A shopper’s guide to Birmingham

photo by the West Midlands Police on Flickr

London might be the ultimate British shopping paradise, but Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK, is second best only because of its size. For those who like shopping, Birmingham is as good a destination as it gets. Whether you are interested in refreshing your wardrobe, buying jewellery or hand-crafted objects, art or books, Birmingham has the right kind of shops for you. You could get lost in Birmingham’s shopping scene for days if you want to be really thorough, but if all you want is to dig into the heart of Birmingham’s best shopping areas, here’s a shopper’s guide to Birmingham.

The Bull Ring

The Bull Ring is the single most iconic area in Birmingham’s shopping scene, and not only because it is has a huge¬† shopping mall, but because it has been a market area since the 11th century! People have been shopping in the area known today as the Bull Ring for almost a thousand years, and the two new shopping centers built in the 1960 are probably not the last major development that the Bull Ring will see. The Bullring Shopping Centre has most of the well known shops in Britain (Debenhams, Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Forever 21, etc), and it features one of the most striking Selfridges stores in the world – the curved modern building has become a Birmingham landmark.

Great Western Arcade

The Bullring Selfridges shop, photo by Brian Norman

If the Bullring is all modern architecture and high tech materials, the Great Western Arcade is the complete opposite. The Arcade hearkens back to the elegant days of Victorian indulgence, when shopping was a pastime for the rich and noble. The 19th century arcade is filled with small boutiques and independent retailers where you can find unique items and original gifts.

The Pallasades Shopping Center

If you don’t fancy spending too much money on shopping and you prefer buying your things on sale, then you should head to the Pallasades, a shopping center where you can buy great stuff that’s good value for money. The Pallasades has all sorts of specialty shops, and you can dress yourself up in the latest trends, grab a bite and then go and check out the latest computer games or electronics.

The Mailbox Shopping Center

Great Western Arcades, photo by Tony Hisgett

Those with a keen sense of fashion and delicate taste should not miss the opportunity of getting lost among the countless brand shops, glitzy cafes and fancy restaurants. Most of the best names of today’s fashion industry can be found in the Mailbox, as spas, beauty salons and two luxury hotels. No shopper’s guide to Birmingham could skip the Mailbox, especially when it comes to fashion!


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