Tourist Attractions

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Lichfield Cathedral »

It's worth a detour (14 miles northeast of Birmingham on A38) to explore the only English cathedral with three spires. The sandstone building, beautifully sited by a tree-fringed pool, dates mainly from the 12th and 13th centuries, and the Lady Chapel glows with some 16th-century stained glass from the Cistercian... more »

Birmingham Cathedral »

The early-18th-century Cathedral of St. Philip, a few blocks from Victoria Square, contains some lovely plasterwork in its elegant, gilded Georgian interior. The stained-glass windows behind the altar, designed by the Pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones (1833–98) and executed by William Morris (1834–96), glow with sensuous hues. Free; suggested donation £2. Weekdays... more »

National Sea Life Centre »

As far from the sea as you can get in Britain, this imaginatively landscaped aquarium allows a glimpse into Davey Jones's locker. An underwater tunnel lets you view sharks and stingrays up close, and there are displays of oceanic, tropical, rain-forest, and freshwater marine life. Children will gravitate to the... more »

Cadbury World »

The village of Bournville (4 miles south of the city centre) contains this museum devoted to—what else?—chocolate. In 1879 the Quaker Cadbury brothers moved the family business from the city to this "factory in a garden." The museum traces the history of the cocoa bean and the Cadbury dynasty. The... more »

Pen Room »

During the 19th century, Birmingham was the hub of the world pen trade. This compact museum in a former factory illustrates that heyday through an overwhelming and decorative array of nibs, quills, fountain pens, inks, and all the paraphernalia of the pre-ballpoint era. You can try your hand at calligraphy... more »

Ikon Gallery »

Converted from a Victorian Gothic–style school, this gallery serves as the city's main venue for exhibitions of contemporary art from Britain and abroad. The bright, white interior is divided into comparatively small display areas, making the shows easily digestible. If you need fortifying, however, try the attached Opus Café. Free... more »