Birmingham is one of the closest cities to where I live and naturally it’s where I spend most of my time money. So when Premier Inn got in touch and asked if I’d be up for putting together a Birmingham City Guide for them, my initial thought was ‘HELLYES’ – what a great idea! So today, I’ll be sharing my favourite places with you – and if you ever decide to visit, you’ll at least have an idea of what you can expect to find (SPOILER: it’s a lot, Birmingham is great).
Boasting reclaimed and up-cycled furniture, this British cafe feels like it’s been picked up from central London and dropped in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre. It’s completely different to anything else you’ll find here and is 100% worth a visit if you’re looking for a traditional, but friendly way to eat breakfast. From strawberry cheesecake milkshakes to Portobello Mushrooms on Sourdough Toast you’d be pretty foolish not to give it a try.
Okay so guys, this is the best place in the world, not just in Birmingham. Placed precisely in the middle of the food court of Selfridges is Ekachai, an asian fast-food restaurant. Now, I don’t mean fast-food in terms of a service like McDonalds, it’s fast in a whole other aspect. This place is always super busy, but you’ll never be waiting in line for more than 10 minutes. You’ll be seated around an island that looks over the cooking theatre and the idea is, you eat, you leave. The service is top knotch and the food is insane – you’ll never feel rushed but it does what it needs to do, when you’ve got the whole of Selfridges to surf around, you don’t want to be spending hours in a restaurant. I always have the crispy duck salad and it’s without doubt the most fabulous way to get in a few greens. I’ve been going since I was 14 (dedication or obsession you decide) and I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve managed to convert every one I’ve taken to visit and I’m sure you’ll love it too!
When I think of Birmingham the first thing that will enter my head is the Bull Ring. A one-stop destination for all things shopping. Hosting (what I believe to be) 140 stores, including one of only 4 Selfridges and the fourth largest Debenhams it’s a beautiful beast in the centre of the city.
When visiting you’ll need to stop by…
There are either 3 or 4 floors, I cant remember. But it doesn’t matter. IT’S FILLED WITH GREATNESS. Each floor is wonderful in it’s own way but my favourite place to visit is the beauty hall. Jo Malone’s displays are always beautiful and I’ll spend at least half an hour swooning over all the prettiness at Charlotte Tilbury, because: c’mon, that ladies make-up is the bomb diggity. And of course not forgetting the food-hall where you can get your hands on some Krispy Kremes after visiting Ekachai 😉
Situated on Corporation Street, just a short walk from the Bull Ring, is my favourite high-street store in the world: Urban Outfitters. Sitting two stories high the bottom floor caters for the men whilst (the much larger) top floor features all of my dreams realised. It’s my favourite of all the UO stores, with a large section for all of their best bits: Footwear, Lingerie, Urban Renewal, Homeware and all their usual lines. There’s also a handy Photo Booth which everyones a sucker for, right?
Mixing high-street with vintage fashion is my absolute favourite – and Birmingham allows you to do the two seamlessly. Once you’ve shopped out the centre, head on down to Digbeth to take in all COW Vintage has to offer. With one off, hand-picked vintage items this store offers you an on-trend but personal style service. They have original items and a re-work team so everything is super high quality, but affordable too. Digbeth also hosts regular vintage fairs, so keep your eyes peeled for those as they’re always amazing.
Having been only open a week or so, the new and improved Birmingham New Street station has been re-opened as Grand Central. Boasting all of the restaurants, bars and shops it’s going to have something for literally everyone. I stopped by Carluccio’s for my favourite chocolate bread and butter pudding – I know, the title isn’t all that arousing and I hate normal b&b pud, but oh my god. Plus they have Kiehl’s, Oliver Bonas, a massive John Lewis and loads more still yet to open if the Bull Ring wasn’t quite enough.
I don’t know about you but when booking a hotel for a weekend away, I’ll mostly opt for a great, affordable price so that I can spend all of the money on clothes instead. I mean, surely thats a no-brainer? Situated slap bang next to Grand Central and only a few minutes walk to the Bull Ring is Premier Inn. The perfect place to rest your weary head (/shopped out feet) – if you’re catching the train in to Birmingham you can simply turn a corner, drop your bags off and head back out and if you’re finishing the day off with some dinner in Grand Central you’re right back where you started and a matter of seconds away from your bed. Perfect.