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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Birmingham and its Hidden Gems..

Over the past couple of years Birmingham has evolved at an advanced pace and now is somewhere I'm proud to be from. This pride also includes my brummie accent :D (shocking I know!) I know it sounds odd and I do realise in part it's because I'm getting older, but I really feel like Birmingham has now carved out a real, positive identity for itself. When Travelodge approached me to find out my Hidden Gems of Birmingham I jumped at the chance to highlight my favourite places to visit and really show off my pride for Brum:

The Ikon Gallery
The Ikon Gallery building is beautiful (a neo-gothic school building *drool*) which immediately draws you in but what it houses within it's walls is worth the visit to Birmingham alone. This is the heart of Contemporary art in Birmingham and is a brilliant place to go and see something amazing but also grab some real quality time to yourself. I'm off to see the 'Missing Post Office UK' exhibit soon and I'm looking forward to what they have in store for 2016. The Ikon Gallery has free entry and also has an education section for children so it also makes a great family trip where the kids certainly have an awesome time! For me the Ikon Gallery is a must visit in Brum. 

Cadbury World:
I'm a huge chocolate addict so walking into a world where this is celebrated and you are given so much of the stuff you leave on a huge sugar high is heaven to me! I loved it as a kid so I know my nieces and all their friends would also love the ride (yes there's a ride), learning about chocolate and of course sampling the goods! Plus I was always a little in love with the Cadbury Flake Bunny and she makes a regular appearance *fan girl swoon.* I also read recently that you can go and have afternoon tea and a tour so I think my next visit will be happening very soon! 

Digbeth
If you like a good pub and like to explore Digbeth is the place to head. Within it are places like the infamous Custard Factory where you can shop for the best in vintage, see exhibits, listen to music and just really let your creative juices flow. There are also some of the best and maddest pieces of graffiti you will ever see. Top pub pick would be The Spotted Dog! 

Also something to look out for is the Digbeth Dining Club on a Friday. I'm  huge foodie so this hub of street food is just a sheer delight for me.

Hidden spaces 
If you really want to see a different side to the city seeking out a 'hidden space' should be high on your priority list. The project begins online where you can view images of the behind the scenes of buildings you would never get to see whilst revealing the city's secrets to the world. To tie in with the images there are also special events, tours and talks around these buildings that the public are not normally permitted to enter. I went in June to see the Victoria Law Courts and was blown away by the beauty of the place so am always on the lookout for my next adventure with Hidden Spaces

Aston Hall
Aston Hall for me is an all time favourite place to visit. I have been more times than I can count since I was a child and even have been on the candlelight tours they offer - very spooky! The grounds are beautiful to just wander around in nice weather and inside you can really feel the heartbeat of the place. From the cannonball holes in the staircase to the spectacular great hall, it really is the best place to feel the history of our great city and imagine what it was like before modern buildings took over. 

Botanical Gardens
This place is a slice of gardeners heaven in Birmingham. I'm not going to rave too much about it but instead urge you to visit and just take the time to wander about, take photos and just breathe in the beauty.

Big thanks to Travelodge for getting in touch and inviting me to write this post. Of course there are Travelodge's dotted around Birmingham which you can view and stay at during your visit HERE. Make sure to let me know if you do visit any of the suggestions above and I hope you have an awesome time! 

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