Cities of United Kingdom


Birmingham is Britain's second largest city and is situated right in the heart of England. Friendly, bustling and thriving, Birmingham is one of our most visited cities and welcomes visitors all year long. Whether you come to Birmingham on business or pleasure, you will be delighted by the variety of things to see and do.

Home to the famous City of Birmingham Orchestra, and Birmingham Royal Ballet, Birmingham is a city of world class culture. Discover Birmingham's history in the museums and art galleries, stroll through it's centre and enjoy the diversity of shopping, from well known department stores to intriguing shopping malls and street markets.

Birmingham is the perfect base to tour from. You can enjoy outings to the historic and beautiful places in the Heart of England, which are all close by and surround the city.

Steeped in history and mentioned in the Domesday Book, records show that Birmingham was producing knives and tools as early as 1538. By 1639, Birmingham was manufacturing arms and supplied swords to the Parliamentarian side during the Civil War. When James Watt and Mathew Bolton perfected the design of the steam engine, in the late 18th century, Birmingham's proximity to the coal and iron deposits in north Warwickshire, quickly enabled it to become the principal centre of commerce and industry.

Earning it the title of "the city of a thousand trades" because of its vast diversity of manufacturing. Birmingham is still an important manufacturing centre today, producing among many other things, Chocolate, Cars and Jewellery.

Birmingham has always been a progressive city and has made innovative diversification: Recognising the potential of convention business, Birmingham has turned itself into one of the great meeting places in Europe, and home to three of the most prestigious venues of events and conferences.

Situated in the city centre is the International Convention Centre, which hosts meetings of world leaders in industry and politics. Members of the public are welcome to visit the centre, where they can enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere. The ICC is also the home of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, in an elegant hall renowned for its wonderful acoustics.

Near by is the National Indoor Arena, which hosts shows and TV spectaculars, as well as many international sporting events.


London is a rich array of heritage sites, beautiful parks and natural areas, exceptional sports and community recreation facilities and a year-round calendar of special events are just a sampling of the many attractions that make London such an appealing place to enjoy leisure time.

Within the City Life topic links, you are sure to find activities and entertainment that cater to your special interests. You may even discover diversions you didn't know existed in London! For example, you have a comprehensive resource to learn about the flourishing artistic and cultural community in the portal website London arts.

Plenty of useful community information is also available on topics as broad as immigration to Ontario and as specific as city of London grant funding currently available.


Built on extinct volcanoes atop an inlet from the North Sea (the Firth of Forth) and enveloped by rolling hills, lakes (lochs), and forests, Edinburgh invites exploration. This is a city of elegant streets, cobbled alleys, and incomparable sunsets.

Edinburgh (pronounced Edin-burra) is also a busy, noisy place with a spectacular landscape of hills and crags. The buildings of this vibrant capital city , from the historic houses of the Royal Mile to the elegant Georgian terraces and crescents of the New Town, offer the perfect complement to the natural setting. The city's layout is linear, in a pattern set by Castle Rock and Castle Ridge, down which the Royal Mile descends to the palace of Holyroodhouse. North of this lies a shallow valley holding the lovely Princes Street Gardens, with Waverley Station, the city's main railroad station at the eastern end. Above the gardens, and to the north is Edinburgh's main street, Princes Street. This is an ideal vantage point from which to view the castle and Old Edinburgh.

Edinburgh's famous castle is especially beautiful. Upon entering the city, it commands immediate attention. The eye of the visitor is drawn to the impressive structure rising high above everything else on its sheer granite cliffs. There are incredible panoramic views from the upper stories of the castle, including a clear view of the distant sea. The castle sits high on the huge rock formation that juts out as if in defiance of any who would seek to invade Edinburgh. Castle Rock, as it is known, is inaccessible on three sides, and has a long, descending ridge on the fourth side.

Studded with volcanic hills, Edinburgh has an incomparable location on the southern edge of the enormous Firth (River) of Forth. From the west end, beyond craggy Arthur's Seat and over the waters of the Firth of Forth, can be seen the Old and New Towns. Most of the city's sights are contained within these two districts: The Old Town is crowded with multistoried tenements dating from the 15th century and has ancient winding streets dotted with closes (entrances) and wynds (alleyways) on either side. The New Town, on the other hand, presents an orderly arrangement of Georgian buildings and a symmetrical grid of streets.

The effect of sightseeing in these two areas is that of stepping back in time, while still being in the present. At the same moment, you are in a totally intact medieval city, with all the original buildings, yet the people around you are from the modern day, and stores as we know them are functioning within the ancient structures. The contrast is incredible.

To the north of the city center is Leith, Edinburgh's main port, which has shed its rough, waterfront image to become a fashionable area of pubs and restaurants. Leith Links is a favorite with golfers. The Links claim to be one of the earliest sites of the great game, in fact, dating from 1593 when the first set of the official rules was formulated there.

Portobello to the east is where Edinburgh's citizens and summer visitors spend time on the beach. To the west, medieval South Queensferry sits in the shadow of two large bridges that span the Firth of Forth. To the south, near Holyrood Park, is picturesque Duddingston. The attractive streets of Duddingston run down to a loch which is part of a bird sanctuary. It is always thronged with geese and other interesting waterfowl.

Edinburgh is a fine destination for a family vacation. Small children will delight in just running up and down the Royal Mile. A ride on the double decker bus is also a treat. Older children will rise to the challenge of climbing the steps to Arthur's Seat, and exploring what remains of the castle. The important things to keep in mind are to vary the activities of the day and to move at a leisurely pace. As long as children have ample opportunities to exercise and play, and have meals at regular intervals, they can tolerate and even enjoy many of the museums and exhibits that are of interest to adults. Plan the day and then cross off about half of that ambitious schedule, and add time to "run in the park" or "watch the geese on the pond", and you have the basic ingredients for a day of smiles and good humor.

Edinburgh is filled with historic and literary association: John Knox, Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson), Alexander Graham Bell, Sir Walter Scott, and Bonnie Prince Charlie are all part of its past.

Many visitors entering into the ongoing debate over which is the best tasting malt whisky served in Edinburgh. The contenders are many: Highland malts, Lowland malts, Campeltown malts, Islay malts, to name a few. Many other nations have tried to replicate Scotch whisky, but none has succeeded. There is no way to authentically reproduce the Scottish combination of damp climate and soft water flowing through the peat at just the right temperature to produce the malt that forms the basis of the beverage.

Edinburgh's close proximity to England, and its multicultural, sophisticated population set it apart. Its vibrant pub and club scene, its college population combined with the ever-growing Edinburgh International Festival and action packed list of cultural events, make this a city that is truly cosmopolitan and renowned world-wide.


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