I say U.K., you say London. Although Birmingham is the UK’s 2nd-largest city in terms of population, it gets relatively little love in travel magazines and tourists often seem to skip right over the city, despite the rich history and sheer number of activities to enjoy in Birmingham.
Whether you want to shop or go for a hike, study geology or dance the night away, Birmingham’s size and history has given it the chance to evolve plenty of culture. Even catching the latest Hunger Games flick in this city can be an activity that’s rife with cultural and historical significance. Perhaps best of all, most of Birmingham’s cultural and educational experiences are not only free, they’re fun. Skip the London smog and the pickpockets, as well as the high prices in the U.K.’s capital city, and try Birmingham on for size. Here are 12 things to see and do to get your vacation planning started.
12. Explore the Lickey Hills
The Lickey Hills, or “the Lickeys” as they’re known locally, are a range of hills located 11 miles south-west of Birmingham. Until 1888, the hills were part of a large royal hunting ground. After 1888, various groups began purchasing and donating the individual hills to the city of Birmingham. Public access began shortly thereafter, and the hills remain a popular picnicking and country park area even today.
The Lickeys are composed of 2 hill ranges, with a variety of geological rock formations of different ages. The Lickey Hills Country Park covers 525 acres of land and includes a golf course. The Lickey Ridge is the lower range and has 3 quartzite hilltops: Rednal Hill, Bilberry Hill and Cofton Hill. The higher range also has 3 peaks: Rose Hill, Stock Hill and Beacon Hill, which rises 298 feet. All of the hilltops offer panoramic views of the surrounding area, making the location ideal for photographers. Beacon Hill was once part of a country-wide system of beacons used before modern communications. Today, a toposcope stands atop Beacon Hill.