Birmingham in the West Midlands of England is known as the ‘Second City’, being the second largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is home to some of England’s oldest football clubs, the second largest cricket ground in the country, as well as several of the country’s biggest sports events.
Sport in Birmingham
Football in Birmingham
Birmingham is home to two of the country’s oldest football clubs – Aston Villa and Birmingham City who have a fierce rivalry with matches between the teams known as the ‘Second city derby’. The Black Country derby is contested between West Bromwich Albion and nearby Wolverhampton Wanderers, whilst Walsall Football Club is also located close by.
Aston Villa play in the top division of English football, the Premier League and won the old First Division 7 times and the European Cup in 1982. They play their matches at Villa Park, a 42,785 seated stadium in Aston and were one of the founding members of the Football League in 1888.
Birmingham City meanwhile currently compete in the EFL Championship. Their home stadium is St Andrew’s, a 29,409 capacity ground in the Bordesley district.
West Bromwich Albion is located just outside the city boundaries in Sandwell and were also a founding member of the Football League. They play their matches at The Hawthorns and currently are part of the Premier League.. The Baggies have won the First Division once, in 1919-1920 and the FA Cup five times, the most recent in 1968.
Wolverhampton Wanderers are the fierce rivals of West Brom, with Wolverhampton just over 13 miles from Birmingham. Wolves play at Molineux Stadium and currently compete in the Premier League. They won three Football League Championships during the 1950s, as well as winning four FA Cups (the most recent in 1960) and reached the UEFA Cup Final in 1972.
Walsall Football Club are located in Walsall, 9 miles north-west of Birmingham and play at Bescot Stadium. The Saddlers currently play in EFL League Two and have never played in the highest division of English football. Their stadium is also shared with Aston Villa Women Football Club who play in the Women’s Super League, the highest league of women’s football in England.
Birmingham City Women’s Football Club also compete in the Women’s Super League and play their home fixtures at Damson Park in nearby Solihull, the home venue of National League side Solihull Moors.
Cricket in Birmingham
Edgbaston Cricket Ground is the second largest cricket ground in England and is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, as well as frequently hosting international cricket and the t20 Blast Finals Day.
Golf in Birmingham
There are two major championship golf courses in the city’s outskirts – The Belfry near Sutton Coldfield has hosted 4 Ryder Cup’s (1985, 1989, 1993 & 2002), several European Tour events and is the home of the Professional Golfers’ Association
The Forest of Arden Hotel and Country Club near Birmingham Airport is also a regular host on the European Tour.
Tennis in Birmingham
Athletics in Birmingham
The Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr is the headquarters of UK Athletics and is the regular venue for the annual British Grand Prix, part of the Diamond League. The stadium is due to be redeveloped as it will be the main athletics venue as Birmingham hosts the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Arena Birmingham hosted the 2003 and 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships, is the regular venue for the annual Birmingham Indoor Grand Prix and will host Gymnastics at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Great Birmingham Run is an annual road running event held on the streets of Birmingham, usually in October. The event was first held in 2008 and in 2009 doubled up as the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
Badminton in Birmingham
The Arena Birmingham also hosts the annual All England Open Badminton Championships.
Travelling to Birmingham
Airport: Birmingham Airport is located approximately 8 miles east of Birmingham city centre. The Airport serves European destinations, as well as international destinations such as the Caribbean, India, Pakistan, Qatar and the UAE. There is a train station (Birmingham International) at the airport which connects to central Birmingham.
Alternatively, Megabus offers cheap travel to Birmingham and offers over 10 routes from Aberdeen, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Sheffield. You can search and book your tickets here.
Train: Birmingham New Street Station is the biggest of Birmingham’s train stations, it serves many destinations across the UK including Bournemouth, Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff Central, Edinburgh Waverley, Glasgow Central, Leicester, London Euston, Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Reading, Sheffield and Southampton Central. From the station take the bus as listed above, or use a taxi.
Birmingham’s other main stations, Moor Street and Snow Hill are more regional, although there is a service to London Marylebone from Moor Street.
Where to stay in Birmingham
Food & Drink in Birmingham
What to do in Birmingham
The second largest city in England and the United Kingdom has plenty to offer, for shoppers the Mailbox, Bullring and Grand Central shopping malls offers everything you could ever want. The Library of Birmingham is an architectural delight opened in 2013 offering views over the city, with the city having more miles of canals than Venice, it was once a major hub in the extensive canal network of the UK and today the Birmingham Canals are mainly used for leisure purposes.
The Birmingham Back to Backs are restored terraced houses offering stories of those who lived their between the 1840s and 1970s. For younger visitors, the National Sea Life Centre offers over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life, with the only fully transparent 360-degree underwater tunnel in the United Kingdom. Cadbury World shows visitors the stages and steps of chocolate production and the history of chocolate and the company that produces many of its famed products.