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The story of Piccadilly Arcade

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You’ve probably walked through on your morning commute. Maybe even popped in to grab a last minute birthday present for someone. But, have you ever stopped to take in the unique architecture and beautiful interior of Piccadilly Arcade? The shopping arcade in the heart of Birmingham city centre, with and abundance of history, dating back to pre-wartime Britain.

piccadilly arcade birminghamBuilt in 1910, Piccadilly Arcade was originally built to home a cinema, and after a planning application was submitted in February 1910, ‘The Picture House, New Street’ was opened by Lady Noreen Bass later that very same year, on 20 October. When it initially opened, The Picture House, was an incredibly exclusive destination, with a décor to rival even the most expensive hotels. The auditorium was very grand itself, and comprised of a staggering 600 seats and 150 in the stalls, a large cinema for the time.

piccadilly arcade ceilingDespite its growth over the years, with new screens being added, in 1926 the cinema closed, and Piccadilly Arcade was born. With the Arcade came the beautiful ceiling mural. The arcade wanted to position itself as a shopping destination, and the mural is focused around the theme of time, which reflects the passage of time lost viewing the beautiful ceiling artwork. The mural evolved through many different ideas, but the final piece revolved around a year of a life. The shops you now see are still in the original building, under the original artwork, created all those years ago, but are now filled with a vast variety of shops, all offering something unique. So, next time you’re visiting, why not stop and take in the pure splendour of this unique shopping arcade!


Summer Scorchers In Birmingham

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We’re set for another scorching summer, and the heatwave is getting us in the mood to be outdoors enjoying the sunshine.

Birmingham is competing with London for fun activities, and just like the capital, there’s loads of fun events you can enjoy in the city. So here’s our top things to do in and around Birmingham this summer!

  1. Enjoy some live music at a festival

It’s everyone’s guilty pleasure during the summer – a music festival! You’ve heard of all the big ones, Glastonbury, Bestival, Reading & Leeds, but did you know that most weeks in the summer there are smaller regional ones. Moseley Folk & Arts Festival is the perfect weekend activity, with loads going on and some excellent headliners.

  1. Visit the beach

We might not live near the coastlines of Cornwall, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the fun that comes with a trip to the beach. Visit Bosworth Water Park to enjoy all the fun beach activities, just 30 miles from the centre of Birmingham.

  1. Outdoor cinema

We all know the feeling, you want a relaxed evening watching a film, but the weather has reached sub-tropical temperatures outside. Warm evenings are a rarity in Britain, so make the most of them by heading to the cinema – outdoors. Throughout August, Summer Screens are showing some epic classics in Birmingham’s beautiful Botanical Gardens.

  1. Go for a swim outdoors

Finally, lidos are a dying trend in the UK and with limited sunshine, it’s not a surprise. However, on the off chance that we do get a hint of sunshine, outdoor swimming pools are an excellent place to unwind and enjoy a swim! Droitwich Spa Lido is a mere 20 miles from Birmingham and is the perfect place to go with friends and family.

Our retailers love Birmingham as much as we do, and some have also shared their favourite things to do during the summer months.

The team at Shepherd’s can offer more than just the perfect summer haircut, but also the perfect summer activity: “During the summer we really look forward to Colmore Food Festival, it displays the best of the culinary offer in Birmingham and brings a great footfall to the city centre.” Although Colmore Food Festival has been and gone in 2019, there are plenty more food shows to enjoy. Most popular of them all is Digbeth Dining Club, you can come along and enjoy Birmingham’s best street food every weekend.

Similarly, our unique gift shop, Smithsonia, also love this vibrant city in the summer. “My favourite thing to do is find a unique little restaurant and just sit out and enjoy the sunshine whilst eating and drinking.”

So, if you’re visiting Birmingham this summer, get to know our retailers better by visiting Piccadilly Arcade and take advantage of some of the amazing products and services on offer in our unique shopping centre.

piccadilly arcade

Ten ways to say ‘I Love You’

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This month, we celebrate some of the best Valentines gifts that the arcade has to offer. Here are ten ways to say ‘Je t’aime’ (without actually having to say anything).

Antique Jewellery & Watches.

Piccadilly Jewellers have been one of the arcade's longest-standing residents, taking you back to a place in time when jewellery was precious, romance was alive, and nobody said 'I love you' with an emoji.

While You Wait

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Seasoned tailor Syed Hashemi has decided to renovate a larger premises within the arcade. To celebrate this, (and the fact that now he can turn any garment around within two hours), we thought it would be a good idea to list the things you may do in the arcade while you wait.

1. Get A Manicure.

The beauty therapists at award-winning Marco Benito, are quite aware of the influence our hands can play in day-to-day interactions. They say: “Your hands are your business card. We see them as much as your face, so being comfortable with them makes you more confident.” And we agree. While you’re waiting for the alterations on your garments, get your hands looking in top shape!

2. Groom Your Face.

Shepherds, the dapper British men’s salon by David Sturgeon is bringing class back to men’s grooming. Book in, read a hardback book, browse their incredible selection of men’s grooming products and get that neat, modern haircut. Not sure how to maintain your beard? Ask David’s advice. He’s got a CV that most barbers would kill for, and plenty of experience when it comes to looking after the hair on your head (and the hair on your face).

3. Eat & Caffeinate.

What? You’ve never been to Faculty? Well you’re in for a treat. Not only is the arcade’s home of beautiful beans, funky furniture and solid service, it’s also open-planned with sixteen bakery, the arcade’s supplier of exquisite, in-house baked cakes and sandwiches. Careful though. Your garments may have a little trouble fitting you after a latte, a sandwich and a lemon tart.

4. Feel like Michael Caine (Or Jude Law).

Anyone who loves someone (or likes to score a few brownie-points here and there) will know that few things in life say ‘You’re special’ like a bunch of flowers. Not the ‘off a barrow’ type either. You need a bouquet. We’ve all seen that scene in Alfie, when the florist deftly picks out the perfect combination of flowers based on the character traits of his latest muse. At Petals of Piccadilly you can recreate that scene for yourself. I’ve done it. It’s seriously fun!

5. Give.

Science has taught us that giving to others can actually make us happier than spending that same amount of money on yourself, and Smithsonia was founded on that same principle. Gifting makes everyone happier and makes the world a better place. All the gifts at Smithsonia are individual, high-quality and packed with the love and care that you would expect from one of Birmingham’s favourite independents.

Now hurry up – Your jacket’s ready for collection!