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Birmingham: Fun Facts About The UK’s Second City

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The UK’s second city isn’t always first on everybody’s must-visit list, but we are here to change that. Birmingham is best known for its industrial background, hardworking people and famous waterways, the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’ also has a rich history of arts, music and culture. 

  • The First Game of Lawn Tennis Was Played in Birmingham
  • Birmingham has More Canals Than Venice
  • The Busiest Theatre in the UK in in Birmingham
  • Cadbury Chocolate and HP Sauce are both from Birmingham
  • Inspiration for the Lord of the Rings
  • Home to some of the UK’s most famous metal bands
  • Bullring Shopping Centre has been going since the Middle Ages
  • Home to the real-life Peaky Blinders

First Game of Lawn Tennis Was Played in Birmingham

Modern-day tennis as we know it can be traced back to Harry Gem and his friend Augurio Pereraw who are credited with playing the first game of modern lawn tennis in their house in Edgbaston, Birmingham. Edgbaston Lawn Tennis Club remains the oldest in the world. Take that Wimbledon! 

Birmingham Has More Canals Than Venice 

Birmingham’s famous waterways stretch for a whopping 35 miles, meaning it has more than the famous Italian city. These canals are enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and narrowboat owners alike and serve as a reminder of the cities industrial past.

The Busiest Theatre in the UK is in Birmingham

With a whopping 520,000 visitors per year, the Birmingham Hippodrome is officially the UK’s busiest theatre. Here you can catch year-round performances varying from dance, pantomime, musicals and theatre. 

Cadbury Chocolate and HP Sauce are from Birmingham

That’s right, two of Britains most iconic food brands call Birmingham home. Cadbury’s chocolate started opened for production in 1905. Cadbury made its first Dairy Milk bar in 1914, with a higher percentage of Milk than previous bars, it soon became the company’s best selling product. 

Another titan of the British cupboard is the famous HP Sauce. The ‘HP’ stands for Houses of Parliament, although this sauce’s roots don’t trace back to Westminister, but to its factory in Aston.  

Birmingham was the inspiration for the Lord of the Rings

Not many people know that Lord of the Rings author J.R.Tolkien spent his formative years in and around the city. It was the landscape of the city and surrounding countryside that provided part of the inspiration for his books.

Locations like ‘The Shire’, home to his famous Hobbit characters, was inspired by a village called Sarehole, which has now been absorbed into Birmingham’s suburbs. 

Home to some of the UK’s most famous metal bands

Another lesser-known slice of Birmingham’s history is the cities connection to Heavy Metal music. Bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest all played their first gigs in the city, with many of their members having grown up in Birmingham. The city still hosts a strong metal scene today in venues like the Tunnel Club and Scruffy Murphy’s. 

Bullring Shopping Centre in Birmingham has been going since the Middle Ages

Bullring Shopping Centre is situated in an area that has been a shopping hotspot in Birmingham since the middle ages. Long before enormous shopping malls and department stores, this area was host to a bustling corn market. The market legally began trading in 1154 and lives on today in the form of the Bullring Shopping Centre. 

Home to the real-life Peaky Blinders

If you haven’t heard of the BBC’s hit period drama Peaky Blinders yet then where have you been? Set in post World War One Birmingham, the show has done more in recent years to put Birmingham on the map than anything else.

Tommy Shelby and his gang brothers have become the new heroes of the city. Championing the Brummy accent not just across the UK, but now taking America by storm since the hit streaming service Netflix has started airing the series. Based loosely on a real gang from the city with the same name, this show is a gateway to Birmingham life in the 1920s.

Thinking about visiting Birmingham to experience some of this amazing history first hand? You can also get your laundry done while you visit. Laundryheap operates throughout the city, all you have to do is book a same-day laundry and dry cleaning collection with free next day delivery.  

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