Population-wise, the UK city of Birmingham comes second only to the capital city of London.

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It is a thriving metropolis that has a long history, with a particular affinity with the industrial age.

Filled with historic buildings sitting alongside the ultra-modern, it offers something to see and enjoy for all tastes.

Although it has gone through some tough economic times in the recent past, as have many other cities, it is now undergoing a renaissance, with a lot of redevelopment and renovation creating an invigorating, interesting destination for visitors and residents alike.

Birmingham is a great place to visit and enjoy the arts, culture and sporting venues, not forgetting the great shopping opportunities. You could even stay for a few days or a long weekend; if so, you may like to consider staying in serviced apartments in Birmingham, such as http://www.8waterloostreet.co.uk/.

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Enjoy the arts

With its own Royal Ballet and symphony orchestra, Birmingham shows its strong history and links with the arts.

There is also the long-established, contemporary art gallery, Ikon, where you can enjoy various art forms and exhibitions, all for free. If you like museums, don’t forget to visit the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

The Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and its choruses host concerts and events throughout the year.

What about sports?

With internationally-known football stadia, cricket grounds and golf courses, Birmingham offers a wide range of interests for the sports enthusiast.

Alongside these is the newly rebranded Arena Birmingham, which was formerly the Barclaycard Arena. This not only hosts sporting events but is also known for holding world-class shows and concerts.

How about the culture?

The luxury retail environment at The Mailbox has been given a massive renovation and refurbishment and holds a cinema and a new meeting place for events and exhibitions.

There has been an expansion of the city centre event and meeting space known as thestudio, where events will be held through the year.

There is also the Resorts World, which incorporates the Vox centre – a hotel and spa – alongside shops, restaurants, bars, a large cinema and a casino.

There is another development located above the railway station at New Street, which features shopping, restaurants and eateries within a new, modern building, making it a great place for a day out.