Birmingham - the city where cultures and cuisines from all around the world mix

Birmingham, the UK's second city, with a population of some 1.1 million, is perhaps less well-known than many smaller British holiday destinations. However, with Air France's frequent flights to the city from Cape Town or Johannesburg , there's no reason why this should remain the case!

Travel time can be as little as 13 hours. As the UK is not a member of the Schengen Area, unlike most European Union countries, special customs and travel document requirements
must be adhered to. The local currency is the pound sterling and local time is two hours behind South African time.

Birmingham hosts a number of large festivals and major sporting events. The cost of airplane tickets will vary in line with the demand created by these events. For the best-value tickets, it's worth looking at Air France's dedicated best offers and promotions page. Venues such as the NEC host a large number of major exhibitions, whilst the St Patrick's Day parade, the Birmingham International Carnival and the Birmingham Heritage Festival reflect the city's ethnic diversity, celebrating the heritage of some of the city's immigrant populations, both long-established and more recent.
Cricket fans, meanwhile, will flock to Edgbaston, the home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club, which regularly hosts test cricket and one day internationals. Finally, there's Birmingham's Christmas market, the largest in the UK and in fact the largest German Christmas market outside Germany, which is well worth the journey!

Having a very large south Asian community, it's not surprising that Birmingham has a reputation for great Asian food. The home of the Balti curry, the city also offers top-class classic European cuisine, notably in the shape of its four Michelin-starred restaurants.

Birmingham's museums will take you on an epic journey through the arts, sciences and industry.

Birmingham has a number of outstanding museums and art galleries which can compete with anything that other major European cities can offer. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery contains Old Masters, watercolours, ceramics, metalwork and works from that quintessentially English movement, the Pre-Raphaelites. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, meanwhile, offers a superb overview of Western art from the 13th century to the present day. There are lots of more unusual museums too, for example the Birmingham Back to Backs. This museum tells the story of one kind of house design that was constructed in its thousands for the workers who flocked to the city during the 19th century. These workers would have included those who helped produce one of the UK's most iconic food products - Cadbury's dairy milk chocolate. You can find out more about this famous chocolate during your stay in Birmingham by visiting Cadbury World - you'll even have a chance to create your very own confectionery!

First-time visitors will find the city to be surprisingly green, with more parks than any other European city. Biggest of them all is the enormous Sutton Park, (971 hectares). At the same time, the surrounding countryside is easily accessed by public transport or car . Areas of outstanding natural beauty, like the Cotswolds and the Peak District are a relatively short drive away.

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