Birmingham Bristol Train
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The city of Birmingham, which is located in the West Midlands in England and is the most populous city in Britain outside London. The city is a major international commercial centre and as a result it has excellent transport, retail, events and conference facilities. The city has six universities which makes it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London.
Birmingham's architecture is largely a product of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries having only really developed as a city as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Evidence of Birmingham's medieval history can be seen in its oldest churches, particularly the original parish church of St Martin in the Bull Ring, and two public houses - the Lad in the Lane and The Old Crown.
Birmingham's universities are: Aston University, University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University College Birmingham, Newman University and a campus of the University of Law and BPP University. The city is also home to the regional base of the Open University.
The city has three main line railway stations: Birmingham New Street, Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham Snow Hill. Between them they offer passengers many direct services across the United Kingdom. Curzon Street railway station is planned to be the northern terminus for phase 1 of the High Speed 2 rail link from London which is due to open in 2026.
The city of Bristol, which borders the counties of Gloucestershire and Somerset, has always prospered due to its ties to the sea. The city's commercial Port of Bristol was originally located on the heart of the city but was moved to Avonmouth on the Severn Estuary. Royal Portbury Dock lies to the west of the city. Additionally, Bristol has a long history as a centre of culture and as such is the largest cultural centre in the region. In recent years the city's economy has increasingly depended on the creative media, electronics and aerospace industry. The site of the former docks in the city centre have been regenerated as a centre of heritage and culture. The city's principal theatre company, the Bristol Old Vic, was founded in 1946 as an offshoot of The Old Vic company in London. Its premises on King Street consist of the 1766 Theatre Royal which has 607 seats, a modern studio theatre called the New Vic which has 150 seats, and foyer and bar areas in the adjacent Coopers' Hall (built 1743).
Bristol is located in an area of limestone which runs from the Mendip Hill to the south to the Cotswolds to the north east. The River Avon flows from nearby Bath and created a gorge, the Avon Gorge, which helped to protect Bristol Harbour.