​As our Birmingham Talent Hub approaches its 2nd birthday, we decided to shout from the rooftops (well, from our website…) about Aspire’s home in the UK’s second city. Yeah, London’s great and everything, but do they have more canals than Venice? An actual chocolate factory? A library that looks like an elaborate wedding cake? Nope, didn’t think so.

Here’s our top 10 favourite things about Birmingham:

1. The growing foodie scene.

Birmingham boasts some exciting independent restaurants, with more opening all the time, as well as street food festivals every Friday at Digbeth Dining Club. And did you know we have four Michelin starred restaurants?

2. Craft pubs.

1000 Trades, The Jekyll and Hyde, Cherry Red's, BrewDog, The Wolf, Pig and Tail, Loki – the choices are endless to enjoy a great beer, or a natural wine at 1000 Trades (fancy box wine!), or partake in a tasting with the experts at Loki.

3. Canals.

Everyone talks desperately about the canals in Birmingham as though they’re our only USP. So even though you’ve probably heard this one before, it still stands; the canals are extensive, a great option for a spring walk (when there’s a break in the rain), and on the most part pretty much free from shopping trolleys and other debris. Winner.

4. The architecture – old and new.

From the Bullring Selfridges building that looks like bubble wrap, to the Cube that looks like…well, a cube, and our new library (still splitting opinion – is it daring and innovative? Or is it just weird and sort of ugly?), Birmingham seamlessly contrasts old and new with huge building projects going on to regenerate the city as we speak. Plus, we’re soon to have the biggest Primark in Europe! Stuff the Pre-Raphaelites in the Museum – head down to get yourself some discounted socks.

5. Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park.

Look, London Zoo – yes, you’ve got otters and stuff, but have you got red pandas? Or even better, a baby red panda? I think not. Try Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park next to Cannon Hill Park for all your cute animal needs, and then you can pop into the Midlands Arts Centre next door and catch a foreign film or exhibition.

6. The Birmingham ‘burbs.

The city centre isn’t the only place to enjoy the delights of the West Midlands. Try Moseley, Harborne, Bournville, King’s Heath, and the Jewellery Quarter for village vibes and a myriad of quirky (read: hipster) cafés, music venues, a folk festival and a giant Waitrose. Bliss.

7. Travel.

If you wanted to leave Birmingham (…but why would you?) you’d be happy to know that it’s very well connected. It’s close to the airport, boasts three train stations, is 45 minutes’ drive to the countryside, and is two hours from the beach. But you’ll soon start to miss the particular smog of Birmingham and the musical accent, let me assure you.

8. The Electric Cinema.

The oldest working cinema in the UK, The Electric Cinema opened its doors in December 1909. They show a mix of box office hits and underground indie flicks, plus throwbacks and special events with paired drinks and nibbles. You can even get married there, making the most of the art deco bar area and striking red and black interiors of the cinema screens.

9. Our Birmingham Talent Hub (well we had to put it in here for a shameless plug at some point!)

Aspire’s candidate-focused Talent Hub collaborates and works with Aspire London in finding perfect candidates for roles, managing the candidate journey with expert advice and support.

10. The Christmas markets.

Just kidding. Any Birmingham resident will tell you through gritted teeth how much they hate the Christmas markets. Slow walking out-of-towners getting drunk and clogging up our precious main street? Pass us a stein. We’re trying to get to Europe’s largest Primark over here.