test and County cricket matches. Almost every sport and leisure pursuit can be enjoyed within easy reach of Birmingham.
There is a huge range of theatres, galleries, cinemas and arenas. Birmingham’s nightclub scene is thriving, with offerings to suit all tastes. Music venues include the National Indoor Arena and the Birmingham O2 Academy. There is a wide variety of bars and restaurants, and the Digbeth area is particularly known for its live music, clubbing and alternative café scene. Birmingham also boasts its own Royal Ballet, as well as the world class City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, housed at Symphony Hall. The Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses provide a calming and stress free escape from the hustle and bustle of the City.
Birmingham’s regional economy is worth over £94 billion and growing rapidly. It’s home to 75,000 companies, many with international operations. A range of key sectors call Birmingham home and 60% of the UK’s automotive research and development is conducted within the region. It is strong in architecture and engineering, and hosts more than 500 medical technology companies, more than any other region in the UK. Over 20% of the UK digital gaming industry is based in Birmingham.
There are 4.3 million working-age people within an hour’s drive of the City, alongside over 300,000 students and 100,000 graduates. Thanks to its multi-cultural population, almost 1 million people speak a second language among the workforce. There are ambitious plans within Birmingham to see a 20% increase in the local economy by 2020, with significant investment of £18 billion by 2026 going into the City to make this a reality. This includes £25 million into the Digital Media Academy, and £600 million into redeveloping New Street Station.
Meanwhile, the National Exhibition Centre, continues to attract visitors from around the globe, and is easily accessible in ten minutes from the City Centre.
Assistance for setting up or moving a business to Birmingham is supplied by the local inward investment team, who provide support, for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Birmingham is a stimulating place to live and a great place to work in. It is a vibrant mix of 1.1 million people of all cultures and identities, who all possess a common shared sense of local identity as well as varied cultural and artistic offerings – something unique to Birmingham.
Birmingham is the UK's second-largest student City, with five universities (Aston, Birmingham, Birmingham City, Newman and University College Birmingham) and is home to over 65,000 higher education students.
Birmingham has a thriving housing market and prices are still relatively competitive. It has embraced modern living with a number of city canal side developments, as well as in the traditional Jewelry Quarter. Luxury residential developments are springing up throughout the City to provide a plethora of upmarket living accommodation. Edgbaston is one of the more affluent suburbs, populated mainly by professionals. For those looking for a more reasonable alternative, Small Heath offers more affordable housing and plenty of rented accommodation.
Thanks to its position in the centre of the country, Birmingham is easy to reach by road, rail, air, and even canal. There are also a series of cycle paths throughout the city, which make commuting by bike a popular option.
Birmingham is set at the heart of the UK motorway network and, on arrival, there are 25,000 car parking spaces to choose from.
Three City Centre rail stations provide fast and frequent connections to both local and national destinations. The largest of these is Birmingham New Street station, with fast and frequent services into London Euston as well as many other towns and cities across the UK. For commuters, there is a new light rail system, the Midland Metro, with frequent services between the City Centre and Wolverhampton, and everywhere in between. Birmingham International services both Birmingham Airport and the National Exhibition Centre.
Birmingham is well served by bus routes, with a huge network linking everyone and everything efficiently.
Birmingham Airport hosts over 50 airlines coming from over 100 destinations, both long haul and short hops, and is easily accessed by road and by rail via Birmingham International station.