Shopping in Birmingham is one of the city's favourite pastimes.
With state of the art shopping centres, grandiose Victorian arcades, bustling markets and streets devoted to authentic, ethnic wares; Birmingham is one of the best British cities in which to spend a day in the shops.
While staying at our Holiday Inn Express hotel you might wish, if you have the time, to explore the best places in Birmingham to grab that bargain or browse through the many fine shops of the city. Here's a guide to our pick of the bunch.
Set right in the heart of the city, Birmingham's Bullring is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. Here you'll find over 160 featuring some of the high-street's favourite labels, exclusive designers and iconic department retailers.
For that modern, shopping experience in Birmingham, browsing through some fine labels, picking up the latest in gaming and technology or simply window shop; you're be able to do so in complete comfort. Under the Bullring's roof, you'll be free from the elements so even a rainy day won't damping your quest to find that special, new outfit.
There's a store for every taste and budget but when you feel like a break there are plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to recharge the batteries.
Some of the best shopping to be had in Birmingham takes place within the various markets, which occur weekly throughout the city.
The Bullring actually holds three separate markets to go along with the other wide variety of farmers' markets in other locations. Here you'll have close to 500 independent traders showcasing their finest products all within a lively, energetic setting.
There are bargains to be had and with such a wealth of goods to sample, you can be sure to find some delicious food or handcrafted gem to take away with you.
It's a true shopping experience, memorable and enjoyable mostly due to the friendliness and banter to be had with the traders themselves.
Bull Ring Open Market: 9am to 5pm - every Tuesday to Saturday
Bull Ring Indoor Market: 9am to 5.30pm - every Monday to Saturday
Rag Market: 9am to 5pm - every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham is really the home of the UK's jewellery industry.
Over 200 years of artisanship, which today still makes up for 40% of the country's manufacture of jewellery – the Jewellery Quarter has to be the place to find that one-of-a-kind, special gift.
The real plus of the Jewellery Quarter is that many establishments have a workshops, so for that genuinely exclusive item, so they'll be more than happy to commission your wonderful surprise on-site.
A plethora of unique, independent jewellers are located in the area, with the greatest array of bespoke, traditional and dazzling pieces you're likely to find. It's also just a very pleasant area in which to enjoy a stroll through.
The creative talent doesn't stop with the jewellers either, as there are numerous art galleries, specialist stores and independent designers to uncover.
You may even wish to stop by the fascinating Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Together with the boutique cafes and restaurants and lovely bars to take a pit-stop in, particularly those in the gorgeous St Paul's square, Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is a must visit.
Birmingham is a city rich with manufacturing heritage, stemming from a proud, Victorian past and in no other place is this as evident as The Great Western Arcade.
In a contrast to the modern, futuristic cityscape, the elegance and refinement of the stunning 19th century parade is a sure standout.
Take time to have a leisurely wander along the lines of boutique, independent stores all of which are packed with items you won't be able to see anywhere else.
It will take you back in time and the sense that you can find that treasured gift in anyone of the stores is a great feeling.
This area of Birmingham is famous for relaxed shopping in a stunning, glamorous setting. A shopping retreat in itself, it houses Birmingham's most exclusive designer brands.
With upscale eateries, chic wine bars, beautiful works of art and more designer stores than most cities, any style-conscious individuals will be in nirvana.
Indulge in a feast of high-class fashion in designer stores such as Versace, Armani, Hugo Boss, Jaeger or Harvey Nichols. Then relax on the beautiful canal side, sipping an espresso in one of the many lovely cafés in true cosmopolitan style.
186 Ladypool Road
Birmingham is the birthplace of the Balti, the favoured Asian dish of many. The Balti Triangle in the bustling city is actually an area of specialised authentic Asian clothing, fabric and jewellery shops.
The vibrancy of the Balti Triangle makes for a special treat for anyone with an interest in exotic clothing or interior design. All the shops are traditional, unique and unlike anything you'll come close to seeing on the high street.
The sheer variety and choice you have in the Balti Triangle makes for compulsive shopping even if you aren't looking for anything in particular. A great number of the designers have extremely helpful staff and are more than happy to suggest styling advice or tailor a bespoke creation to your requirements.
The texture, colours and imagination on show in the Balti Triangle is worth a visit for any stopover in Birmingham.