We tried to visit last year but ran out of available December weekends and the Birmingham Christmas markets eluded our grasp. This year was a different story. Rounding us up like Rudolph gathering his sleigh of reindeer, but with Whatsapp rather than elf-dust, our esteemed organiser not only managed to secure a whole day that we all could do but book train tickets in as well. She cracked that tinsel covered whip…
So, bright and early on a Saturday morning we gathered, scrubbing the sleep from the corners of our eyes and brightly hugging – glad that instead of cracking our usual escape rooms, we were just shuffling onto the train – we boarded our sleigh (also known as a Class 165/0 Network Turbo train) nice and early.
It began as all good stories do, with coffee. Straight off the train, Camp Mother fired up the GoogleMaps and we hunted out purveyors of quality grounds and beautiful milk froth hearts.
Over the years, I’ve heard so many (often disparaging) things about Birmingham, but despite the damp grey skies, the buildings are beautiful and the locals are friendly.
Oh, and we are pretty sure that the entire population of the West Midlands were milling around the Birmingham Christmas market, chafing their hands on mugs of mulled wine and wrapping their laughing gear around a proliferation of hearty winter fair fare.
And it was typical December weather. But, we still had a lovely away from the thoughts of our London lives.
There were Santas as far as the eye could see, twinkling lights threaded through boughs of evergreen foliage, the merry cheeks of families all gathered around tables, the ring of Christmas carols through tinny speakers, stalls full of every kind of small gift you can think of and the enchanting aroma of mulled wine and hot doughnuts drifting through the air.
I went hotdog, just in case you were interested, and then had a ridiculous amount of food envy when we walked past a stand of blackened ham served on bloomer rolls, slathered in mustard. Rookie error right there – always complete a full circuit of the food stands before acceding to hunger.
Appetites satiated, we then answered the siren call of freshly made Poffertjes – a traditional Dutch batter treat. Resembling small, fluffy pancakes, they are made with yeast and buckwheat flour AND ARE AMAZING. We first tried them in Amsterdam, but these Brummy ones were scrumptious.
It was just one of those afternoons, the ones where you drift to whichever corner takes your fancy, occasionally dodging flocks of fair-attendees.
Birmingham, you have me curious.
Our day also ended with coffee, because we are addicts…
A bit like our visit to Manchester which was entirely based around one thing (in that case visiting their cat-cafe), we haven’t really explored Birmingham very much, but I’m rather intrigued to visit again and explore a little more thoroughly, and a little more slowly.
What is your favourite UK city? Edinburgh, Dublin, Cambridge, Bath, Salisbury, Chester, Belfast, Glasgow, York, Winchester…?