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Birmingham

Photo © Midworlder

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom England West Midlands Birmingham

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Introduction

Birmingham Wheel

Birmingham Wheel

© All Rights Reserved carosterns

Birmingham certainly isn't everyone's first choice as a tourist destination, and to an outsider it's easy to see why - a sprawling conurbation with a concrete centre. Diverse, lively and friendly, Brummies are proudly defensive of their city, and there are some nice patches, particularly away from the obvious centre.

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Sights and Activities

  • Aston Hall
  • Barber Institute of Fine Arts
  • Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
  • Royal Birmingham Society of Artists
  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses
  • Birmingham Cathedral

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Weather

Like much of England, Birmingham has cool summers and mild winters, typical of a maritime climate. Rain is possible year round and the driest time is spring.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max6 °C6.2 °C8.9 °C11.9 °C15.3 °C18.8 °C20.6 °C20.1 °C17.6 °C13.8 °C9.2 °C7.1 °C
Avg Min0.3 °C0.1 °C1.5 °C3.3 °C6 °C9.2 °C11.1 °C10.8 °C8.8 °C6.2 °C2.9 °C1.3 °C
Rainfall56 mm48 mm52 mm48 mm55 mm57 mm47 mm67 mm54 mm53 mm59 mm66 mm
Rain Days16.712.815.914.115.212.611.713.512.413.415.515.7

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Getting There

By Plane

Birmingham International Airport (BHX) is located about 6 miles (10 kilometres) southeast of Birmingham and, after several airports in London and Manchester Airport, is one of the busiest airports in the UK.

To/from the airport

  • Rail: Birmingham International station is on the West Coast Main Line between Birmingham and London. London Midland and Virgin Trains operate from Birmingham New Street station to Birmingham International station approximately every ten minutes, with a journey time of around ten minutes. There are up to two services per hour to and from London Euston, the journey time being around 70 minutes.
  • Bus: National Express West Midlands has many buses calling at Birmingham Airport, with the main ones being the 900 to Birmingham city centre and Coventry, and the 966 to Erdington and Solihull. Other smaller operators also call at the airport. Bus stops are situated outside Terminal One. National Express Coaches operate various long distance coaches calling at Birmingham Airport on the way to or from Birmingham Coach Station, such as the 777 and the 422.
  • Car: Birmingham Airport is accessible from the north and south via Junction Six of the M42 motorway. From Birmingham city centre, the A45 runs directly to the airport. Taxis and rental cars are widely available at the airport.

By Train

All areas of Britain are well-served, with half-hourly services (M-Sa daytime) from Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield and stations in between.

By Car

Birmingham is well sign-posted and surrounded by motorways; the M42, the M5, and the M6 which includes the infamous Spaghetti Junction (Gravelly Hill Interchange).

By Bus

There are half-hourly (or more frequent) services from London, and services from most major cities (including Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Oxford and Sheffield) every two hours.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Bus, Train and Metro all come under the authority of Network West Midlands (Part of Centro, the PTE of Birmingham and surrounding area), their website is the best source for all information required on public transport in the region.

By Foot

Birmingham's City Centre is partially pedestrianised, and most things to see and do can be reached on foot.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
The Apollo HotelHagley Road EdgbastonHotel73
Bailey Hotel21 Sandon Road EdgbastonHotel69
Birmingham Central Backpackers58 Coventry Street DigbethHostel75
Central Guest House1637 Coventry Road YardleyGuesthouse78
Fountain Court Hotel339/343 Hagley Road EdgbastonHotel-
Hatters Birmingham92-95 Livery Street Jewellery QuarterHostel77
Park Hotel131 Aldridge RoadHostel-
Prince Hotel4 Stanmore RoadHotel72
Quality Hotel DudleyBirmingham Road DudleyHotel-
Brighton Arms HotelLadypool Road Balsall HeathHotel72
Shanahan's127-129 Rocky Lane BirminghamGuesthouse74
Yardley Guesthouse330 Church Road YardleyGuesthouse-
Sheriden House Hotel82 Handsworth Wood Road Handsworth Wood RoadHostel74
Campanile BirminghamChester Street AstonHotel-
Comfort Inn BirminghamStation StreetHotel-
Birmingham Best Inn16-26 Wolverhampton RoadHOTEL-
Achill Guest House35 Hampton Rd, Knowle SolihullGUESTHOUSE-
The Clarion Collection Hotel in Birmingham263 Hagley RoadHotel-
Clover Hotel775 Chester Rd ErdingtonHotel-
Harborne Hall HotelOld Church Road HarborneHOTEL-
Holiday Inn Express Redditch2 Hewell Road, Enfield.RedditchGUESTHOUSE-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.

Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.

Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.

Post

The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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County
West Midlands
Post Code
B
Dial Code
0121
Coordinates
  • Latitude: 52.483003
  • Longitude: -1.89356

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This is version 18. Last edited at 8:04 on Aug 27, 13 by Utrecht. 83 articles link to this page.

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