Glynn Purnell. Photo: Rex
It might not be the first place that springs to mind when planning your holidays in 2012 but, if the New York Times is anything to go by, you don't want to miss out on a trip to Birmingham.
The paper placed Birmingham at number 19 - above Vienna and the Maldives - in its list of The 45 Places to Go in 2012 thanks to its burgeoning dining scene.
The tagline read: "Could England's second city be first in food?" and referred to the BBC's food magazine Olive declaring it the 'foodiest town' ahead of London and Edinburgh in October 2010.
A trio of exciting young chefs are heading up three Michelin-starred restaurants and building on the 'already rich dining scene' of the city's Balti Triangle.
These chefs are: Glynn Purnell of Purnell's; Andreas Antona, Luke Tipping and Adam Bennett of Simpsons Restaurant; and Richard Turner of Turners of Harborne.
According to the Independent, "smaller cafés, bistros and bustling farmers' markets" are also a source of local pride, while restaurants like Lasan, in the Jewellery Quarter, are 'proof of Birmingham's credentials".
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, told the BBC: "The rise in popularity of Birmingham as a leisure and tourist destination has been rapid.
"Birmingham's cultural, entertainment and gastronomic attractions do now indeed compete with the very best - it's official."
And it's not the only place in the UK to make an appearance in the top 20; London comes in at a very respectable fourth place, with the Olympics, Queen's Jubilee and Charles Dickens' 200th birthday all hailed as reasons to visit.
Glasgow pops up in 12th position with its new Riverside Museum making waves, and enhancing the "shiny new harbour and river promenade".
The places that made up the top five spots were:
2. Helsinki, Finland
5. Oakland, California
For the full list, click here.
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