First of all, to correct a couple of reviewers on here, Solihull is not part of Birmingham. It is geographically and factually incorrect to say that it is. Solihull is it's own borough, although it does share the 'B' postcodes and '0121' area codes with Birmingham. I am not being pretentious here because it makes no odds to me whether or not it's in Birmingham or not - I am just stating facts.
Right, now on with the review... I moved to Solihull, from London, 18 years ago. At first the place seemed really small compared to what I was used to in London but, in fairnesss, everywhere in the UK seems small compared with London. Solihull is a nice little town, fairly affluent and, yes, there is a certain amount of snobbery about not being associated with Birmingham but you get that sort of snobbery in all affluent areas. The town centre itself has been vastly improved in the last ten years, including the building and opening of Touchwood Court shopping centre and the pedestrianisation of the High Street. There is also a plentiful supply of pubs, bars and eateries although most of them are the usual chain fare (Wetherspoons, Hogshead etc).
Solihull on a Friday or Saturday night has apparently, in the last few years, attracted more trouble than it ever used to. There are always loads of police about and there are security guards on the chip shop door! I'm not sure if this is pre-emptive or if it's a response to actual trouble. Personally, I have never had any trouble myself while on a night out there and nor has anyone I know, so I do wonder if it's only the people 'asking for it' who get into skirmishes with each other. I did always feel sorry for the chip shop staff though as they were always getting stick from the drunken p*** heads going in every night, so it's probably no bad thing that they've got security now. There are now enough bars in Solihull to have a really good night out. Many of them have late licences or you can always go to the one proper nightclub - Reflex - for a dance. Expect chavs and hen parties though, if you do.
Shopping-wise you'll be impressed with the selection of shops. All the usual favourites are there; Topshop, New Look, FCUK, John Lewis etc so you'll be spoilt for choice. I suppose what Solihull lacks is the sense of individuality, as there are only the usual chain shops. There is occasionally a nice French market in the square where you can buy pastries and meats etc, although that is fairly infrequent. There is also a cinema in Touchwood with several screens, so you can do dinner and a movie.
Transport links aren't bad. You can get the bus or train into Birmingham (train only takes about 15 mins), or you can get the train to Marlebone from Solihull station and that only takes about an hour and a half. Solihull is also right by the M42 and is only one junction away from the NEC or B'ham airport. You can't knock it for location.
All in all Solihull is quite a nice place to live, albeit quite expensive. It does get a bit repetitive after a few years of going out there, but it's a nice place to settle down and/or raise kids and it's close enough to Birmingham that your drinking/clubbing won't get too samey.
I thought l would write a review about my home town, Solihull. This is a review about the place that l grew up in, and the town which l shall probably always call home. I don't actually currently live in this town, although l don't live far away and l regularly visit. It's a town l know well, so l thought l would attempt to share my knowledge.
Set in the west midlands, Solihull is a suburb of Birmingham, and has a lot to offer. Solihull is approximately a 20 minute drive to Birmingham, and a takes a similar time to get to Warwick.
Visitors to the town can make use of the M42 which is a major route into Solihull.
There are many buses available in the centre, and there is a train station a few minutes away from the centre. There is also a taxi rank available, where there is usually taxis waiting.
Their seems to be quite a bit of tension between Birmingham residents and residents of Solihull. The reason being, Solihull is seen to be the posh part of Birmingham. Of course it is not, it is a town in its own right, and both have their merits.
What is there to see and do in Solihull?
Solihull has lots on offer, two of the biggest attractions are probably Birmingham international airport (which is located part in Solihull) and the LG Arena (Formally NEC) which provides the region with lots of great concerts and events, both of these are within easy reach of the town centre.
I have used the NEC group for concerts and events frequently, such as PINK, Nelly Furtado, Bryan Adams and events such as the topgear MPH show .
There is also a hospital in the centre and a large library with an arts complex that has a small theatre.
