Birmingham, England, is much more than UK's industrial center. The city's pedestrian-friendly downtown is full of shopping, dining and historic attractions like the gothic St. Martin’s Church. Birmingham's waterways include more canals that Venice or Amsterdam, and canal tours are popular. But it is the rolling countryside surrounding Birmingham that truly inspires visitors. Dotted with quaint villages, historic homes and ancient castle ruins, the area was once home to both William Shakespeare and J.R.R. Tolkien. It's also where the world's largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold was unearthed, now on display with the rest of the region's rich history at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

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