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With a surge of new food stalls, vintage shops, live music and revamped buildings, Birmingham has been listed in the Top 10 cities for 2015 by Rough Guides.
Pentahotel Birmingham is a great option for those wanting to see what this vibrant city has to offer and why it's back on the tourist map. The hotel is a 5-minute walk from The Mailbox, which has shops including Harvey Nichols and Emporio Armani, as well as an Everyman cinema; and The Bullring shopping centre -- home to Selfridges -- is a 10-minute walk.
For independent shopping, head to the Custard Factory; it's a mishmash of shops selling antiques, vinyl records and furniture, alongside small galleries and off-beat cafés, all within the restored Bird's Custard factory.
Other city highlights include the Jewellery Quarter, a conservation area over 250 years old with 500-plus jewellery businesses and the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. A short walk from the hotel is Back to Backs, run by the National Trust, which illustrates the lives of working-class families from the 1840s to the 1970s (pre-booking is required).
Don't be put off by the surrounding buildings; the hotel is modern, sleek and informal -- there's a lounge area with a pool table and a pinball machine, and staff wear jeans and T-shirts. The buffet breakfasts come with optional prosecco and there's a "maxi bar" on every floor selling drinks and snacks.
All 131 bedrooms are an ample size, especially for a city-centre hotel, and have free Wi-Fi and movies.
The National Exhibition Centre is a 20-minute drive from pentahotel Birmingham.
See the Maps & Directions tab for details on parking.
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