Attractions within the town centre are plentiful. With lots to see and do, the centre has an array of high street stores, both situated outside and inside. Outside you have, The works, HMV, WHSmiths, Bank, Dorothy perkins/Burtons, Accessorise.
Near to the Taxis and buses are several nice bars, such as Weatherspoons, Hogs head etc.
The modern indoors complex is called Touchwood. This is a classy building, which is modern and attractive in appearance. With lots of comfy sofas inside to take a rest. This is a great place to escape from the cold and the rain. Its well decorated with lovely lighting and it is usually very clean, with its polished floors and elegance and sophistication. There are two levels to this building, the bottom with stores and coffee shops, upstairs is generally the leisure area with a cinema, and several restaurants and places to eat.
What is nice about touchwood, is the stylish, clean and free toilets. Its very distressing when you are out, need the toilet and they are dirty. But with these toilets they are very well maintained, and going to the toilet here would never worry me at all.
The shops situated in touchwood are a little bit more expensive than elsewhere in the town. Some of the stores are small designer shops, offering products you will be hard pressed to find else where but at a costly fee. Other shops in Touch wood are John Lewis, Top Shop, Jane Norman, M&P and Wallis. There are an array of places to eat too, such as TGI Fridays, the Slug and lettuce, and coffee shops such as Druckers and Costa coffee.
The town is a pleasant place to shop. It is quite a quaint town. Set in a lovely location with lots of parking available. Everything is easily located in Solihull. It has an array of shops and is generally a pleasure to shop. It usually avoids the major crowds and hustle and Bustle of Birmingham.
The Cinema in Solihull is cineworld, which offers a selection of the latest films. It can get rather busy at peak times, but its quite a nice cinema. Nightlife in Solihull is limited, but there are quite a few bars and a couple of clubs in the centre. But for a wider choice you would need to visit Birmingham.
Malvern and Brueton park
Set within walking distance of the city centre, are two distinctive parks, which are joined. This area offers a lovely attraction for the centre, with a wealth of wildlife and grass area. There is a children's playground, which is nicely set out. There is also a beautiful lake, which makes a common attraction. There are plenty of benches, and in the summer months the park has a wide array of beautiful flowers. it's a really lovely park for everyone, families and anyone who likes to walk around. The park area is really quite big. I have many fond memories of walking around these parks.
Where to stay
Solihull has many nice guest houses and hotels to stay in, a short drive around the centre and you will notice many hotels such as, Ramada Jarvis, Renaissance hotel and Holiday inn.
My thoughts about Solihull
Solihull has lots to offer. Whenever l have taken friends to Solihull town centre they have always really liked Solihull. As previously mentioned Solihull has a limited night life, but there are several bars. What l love about Solihull is that you are within easy reach of the airport, Birmingham and several other attractions.
Solihull is a quaint town, which is rather pretty, and quite unspoilt, it seems to have managed to keep a lot of its heritage. Residents are proud of their town. It might be a buzzing lively town. But that is the appeal of Solihull. Its pretty, its upmarket, its quaint and it's a pleasure to visit.
