The Bullring - The Markets - Mailbox & Canal - Victoria Square - Jewellery Quarter - The Cemeteries - Birmingham & Fazeley Canal - Eastside City Park

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Birmingham was heavily bombed in WWII, being a major centre of munitions factories. This necessitated a wholesale re-development of the city centre. The planning decisions of this period were to have a profound effect on the image of Birmingham in subsequent decades, with the mix of concrete ring roads, shopping centres and tower blocks giving Birmingham a 'concrete jungle' tag. One commentator described Birmingham as a "Godless, concrete urban hell", another a "brutalist, concrete-dominated slave to the motor car"".

Birmingham started to come to a realisation in the 1980s that all was not well and that they needed to improve the liveability of the city. Since then massive projects have taken place to try and make the city more appealing and connected once again. This regeneration has been driven by the ‘Big City Plan’, and its most famous successes include the total re-building of the Bullring area, the regeneration of the canals and a new library.

The city that you walk through today is very different from the city of a generation ago, and much more walker friendly. Our route aims to combine all that is good from the old Birmingham with the best of the new.

The old Birmingham includes a stroll through the markets, amongst the largest in Europe, which have traded in the same spot for centuries; an extensive wander around the Georgian Victorian Quarter and the fascinating cemeteries where many of Birmingham’s most notable Victorian industrialists and politicians are buried.

The ‘new’ Birmingham includes many impressive buildings – the Selfridges building, The Cube, the Public Library, the re-modelled Rotunda and the post-modern Brindleyplace; and the impressively landscaped Eastside City Park.

Birmingham is definitely a city of the future once again; and if all goes well with the HS2 rail project, the Birmingham terminus will begin to take shape over the next few years across from Eastside City Park.

England - Central England - West Midlands - Canal Walk

Features

Cafe, Church, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Good for Kids, Great Views, Industrial Archaeology, Mostly Flat, Museum, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, Tea Shop, Toilets
27/05/2019 - Rick Bon

We undertook this interesting walk last week during a city break and it was our orientation to Birmingham. It included entering several buildings and areas we might otherwise have been reluctant, not knowing that there is public access. At Point 13, Victoria Square, there was the Knife Angel, an itinerant reflection of modern Britain and well worth looking out for here, or in any town you visit if it is present. Just past that point is the main public Library and on level 9 (lifts just inside the doors on the right) is a skyline viewing area. We terminated the walk at St Paul's Church, for reasons of length and possible adverse canal areas, but found other interesting arcades etc on the way back to our hotel.

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16.2 Miles
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