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 fares, travelcards and Daysaver tickets available for unlimited travel for a day. 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 and wifi is widely available.
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|New Years Holiday (Scotland only)||2 Jan||2 Jan|
|St Patricks Day (Northern Ireland only)||17 Mar||17 Mar|
|Good Friday||3 Apr||25 Mar|
|Easter Monday||6 Apr||28 Mar|
|May Day||4 May||2 May|
|Spring Bank Holiday||25 May||30 May|
|Orangemens Day (Northern Ireland only)||12 Jul||12 Jul|
|Summer Bank Holiday||31 Aug||29 Aug|
|St Andrews Day (Scotland only)||30 Nov||30 Nov|
|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 temperatures in summer (June to August) range from 52°F (11°C) to 70°F (21°C) and in winter (December to February) from around 34°F (1°C) to 44°F (7°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.
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. Birmingham city centre can also be reached via Birmingham International railway station connected to the airport by a free monorail system called the Air-Rail Link. Trains run from Birmingham International Station to Birmingham New Street Station and vice versa throughout the day but are less frequent in the evenings and on weekends. For onward travel, Birmingham International Station is connected to over 100 towns in and around the UK.
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 £25-£30 to the city centre, taking about 15-20 minutes.
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 is charged per ten minutes. Garages 1, 2 and 3 are best for short and medium-stay parking; they are located beside the terminal building and charge per hour or 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.
Free wifi access is available throughout the airport.