english tourism week | bigging up birmingham
Updated: Jun 3
Amara Amaryah | travel + books + poetry, always poetry. a platform for story-telling, visuals, positive self-talk and empowerment | english tourism week, bigging up birmingham.
this week is a good week to big up birmingham. it’s english tourism week and i’m witing about my favourite parts of my city. only recently have i started calling birmingham ‘mine’. and only recenty have i started to appreciate and prioritise local travel. an instagram friend told me she was visiting birmingham and i found myself doing tour guide in the dms. it made me think about birmingham in a way i never would.
birmingham, being the second city, has so much to offer. the trick to birmingham is 1) accepting that it is hidden gems galore. the best times are spent in the cramp, DIY places and hosted nights. 2) this city is the artsy friend who has only just started to embrace it and sell their stuff on etsy. it’s a good little place most times. i did grow up in london for the first 18 years of life but the majority of my becoming or adulting happened in brum. which is why it means a little extra something to me. i’ve been here since 2014 and i consider myself equipped enough to produce this post*. vamos …
*here are only a few bits of birmingham that i have either randomly or purposefully documented. there is loads more to discover, i know that. comment below spaces/nights in brum that i’ve not mentioned.
city of red brick buildings
a community hub of all-round goodness. impacthub is a community, creative, innovative space used for shaping the city. most of my favourite events have been here and i’ve even met some of my favourite international minds and poets here. i think birmingham will really feel it when this space goes in a few months. if you’re travelling to birmingham, it is worth checking out what’s on. you’ll leave smarter, get to speak to some real-life brummies and find out about the community a bit better on your trip. (you’ll learn more about birmingham’s actual history than any museum could teach so).
as a poetry girl, i think birmingham is an exciting place to write in. i had my very first open mic in birmingham and today i’m a commissioned poet thanks to the city. i’m glad i chose birmingham over london to grow as a poet because the poetry scene has grown and thankfully, keeps growing. a few favourite spots are:
hit the ode– held at the hippodrome
whiskey and words – in hockley
stirchley speaks – held at the artefact in stirchley
poetry jam – (my first) now at waylands yard
the noise– new open mic space at cherry reds
java lounge, my first open mic space and fave place to grab cinnamon tea.
speaking of, cherry reds is the perfect place for getting together your friends who want a drink and your friends who want a cool cafe vibe. just behind new street station, it is where you go to waste time on good tea/pints.
tilt is another cafe spot which serves craft beer. i came across this very recently for work. if you visit, head for upstairs which seems to stay empty even though all the old games live up there. good place to be childishly adult.
macaroon lovers- bringing you experimental macaroons and good young woman entrepreneurship. all courtesy of miss macaroon.
my favourite restaurant (for injiera)
there are loads of places to eat in birmingham. i could list you some and i’m not even a foodblogger or part of the foodie world at all. instead, i want to use this time to talk about a family-owned restaurant in birmingham. i recommend the Ethiopin/Eritraen restaurant blue nile everytime. located in hockley where there is a strong East African community, it is such a welcoming place. the food has never failed me either. it has actually never failed for any of our gatherings and dinners.
this post is characteristic of the blog- a few moments and memories which serve as the best recommendations. aside from my stories, there are some obvious things to do in birmingham.
custard factory | digbeth.
of course you want to check out: the rep theatre // blue-orange theatre- held a production of ‘for colored girls’ //cadbury world // birmingham library (and the rooftops which overlook the city) // grand central station// digbeth //the ikon gallery //everyman cinema// brindley place for canalside dinner// sandwell valley// rjz jazz cafe and marshall street in smethick. because malcolm x visited and so you should too.
PC: birmingham live
story of malcolm in smethwick here.
there we go. the best of the second city from a second class brummie. comment below any places you would add. i really enjoyed creating this. it also provided an opportunity to contribute to decentering london in the coversation about #englishtourismweek. not everything revolves around london and we have to find opportunities to let other cities be seen as valuable.
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