A Grand View of Birmingham
Amy Langham is the General Manager at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham and is a born and bred brummie. Here she tells us about her love for the city…
As a kid growing up, everyone I knew had opinions on Birmingham and the majority of it negative. The media portrayed us all as idiots with a daft accent who couldn’t possibly amount to anything. Birmingham made all the negative lists about places to live, prospects, buildings; you name it we were probably on the critical list for it.
So, like my peers I got out of the City. Since leaving my families Hall Green home at 19 I’ve lived all over the country with my job taking me to sea side resorts, tourist cities and suburban towns. I’ve had my accent mocked, been told ‘I bet you never want to live there again’, and each time I’ve had to say, I do, because you know what? The grass is most definitely not greener. Birmingham is brilliant and I will not hear anything to the contrary about my glorious City.
Over the last 20 years the City has quietly been undergoing a transformation. When I left Birmingham there was a big hole next to St Martin’s Church where the old Bullring use to be, as I came back to visit family, a new Birmingham was slowly being formed into the City we know and love today.
My colleagues from locations far afield ask me all the time, ‘why do you think Birmingham is so great?’ And this is what I tell them:
Birmingham’s changed! Don’t believe the bad press, come and see for yourself what a wonderful mix of diverse people, culture and things to do.
There are so many unique places to eat, drink, shop and be entertained.
From pop up dining experiences such as the recent Vegan Grindhouse take over at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath, to a traditional Balti at the Diwan in Balsall Heath. Or perhaps a quick after work bite at Brewdog on John Bright St? I love that there’s so much choice, I never need use my kitchen again.
Not that I’m home in the evenings to use my kitchen as there is so much going on, some nights it’s a struggle to decide which event to not go to. Birmingham has a strong local music scene with both up & coming acts and established artists coming to the large and small venues we have every night of the week. Couple this with world class theatre productions, the ballet, opera and exhibitions; you soon have a busy night time social calendar.
The City Centre also has some amazing architecture, if you look up when you are walking down New Street or Corporation Street you get a real sense of what the City use to be like. A trip into Birmingham Museum really is a must, as well as being an impressive building in its own right, it also houses a stunning collection including the Stafford Hoard.
And when I want to get away from it all the green spaces of Birmingham’s fabulous parks such as Cannon Hill are an oasis from the hustle of modern life.
This is why I tell my colleagues Birmingham really is the best and has everything and more of any other City in the UK… I mean we even have our own colony of penguins right in the heart of the City Centre and there’s not many places that can say that now can they? I love my City and it just gets better every day!
Photo courtesy of the National Sea Life Centre.