Birmingham is England’s Second City after London and currently going through a period of massive redevelopment with a brand new transportation hub, huge sprawling shopping malls, offices and luxury apartment complexes springing up all over the skyline.

There is so much to discover in this diverse city with it’s rich history and heritage yet with so many modern architectural attractions to tempt any discerning traveller.

Did you know, for example, that we boast more canals than Venice – some 100 miles of waterways? And while the city is in fact renowned as a centre for manufacturing and the heart of the UK’s car industry, it also has a staggering 571 parks plus five nature reserves.

Dozens of amazing brands were created here from Rover Cars to Bird’s Custard and of course in Bournville you will find the city’s answer to Charlie’s Chocolate Factory in Cadbury’s.

local business etiquette and customs

The diversity of the city is part of its attraction and this is captured in a host of events throughout the year from the St Patrick’s Parade in March which is the third largest in the world to huge Vaisakhi and Diwali celebrations through to English traditions such as the St George’s Day weekend and the annual Remembrance Sunday parade.

Sport also attracts visitors with Premier League football at weekends at Villa Park and international cricket played regularly at Edgbaston. The region also boasts a Ryder Cup golf course at The Belfry and in 2015 the city will be one of the host cities for the Rugby World Cup.


Hotel Du Vin & Bistro ****

Hotel du Vin is a popular destination for female business travellers; classically designed bedrooms, fantastic 2 Rosette Bistro menu available through Bistro or Room Service, huge selection of wine by the bottle and glass, laundry service, free WiFi, extensive mini bar, double lock bedroom doors, luggage assistance/rooming, spa & complimentary use of extensive gym, steam & sauna. Valet parking at additional cost, NCP parking just one block away and parking meters available outside the hotel.

Member offer: Please print off and hand in a copy of this offer upon check in to receive a free glass of house wine. One 175ml complimentary glass per week. Book here.


Birmingham has an international airport which is the UK’s fifth largest servicing some four million passengers a year from over 100 destinations worldwide.

Flights into the city are well served by rail links at Birmingham International and a 24-hour taxi rank is in operation making the hub a safe place for women coming into the region by air.

A new luxury hotel, casino, cinema, shopping mall and spa entitled Resorts World is due to open in mid 2015 meaning women flying in for conferences or events at the National Exhibition Centre need not travel from the airport at all.

The Grand Central Station hub has revolutionised the city’s rail links at New Street in the city centre with well-lit entrances and a well-serviced taxi rank.

dining and bars

Food is a big part of city life and Birmingham is proud of the fact it has five Michelin-starred restaurants – more than any other English city outside London. The region is also famous of course for its Balti Triangle with more than 100 restaurants catering for around 20,000 fans of Asian cuisine a week.


Birmingham is a major shopping destination from its iconic Selfridges store decorated with more than 15,000 aluminium discs to the Bullring which boasts 160 stores under one roof. Grand Central will soon house the biggest John Lewis store outside London and will link these malls with the luxury brand designer stores of the Mailbox.

If gold and silver are on your list where better to browse than the iconic Jewellery Quarter which still manufactures 40 per cent of the UK’s jewellery using traditional methods dating back 250 years.


Birmingham is a multi-cultural and diverse city that welcomes visitors from all over the world. As with all big cities it has its issues with crime but visitors need not fear with the city protected by CCTV and with our friendly neighbourhood street wardens always on hand to give out advice or directions.


Maiden Voyage’s partners, IWant2Network offer membership for the best professional networking groups and meetings, locally, nationally and all over the world. See what’s happening in Birmingham and join IWant2Network here.

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ambassador: LISA SMITH

lisa-smith-birminghamAs a journalist in this city for 20 years I got to know Birmingham inside and out and have always been a proud advocate of the place I call home.

I was born in Worcester but moved to Birmingham at the age of eight and have ever since championed the city and embraced all it has to give.

My job on a regional newspaper meant I regularly travelled around the UK and overseas – often travelling alone as I ended up a football writer following matches all over the world. While I loved the opportunities this offered I wish I had had the support of Maiden Voyage back then!

I now run a busy public relations company and am delighted many of the businesses, hotels, restaurants etc. in the city are among my clients meaning I can promote them as much as I can. I am a proud ambassador for Birmingham charity ‘Love Brum’ which helps raises money for local good causes and I am also a presenter on the sports channel of the city’s brand new community television channel Big Centre TV.

My passion is sport and I am an avid Aston Villa fan. I also love eating out, shopping and spending time with my wonderful family including my two daughters and the family dog!

I am looking forward to welcoming my Maiden Voyagers to town and extending a warm Brummie welcome!

Lisa xx

Contact me here or follow me on twitter

Networking: See who is networking in Birmingham now

Read the doing business in the UK guide.