An Industrial Revolution powerhouse, Birmingham has transformed itself into a modern, cosmopolitan destination. England's underrated second city has museums and galleries, some of the UK's best shopping and a rich dining scene that includes Michelin-star restaurants and the Balti Triangle. Whatever you want to do, the first decision is where to stay - the heart of the centre or a leafy suburb. Here are five of our favourite apartments in Birmingham.
Staying Cool at The Rotunda
These apartments live up to their name with elegantly designed spaces in a convenient location. In The Rotunda, an iconic Grade Two-listed glass highrise, Staying Cool at The Rotunda is on the doorstep of another of the city's most famous sites - the Bullring. Having hosted markets since the Middle Ages, this is still the place to shop. Today's offering is more modern, and Bullring & Grand Central shopping centre has more than 200 stores, including one of the four UK Selfridges.
After a shopping spree, return to the chic décor of your apartment. Dazzling white Poggenpohl kitchens and sleek grey living rooms have with pops of colour in the orange chairs and purple pillows. Studios, one- and two-bed apartments are available and if you choose one with a balcony, you'll get open-air views of the city skyline. Birmingham New Street Station is a five-minute walk away.
City Nites apartments promise to be your home away from home during your stay in Birmingham. The stylish self-catering apartments are just five minutes from the Arena Birmingham, an indoor space that hosts sporting events and regular gigs by top artists. For big thrills on a small scale, visit LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, a seven-minute walk away. Perfect for smaller children, it has a miniature model of Birmingham and experts who love to share LEGO tips with the next generation.
In the evening, stroll towards the Birmingham Canal to Brindleyplace, a vibrant waterside bar and restaurant precinct. You might choose gourmet burgers or fresh Vietnamese cuisine before your nightcap at Be At One. The bar makes more than 100 cocktails, but you must give local favourite the Peachy Blinder a go. If you fancy staying in, you can cook in a fully equipped kitchen and eat in the open-plan lounge/dining area with floor-to-ceiling windows.
No.8 Waterloo Apartments
In the heart of the city, upmarket No.8 Waterloo Apartments are in The Art Deco building. You'll enjoy one of 31 individually designed and tastefully decorated apartments a few minutes' walk from landmarks like Birmingham Cathedral, built in 1715, and pedestrianised Victoria Square. The extensive Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is also close by, with more than 40 rooms of Romans and Ancient Egypt collections and a 'Birmingham History' exhibition.
If you're shopping for something special, the Jewellery Quarter, a 15-minute walk away, has one of Europe's largest concentrations of manufacturing jewellers. Tracing its origins to the 16th century, the quarter produces 40 percent of all British-made jewellery.
Back at the apartment, take a moment to decide where on Waterloo Street you'll dine - maybe book a table at Michelin-star Adam's, where Chef Adam Stokes serves inventive dishes using the finest British ingredients.
For a more local stay, Stanmore Suites is in the leafy suburb of Edgbaston. Home to the University of Birmingham, Edgbaston has its own sights and is only three miles from the city centre. The apartments - decorated in a fashionable minimalist style with wooden floors and industrial-style lighting - are 10 minutes' walk from Edgbaston Reservoir. Surrounded by woodland, the reservoir is a popular spot for walkers, runners and birdwatchers.
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are half-an-hour's walk away, and the 15 acres of manicured greenery and four glasshouses themed from arid desert to tropical rainforest are a wonderful place to spend the day. Grab lunch or dinner at nearby Highfield Road, where you'll find everything from gastropubs to Michelin-star restaurant, Simpsons. The university is two miles from the apartments, and Edgbaston cricket ground, home of Warwickshire (and occasionally the England team), is three miles.
SACO Birmingham - Brindleyplace
Within the canalside bar and restaurant hub of Brindleyplace, SACO Birmingham - Brindleyplace has smart and spacious apartments. All the city-centre sights are within walking distance and the International Conference Centre is a five-minute stroll. The National Sealife Centre is also five minutes' away, where you can see colourful clownfish and giant sea turtles while learning about conservation efforts to protect the oceans.
Most studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments in the complex have a balcony or terrace, so you can spend the evening with the city lights as a backdrop. Or, after dinner at Brindleyplace, step out on to bustling Broad Street. Arguably Birmingham's most famous street, Broad Street is packed with bars and a favourite of stag and hen dos. The clubs don't stop pumping until the early hours.
Find your perfect place by checking out all our apartments in Birmingham