The best way to explore Birmingham is on foot as the majority of the city centre is now pedestrianised and the canals, which have been cleaned up, make for attractive walkways. The most popular form of transport used in Birmingham and the West Midlands area are buses. There is no central bus station, but a bus stop can be found on almost every corner. Travel West Midlands is the main operator; with a single fare costing between £0.80 to £1.10 and a Daysaver ticket, allowing unlimited bus travel for one day, costing £3. An exact fare is required when boarding the bus, as drivers will not give change. Black cabs can be hailed in the street or reached at one of the many taxi ranks in the city centre, the main ones situated at New Street Station, Stephenson Street and Digbeth Coach Station. New Street and Moor Street train stations provide rail connections to destinations throughout the UK. For coach transfers to other major towns and cities, National Express is a good bet.
GMT (GMT +1 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in October).
The electrical current in the UK is 230 volts, 50Hz. Flat three-pin plugs are standard.
The currency is the British Pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks.
The international country dialling code for the UK is +44. Mobile phone coverage is extensive using GSM 1800 networks, which may not be compatible with some dual-band US cell phones. Internet cafes are available in all major towns and cities, train stations and airports.
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|Good Friday||18 Apr||3 Apr|
|Easter Monday||21 Apr||6 Apr|
|May Day||5 May||4 May|
|Spring Bank Holiday||26 May||25 May|
|Summer Bank Holiday||25 Aug||31 Aug|
|Christmas||25 Dec||25 Dec|
|Boxing Day||26 Dec||26 Dec|
Birmingham's weather is typically English, if slightly more temperate than the coast. Rainfall occurs all year round but is heavier in winter. Average maximum temperatures in summer (July) are around 68°F (20°C) and in winter (January) around 40°F (4°C). Due to its inland location snow does occur in the city centre during winter but has become less frequent over the past few years. Tornadoes occur intermittently, the most recent being in July 2005.
Buses to the city centre and surrounds can be caught opposite the airport at the Bus and Coach Terminus. Bus 900 travels to the city centre from stand K. Trains run from Birmingham International to Birmingham New Street Station and vice versa during the day but are less frequent in the evenings and on weekends.
Car rental companies include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and National. All car hire booking desks are located in the Millennium Link Building, a short walk from both Terminals 1 and 2.
Taxis are available from outside passenger terminals and cost around £18 to the city.
The two terminals are within easy walking distance of each other.
There are banks, bureaux de change, shops, restaurants, business lounges, baby changing facilities and a tourist information desk in the airport. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline in advance.
The airport's 'drop and go' area is adjacent to the departures terminal and costs £1 per ten minutes. Garages 1, 2 and 3 are best for short and medium-stay parking; they are located beside the terminal building and charges are £3.70 per hour or £27 per day. The long-stay parking garages are located next to the second roundabout along Airport Way, a ten-minute walk from the terminal. There are regular shuttle-buses between the long stay parking lots and the terminal. Long-stay parking is free for the first 15 minutes, £3.70 per hour, and then £32.50 for the first 48 hours.
Wifi internet access is available at Birmingham Airport for a rate of £5 per hour.