Once upon a time
the Birmingham Bullring [map]
was mocked by tourists and locals alike but a huge redevelopment
(at a cost of more than £500m) has turned this area into a
“must see” for visitors.
This huge space is the size of more than 26 football pitches and
home to a plethora of cafes, shopping streets, and Mediterranean-style
The whole place is bright and funky and offers visitors the kind
of shopping experience that used to be reserved for American malls.
You’ll find everything you could possibly want here including
top designer names from the likes of Billabong, Molton Brown,
Miss Sixty, Mikey, The Bear Factory, H & M, Gap and Zara. You’ll
also find large department stores such as Debenhams and Selfridges
and a flagship Borders bookshop.
The story of The Bullring began in 1166 when Birmingham was awarded
a charter giving it the right to have its own market. By the 1950s
the old Bullring site was established as a popular place to shop
and tourists flocked to places like Chapmans and the original flagship
In the 1960s the market site became one of the country’s most
celebrated examples of revolutionary urban planning with the dramatic
development of the old Bullring, at the time one of the world’s
largest enclosed shopping centres outside America, and at the
forefront of shopping centre design. The three symbols of the era
were the circular Rotunda building, the swathe of ring roads encircling
the old market centre site, and at its heart the Bullring Shopping
Centre, which opened in May 1964.
By the 1980s, the old Bullring shopping centre was tired and jaded,
and the city had only one department store. The redevelopment of
the 40-acre Bullring site by The Birmingham Alliance is another
milestone in the city’s history of innovation.
The scheme has been cited as the catalyst for Birmingham’s
transformation into a world-class retail capital. Drawing
on Birmingham’s historic street patterns, Bullring is composed
of a series of traditional streets, squares and open spaces, which
once again link New Street and High Street to St Martin’s
Church, the open markets, Digbeth and beyond. Bullring provides
a gateway to the east side of the city where plans are in place
to regenerate the area and create a public park and learning quarter.
As part of the Bullring development existing landmarks such as the
Rotunda, the old Moor Street Station, and St Martins Church have
been cleaned and restored, and long lost historic Birmingham street
names, going back as far as the 18th century, have been reintroduced.