Newest Review: ... only £8 and this would be a sufficient amount of time to spend there. If you wish to use other forms of transport then there are various... more
There's More to the Birmingham Bullring Besides that Purple Building with Silver Discs
Member Name: thegoodguy
Advantages: Range of Shops, Posh Toilets, Plenty of Restaurants, Other Shopping Centres Nearby
Being a born and bred Birmingham boy, I still remember the advertising campaign of the Bullring very well. "Europe's new shopping capital isn't in central Europe itself." I couldn't stop laughing at this because at the time I thought it was a load of fudge. An older building calling itself the Bullring was just a bunch of markets. Surely this newer one was just going to be like any other shopping centre I've seen? I remember thinking of all those beautiful cities in Europe, why would Birmingham have the gall to claim that they would give you the best shopping experience. It's now been 8 years since the Bullring opened it's doors to the public and after visiting cities such as London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Rome, Paris, Normandy and Barcelona in that duration, it seemed the Bullring was on to something. No disrespect to the other shopping centres scattered around Birmingham and Europe, but I now believe the Bullring is the greatest shopping centre of Europe. Why? Because I don't have to walk a mile to go to the designer clothes shops when I'm by the restaurants. It's all there under one roof and 3 floors.
With the Bullring becoming the third shopping centre in central Birmingham, following the Pallasades and the Pavilion (both which are in close proximity to the Bullring), as well as a bunch of other streets (Corporation Street and New Street being the most popular, as well as a scene of the recent riots) housing practically every shop you can think of, what was new that the Bullring could offer? Well for starters, some of the shops located in the other 2 centres and the streets, closed their doors to move into the Bullring. But the 2 main attractions of the Bullring had to be the first Selfridges and Debenhams opening in central Birmingham. Located at opposite ends of the Bullring, one side is subsequently called the Debenhams side and the other called the Selfridges side. For those of you that have seen that large purple building with discs on the tele or newspaper, that is the Selfridges store. Selfridges is a 4 floor department store. Selling designer clothes which you won't find in JD Sports, electrical goods, jewellry, cosmetics, perfumes, make up and just about anything else you can think of. The best floor of Selfridges is the bottom floor. Naturally, this is the most busiest. Featuring several mini restaurants, such as Yo Sushi! and Krispy Kreme, as well as a deli, ice cream bar. There's even more which I can't remember, which are very highly priced. The fun on the bottom floor doesn't stop as stationery, ethnic and world foods, sweets, toys and a heck of a lot more of items are available.
For those that haven't been Debenhams, that is also a department store. Just like Selfridges, the Debenhams here is also 4 floors. It sells most stuff Selfridges have, at a fraction of the price. The bottom floor isn't as wild and fun as Selfridges, as there are no mini restaurants. What it does have is a rather empty cafe which serves poor quality food.
So what about the rest of the Bullring? There's a whole lot more than just Debenhams and Selfridges. One noticeable thing is that more people like to hang on the Debenhams side more than the Selfridges side. That's because the middle and top floor of the Selfridges side of the Bullring really doesn't have anything special. On the Debenhams side, you will find more clothes shops. To make the ladies and some gents happy are a 2 floor New Look, a 3 floor H&M, a 2 floor Forever 21, a 2 floor Topshop, Quiz, Henleys store, Miss Selfridge as well as a bunch of others are all part of the Bullring. Besides the clothes stores, a variety of shops such as Boots, Apple Store, O2 shop, Superdrugs, Game, HMV, The Entertainer, Birthdays, Disney Store, Halifax Bank, Ann Summers, Tie Rack, G Star Raw, Mamas & Papas, H Samuel and a lot more which hurt my head trying to think about are all on the Debenhams side. The less popular Selfridges side isn't too bad in what stores it holds. Next, Orange Shop, Thorntons, Republic, JD Sports, Mango, Tommy Hilfiger, Swatch, Lacoste, Armani XChange, Starbucks, Hugo Boss, Fragrance Shop, Costa and many others are a part of Selfridges side of the Bullring.
Besides that, a small tunnel offers a panoramic view of New Street Train Station and links the Pallasades shopping to the Debenhams side of the Bullring and also holds a even more shops. Is that overkill or is it handy? Shops such as TK Maxx, Supercuts, Shoezone, The Card Factory, Animal and Caffe Nero make just a few of the stores.
Toilets are also available. I believe there are 4 toilets located in the Bullring, 2 on the bottom floor, 1 on the middle and 1 on the top, with some having baby changing and disabled access available. They are always kept very clean and look posh. The sinks utilise a glass base and something resembling a shower tap, which I always get a kick out of.
You can imagine being hungry after going to shops such as the ones I just named. The 2 busiest restaurants are Pizza Hut and Nandos. Being right across each other really doesn't help when deciding to go to the other restaurant when you queue for one of them. A Greggs bakery is next to the Pizza Hut and a Burger King is right next to the Nandos. Unfortunately, these are also packed out. Far away from these 4 is the Pizza Express, Jamie's Italian, Wagamama, Del Villagio, Cafe Rouge, Baguette du Monde, Muffin Break, Druckers, Eat and a few others. Naturally, they are very expensive, but you can't argue the price over quality dining.
So how do you park in the Bullring? With so many shops in the Birmingham City Centre, there's bound to be a heck of a lot of car parks. The Edgbaston Street car park is opposite Debenhams and on top of the Bullring markets (the fish reeking building for the small businesses using stalls) and is reasonably priced. The Moor Street car park is opposite Selfridges and is very overpriced. However, if you park at the top floor, the grandest entrance to the Bullring is possible as a panoramic tunnel links the car park's roof with the top floor of Selfridges. It's not really worth losing a chunk of dough over and not for those claustrophobic, acrophobic people. Many smaller car parks are scattered around, but my personal favourite is the Moat Lane car park. It might be cramped, but their prices are fairly decent and parking is free for the disabled. Walking distance to the Bullring is barely 5 minutes, so its very practical. For those that live in the Birmingham area or not too far from it, you would know about 95% of buses go the Bullring, with the bus stops right outside the centre. For others, there's always the train. Many from the nearby cities Lichfield, Leicester, Walsall, Nottingham, Northampton and other cities use the train to stop at one of two stations. New Street Station will stop for you near the Debenhams-Pallasades tunnel, while Moor Street Station will take you right outside the Selfridges entrance. It does make it hard to move at times in the Bullring, with queues having to be made for escalators at times. However it does add to the grandeur-ness of the Bullring and seldom used lifts are always available.
There's no doubt in my mind. I genuinely believe Birmingham has something special with the Bullring. Seeing as the Bullring is just one part of the Birmingham City Centre, you barely scratch the surface visiting Birmingham. Broad Street and Hurst Street, famous for its clubs and restaurants is where the Birmingham nightlife is at. Corporation Street and New Street, as well as the Pavilions and Pallasades shopping centres have even more shops, such as Primark, Oasis, WHSmith, Bhs, Adidas and a range of others. You have to make a visit to Birmingham at least once. And if you do, you'll find not everyone speaks in that stereotypically nasally accent!
Summary: If you haven't visited, why not? You should definitely make a trip to the Bullring