Walks around Birmingham discover a bustling metropolis with a proud industrial heritage, boasting sensational modern architecture, huge greenspaces and full to the brim with life and culture. Home to Cadbury’s chocolate, more canals than Venice, the balti, the Peaky Blinders, three universities and Europe’s largest library, it’s a city with plenty going on.
Its regenerated city centre’s blend of Victorian elegance and 21st-century design is a delight to explore. Marvel at the modern stylings of buildings like the Library of Birmingham and the shiny, space-age curves of New Street Station, while appreciating the 19th-century Roman revival architecture of Birmingham Town Hall. With a vibrant cafe and restaurant scene, there’s always somewhere to take the weight off your feet too.
Hikes around Birmingham’s wider sprawl reveal a city peppered with huge parks, vibrant nature reserves and hills that reward with panoramic viewpoints, where you can admire this wonderful metropolis from afar.
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A modern city centre with a proud industrial heritage
Walks in Birmingham’s city centre tell the story of a constantly evolving metropolis. The city was one of the powerhouses of the industrial revolution, at the centre of the Midlands Enlightenment, a time of rapid innovation in manufacturing and technology in the region. Much of the city was destroyed during the Second World War, which makes its resurgence as one of Britain’s greatest cities all the more impressive.
Although without a major river, an extensive network of canals were built to enable trade with the rest of the country. Walks along the city’s canals allow you to discover some of Birmingham’s architectural treasures and many of its cultural hubs, such as the redbrick Birmingham University and its distinctive Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower and the striking modern architecture of the Cube. It’s easy to link a stroll through the centre’s streets with a longer walk along the city’s canals.
Reservoirs, reserves and one of Europe’s largest parks
Away from the built-up centre, many of the best hiking routes around Birmingham are through its many parks, nature reserves and around its reservoirs. There are so many greenspaces that it’s hard to know where to begin.
To the north, Sutton Park is of particular note. A 2,400-acre (971 ha) National Nature Reserve, it’s one of Europe's largest urban parks. Variety is the word here, with open heathland, seven lakes, wetlands, woodlands and marshes each boasting their own ecosystems. Wild ponies graze the land, wetland plants thrive in the pools, stoats, weasels and hedgehogs inhabit the woodlands and lizards sun themselves on the heathland in summer.
Into the hills
For hikes around Birmingham that reveal stunning panoramas, look no further than the trails that explore the Lickey Hills Country Park to the southwest. Often referred to locally as the Lickeys, the hills reach their high point on Beacon Hill at 978 feet (298 m). Its summit provides magnificent views of the West Midland’s urban sprawl and is adorned by an intriguing mini castle-like structure that houses a toposcope.
The country park is accessible from Barnt Green and Longbridge railway stations and there are three car parks too. The visitor centre provides further information about the region and a cafe, while there’s also the option of a pub lunch at the Rose & Crown. Yet more hilly trails can also be found to the northwest of the Lickeys, at the Waseley Hills Country Park.
Hiking Collection by Osnabrücker Land
Hiking Collection by Osnabrücker Land
Road Cycling Collection by komoot
Running Collection by komoot
Bike Touring Collection by komoot
Mountain Biking Collection by komoot
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