FACTS AND FIGURES
According to the 2011 Census records, the UK’s second biggest city’s – Birmingham – population stands at just over 1.07million; and is the only local authority in England and Wales with over 1million residents. Birmingham is also the UK’s youngest population, with almost 40% under 25 (a figure which is probably due to the popularity of the city’s three Universities). Birmingham is also considered very cultural, with 42% of the population an ethnic minority.
Birmingham’s unemployment rate stands quite at high at 10.4% when compared to the national average of 4.9%. Nevertheless, it is a very attractive city for graduates, who help to fuel the growing employment sectors including transport technologies, financial services and digital media. Combined, these three sectors employ around 390,000 people in the region, and has generated £35billion in total. Another major sector set to become even more popular is Life Sciences – the number of related business has already increased by 40% since 2005, and £180 million has been generated.
Birmingham can easily be reached anywhere in the world, with it’s own international airport a mere 10 miles away. The seventh busiest airport in the UK, each year it serves almost 9 million passengers to over 143 direct destinations to many different continents.
Thanks to its central position in the UK, Birmingham can be reached in under 4 hours by train by 90% of the UK’s population. Served by three train stations: New Street (the main station), Moor Street and Snow Hill – the latter two which run frequent trains through the West Midlands; they serve over 42 million passengers each year (New Street alone has seen over 31million in 2012). New Street offers direct routes to major UK cities including London in 85 minutes, Manchester in 100 minutes, Cardiff in 2 hours and Glasgow in just under 4 hours – Birmingham truly is accessible for just about everyone.
Birmingham city centre runs regular routes with both its tram and bus systems. The trams (otherwise known as the Metro) come every 6-8 minutes and run between Birmingham and Wolverhampton, which is about half an hour away. There are 23 stops altogether, and it’s used by 96,000 people each week.
There are approximately 50 different bus companies operating throughout the West Midlands, many of which run services through Birmingham, although the most popular company is National Express West Midlands, which accounts for nearly 80% of routes. The sophisticated public transport services means getting around Birmingham couldn’t be any easier; although if staying in the city centre, it’s just as easy to walk around.
Birmingham was voted one of the best cities for business events outside of London in the British Meeting and Events Industry Survey 2010-11. The city hosts over 200,000 conferences and 320 exhibitions each year; and has held 6 political conferences in the past 5 years, including the Conservative Party Conferences in 2010, which generated £18.4 million for the city.
This popularity has been met with a large number of corporate venues to choose from – 302 in total! The city manages to cater for everyone, with 30 venues able to hold over 500 delegates and 11 with a capacity of 1,000+ available for large parties; and 116 venues exclusively for parties of 30 people and under. The largest venue – the ICC – has ten halls and ten executive suites, and a maximum capacity of 3,000.
Such choice is also reflected in the 193 hotels available, offering over 28,000 beds. Businesses wanting decadence and elegance will find themselves faced with 1 five star and 63 four star hotels to choose from; whereas businesses wanting luxury on a smaller budget will equally be spoilt for choice with the 86 three star and 16 two star hotels located in the city.
LEISURE AND TOURISM
As the second largest city in the UK, there are certainly many things to do – so much so, delegates may need to come back to finish off their sightseeing! Birmingham is most well-known for its Bullring shopping centre, home to over 160 retailers and 40 cafes and restaurants.
What people do not, perhaps, realise about Birmingham is its scenery – it has more canals than Venice, covering 56km; and is one of the greenest cities in the UK, with over 8,000 acres of parks and open spaces on offer. Delegates who enjoy the outdoors will definitely like to wander round the city taking in its (perhaps surprising!) natural beauty.
Delegates wishing to spend a night out in Birmingham will find themselves spoiled for choice. Birmingham Hippodrome – the busiest and most popular theatre in the UK with 520,000 visitors each year – have performances on every day of the week from ballet and opera, to concerts and plays. The food is pretty impressive in this city too – as the UK’s curry capital, it has over 100 Balti restaurants (many located in the aptly-named ‘Balti Triangle); and actually has more Michelin star restaurants than any other English city outside of London.
If you’re more of a sophisticated cocktail bar type, head to the Arcadian and MailBox, – already home to luxury retailers such as Harvey Nichols; the luxurious bars fit right in. For those of you who’d rather spend your night dancing ‘til dawn, make sure you visit Broad Street – often described as the centre of Birmingham’s nightlife, you’ll find it difficult to decide just which venue to visit.
Images courtesy of Visit Birmingham
- Ramada Birmingham Sutton Coldfield is built around former cable mill Penns Hall, the hotel harks back to its 18th-century roots with oak beams and original stained glass in the Club Room Restaurant.
- The 16 well equipped meeting rooms can cater for 6 to 550 delegates.
- The picturesque hotel grounds are the perfect backdrop to your big day with a number of wedding suites able to accommodate 30 to 600 guests, some include access to private decking overlooking the lake.