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England's second city, Birmingham, was founded in Anglo-Saxon times, and lies in the West Midlands. This region was one of the most important areas in the England during the Industrial Revolution – the steam engine was among the major developments pioneered here. Walk along the many canals and see memorials of this industrial heritage all around the city. Hire a car from Birmingham International Airport and head into Birmingham city centre for a shopping spree. The Bull Ring shopping centre is an exciting retail complex, while the city's New Street, and High Street offer some of the best selections of shops in the country.
In contrast to its industrial roots, Birmingham is one of Europe's greenest cities and is home to 571 parks, including Sutton Park which covers 2,400 acres. Meanwhile the more central Birmingham Botanical Gardens have been a part of the city for almost 200 years, and offer a selection of plants from all over the globe within their four glasshouses. Rent a car from Birmingham International Airport and take a trip to Drayton Manor Theme Park, for an exhilarating day of rides and attractions. The park is also home to over 100 animals in its zoo.