Before jetting off to Paris, Madrid or Rome, American holidaymakers should consider a trip to Birmingham, according to a new list of places to visit in 2012.
The New York Times` "45 Places to Go in 2012", published recently, finds room for England's much maligned second city at number 19, ahead of the likes of Vienna, Jordan, Dubrovnik and Antarctica, while the Italian, Spanish and French capitals missed out entirely.
Birmingham made the list after it was named Britain's "foodiest town" by Olive, BBC's food magazine, in October. The New York Times highlights four restaurants run by local chefs: Lasan, Opus, Edmunds and Loves, as well as three Michelin-starred establishments: Purnell's, Simpsons and Turners of Harborne. It also mentions Birmingham's famous Balti Triangle, and its no-nonsense culinary heritage – the city is the birthplace of Typhoo Tea, Bird's Custard and HP Sauce.
Birmingham among 'top places to go in 2012'
Panama topped the New York Times list. The country is recommended for its raucous nightlife, good snorkelling and trendy, up-and-coming capital city.
Helsinki, designated the World Design Capital for 2012 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, and Myanmar, now back on travellers' itineraries after Aung San Suu Kyi withdrew her opposition to independent tourism last year, completed the top three. Sevilla
Neil Rami, Chief Executive of Marketing Birmingham, which manages Birmingham Food Fest – noted in The New York Times listing - said:
"Birmingham has worked hard to improve its reputation as a visitor destination in recent years by showcasing amongst other attributes, our fantastic and diverse foodie offer.
"Our Michelin star chefs and fine dining restaurant scene have catapulted the city into the culinary spotlight."
Other British destinations to feature were London, at number four, Glasgow, at number 12, and Wales, at 31.
London is recommended for its public spaces, shopping centres and Georgian architecture. Visitors to the capital should head to the recently-renovated Charles Dickens Museum, take the Warner Brothers Studio Tour (on the edge of Watford), and stay at the Waldorf Astoria, according to the New York Times.
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