Although I class myself as living in Birmingham, I actually live just as close to Solihull town centre as I do to Brum. Solihull residents annoy me a bit to be honest. They always say "we're from So-lihull" in a way that indicates they think they are better than Brummies. House prices are expensive and on the whole people that live in Solihull are middle class and fairly dull (well why would anyone choose to live in boring old Solihull if you were wealthy apart from being boring?) I really hope no-one reads this that lives in Solihull as they will kill me! All of the houses are big with several cars on the driveway and nicely pruned hedges. Down the middle of the roads and on the many roundabouts are pretty floral displays. Solihull have won the "In Bloom" award several times. I always think it is a waste putting flowers down the middle of the road. The town centre is quite pleasant with all the ordinary shops and is very clean with hardly any litter. Typical people to be seen wondering around are children in nicely ironed uniforms and pulled up socks, and little old ladies. Solihull is not really a place for trendy city types or minority cultures, this is suburban hell. Touchwood is a new shopping centre which is made up of several malls in a cross shape. It contains some lovely gift shops, fashion shops and delicatessans as well as a John Lewis, Bear Factory and Boots. It is very airy and a nice place to shop if a little pricey. Nice just about sums Solihull up in my opinion. Pleasant enough, especially for families of Mr and Mrs average and 2.4 children, but there is nothing very distinctive or special about the place. Most young people with aspirations flee to London or another big city as soon as they can to escape a life of drudgery working in the bank on Solihull high street marrying Brian from school and living in a nice neat semi. Birmingham Airport is only a few miles away from Solihul
l so at least you can get away easily, but that also means if you live in the areas close by you get a lot of noise from planes. The National Exhibition Centre is right next to the airport so Solihull residents are well placed to go to events such as the Clothes Show, the Good Food Show, the Motor Show and to see concerts. Solihull has an ice rink and bowling alley which serve a purpose although they seem increasingly dated next to the modern complexes in Birmingham. My friend used to drag me to the ice rink every week because she fancied the security guard but there is no special reason to go there. There is a UCI cinema in one of those horrible retail parks along with a few chain restaurants. Nice. In the city centre there are a few bars, again mostly chains like O'Niells, the Pitcher and Piano and Rosie O Briens. There are no nightclubs but at the weekend some of the bars have licences to open until 1am. The name Soilhull comes from Soily Hill from the original parish church which was built on a muddy hill (I am making this place sound so appealing aren't I?). The M42 is only one mile away from Solihull town centre so it is very easy to reach if you had any special reason to visit (but I can't think of any unless you have relatives in the area). Tudor Grange Sports centre is just outside the town centre and has a swimming pool and 3 slides (one is known as the death slide as it's straight down and very scary) as well as football pitches, tennis courts and a gym. The areas schools are thought to be good, and Richie from 5ive (Billie's ex, the one who wore make up) went to the very posh private Solihull school. Solihull sixth form college offers a range of A Levels and is one of the best performing colleges in the West Midlands. Solihull college students fall into two camps- "American preppy" types and "I hate the world" tortured middle class Slipknot fans. On the whole,
I am not keen on Solihull. I much prefer to go to Birmingham for shopping, nightlife and entertainment. Solihull seems to be lacking in personality and does not offer anything special to entice visitors. Birmingham may be a bit rough around the edges but its residents have personality. If I find myself in twenty years living in a nice semi in Solihull working in a bank, do me a favour and shoot me.
Solihull, in the West Midlands. It's a small town with a normal high street and square shopping area. In 2000 they started to build a shopping mall, called Touch wood court. It's big, it's full of shops and it's hopefully making a packet!...Touch wood!!! ;) It's built right at the end of the high street, so it's easy access to buses or even the train station. It has a car park to hold 10,000 cars which is quite cheap to park for a couple of hours. The front of Touch wood is very attractive with a huge STAR BUCKS CAFE right at the top, the coffee is superb! The court is wide, with shops on each side. There are antique shops, gadget shops, toy shops, and of course a whole bunch of clothes shops including French Connection, H&M, Top Shop, JD's, Jane Norman, Miss Selfridge, Mango, and for all you guys out there YES they have some very stylish mens stores including, Top Man, a designer and a leather store. This is only the ground floor! As you walk around the court, you'll probably be bumping into people, not because it's crowded, but because of the ceiling design and features. There is a huge crystal ball which catches your eye straight away. Above all the shops are restaurants, a whole area of 8 or more eating places including Spanish, Chinese, Pizza, Burger King, English and Mexican. If this can't get any better, we even have a 9 screen cinema which even shows Indian movies! The decor is stylish and with leather chairs and a huge John Lewis it draws people left right and centre! The downside to Touch wood is the prices of food. But of course, it's different, it's new and people will pay the prices. I suggest you have a day out wherever you might be, and go shopping! Touch wood, you'll like it! :)