Fascinating and diverse Birmingham

Birmingham is an eclectic city. There is a wide and diverse music scene, a Gun quarter, a Jewellery quarter and more canals than there are in Venice. Modern architecture, like the disc-covered Selfridges and tower blocks sit beside Georgian grandeur. The  huge shopping centre, the Bullring, is right in the centre. One of the UK's top universities is here too, plus a huge convention centre and arena. For a fun afternoon discovering all there is to know about chocolate, a visit to Cadbury World is essential.

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Birmingham's highlights

As in most parts of the British Isles, the weather is mild all year round but the best temperatures are enjoyed from June to September. Festivals and celebrations happen throughout the year, like St Patricks Day when there is a parade, Birmingham Pride is celebrated at the end of May, there's a biannual International Carnival and the Sikh New Year is marked in April.

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The birth place of the Balti

Going out in Birmingham costs a little less than it does in London with the average price of a meal being around £10. When it comes to good value food, a visit to the Balti Triangle, made up of Sparkhill, Balsall Heath and Moseley, is a must. Indian cuisine was brought to the city in the 1970s, and a special Birmingham Balti has emerged. It is a dish taken very seriously in these parts, in fact there is an official association that looks after its recipes and traditions.

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Visitors' guide to Birmingham

Getting around Birmingham is easy and most of the city can be visited by foot, but taxis are available if needed. There is a comprehensive public transport system, which is reasonably priced. Buses cost approximately £2.20 for a single fare or £4.50 for a day pass and trains are roughly the same price. Getting from the airport to the town centre can be done in around 10 to 20 minutes; take the number 900 bus or the train.

Accommodation in Birmingham ranges from budget hostel rooms costing roughly £14 a night to hotel rooms which start at £35 a night. Most hotels can be found in the centre of the city, with Hagley Road and Broad Street being popular areas to stay.

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