If the hustle and bustle of London is not really your style but if you still like a little action, then consider a visit to Birmingham for your next destination.
Birmingham may be England’s second largest city, but it retains that small town feel. The pace is not as rushed as London. Prices for food and lodging are considerably less.
This West Midlands city is the perfect place for travelers who like their cars and motorcycles fast, be they old or just out the factory door. The Industrial Revolution began in the West Midlands, which pays tribute to this heritage throughout the region today.
The Black Country Museum in the suburb of Dudley is a good place to ease into the past. It’s a recreation of a 1930s coal mining village, complete with coal mine tours and costumed villagers. The museum also boasts a small but excellent collection of vintage motorcycles and cars that were manufactured in the Birmingham area through about 1920.
Motorcycle enthusiasts will think they’ve died and gone to heaven when they visit the National Motorcycle Museum, the world’s largest, in the suburb of Solihull. The museum has more than 850 motorcycles on display, starting with the very earliest models that were bicycles with gas engines attached. Museum holdings include the world’s most valuable motorcycle, the Brough Superior Golden Dream, made for the 1936 Olympics. The museum also has a model of the Brough Superior that Lawrence of Arabia was riding when he had his fatal accident; Lawrence had six of these Superiors.
Most of the motorcycles are crammed together, making it difficult to see them. However, sometimes staff will pull one out of the line-up so enthusiasts can get a closer look. The museum displays only British-made vehicles. While newer bikes are on display, the museum concentrates on those from the days when British motorcycles ruled the world.
Not to be missed on this vehicle tour of the West Midlands is the Coventry Transport Museum, do-able as a day trip on public bus from Birmingham. Coventry is famously associated with Lady Godiva, with a statue of this midnight rider a short walk uphill from the museum. The Coventry Transport Museum features all modes of transportation that were manufactured only in the Coventry area. The list starts with wagons pulled by horses and ends with the most modern vehicles.
The exhibits are arranged by decades, with each decade having a diorama showing how the vehicles were used. Larger display rooms concentrate on a particular vehicle, such as cars or motorcycles. The motorcycle room includes the Triumph Tom Cruise rode in “Mission Impossible 3.” Also on display is the Thrust, a car that set a land speed record in 1997. Thrill seekers won’t want to miss a ride on the simulator, as it bounces down the strip at the breathtaking speed of 763 mph.
When travelers overdose on motor vehicles, it’s time for a chocolate break. Hop a commuter train at New Street Station for a relaxing ride along a canal to Bournville, home of Cadbury World, where the world’s most loved chocolate bar, Dairy Milk, is made. With the smell of chocolate permeating the air – or maybe it’s all the free samples that are handed out – it’s easy to acquire chocolate overload by the time this self-guided tour is finished. Reservations are recommended as this tour is really popular with the chocoholic public.
Kevin Caldwell wrote with article for BricktownOKCHotels.com who specializes in helping people find hotels near Bricktown.