What You Need To Know
Birmingham is a major city in England’s West Midlands region, with multiple Industrial Revolution-era landmarks that speak to its history as a manufacturing powerhouse. It’s also home to an extensive network of canals, many of which radiate from Sherborne Wharf and are lined with trendy cafes and bars. In the city centre, the Victorian Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is known for pre-Raphaelite masterpieces.
Area: 267.8 km²
Population: 1.101 million (2014)
- The UK is one of the few countries within the EU to have retained its currency, thepound sterling (£). Pound notes come in denominations of£5,£10,£20 and£50.
- You can exchange money for sterling at Birmingham International Airport, where there are banks and exchange bureaus, and at banks in the city and at some hotels. Note that hotels always have the worst rates while the airport exchange services are hard to beat for their good exchange rates and convenience.
- Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted credit cards in the UK while American Express and Diners Club are also recognised at larger stores and hotels.’Chip and PIN’ credit cards are in use all over the UK now, whereby the card holder inputs their PIN number into a handheld machine when prompted as opposed to signing a receipt.
Birmingham, England has a marine west coast climate that is mild with no dry season, warm summers. Heavy precipitation occurs during mild winters which are dominated by mid-latitude cyclones. Seasonality is moderate
It found a mixture of languages are spoken in the city, with 14,636 pupils speaking English, 3,501 Urdu, 3,350 Punjabi, 1,600 Bengali and 1,164 Somali. It also revealed Birmingham is one of the most youthful cities in the country
- Train: Eight local rail lines criss-cross the city to ensure quick links to all attractions and venues (as well as connecting to services to other UK cities and towns).Midland Metro is the latest addition. This state-of-the-art light rail system whisks passengers between Snow Hill Station in Birmingham city centre and Wolverhampton.
- Bus and Metro: Network West Midlands has all the online timetables and fare information you need with easy ticket buying and route planning. Alternatively call 0871 200 22 33 for timetable information (Calls from landlines cast 10p per minute) or visit Centro’s many information points around the city.More and more local buses have facilities such as low floors for easy access for wheelchair users and pushchairs. Birmingham buses can’t be hailed to be stopped; passengers wishing to board or leave a bus, should do so at an official bus stop.
- Taxi: Birmingham’s well-regulated taxis are especially convenient for those with heavy luggage or returning late from a night out. TOA taxis are Birmingham’s black cab operators. They can be hailed in the street or reached at one of the many taxi ranks in the city centre; the main ones are at New Street Station, Stephenson Street and Digbeth Coach Station.
Eating and Drinking
- Birmingham’s food scene is red hot – in more ways than one. The famous ‘Balti Triangle’ is home to some of Britain’s best spicy Indian curries, and you can sample even more fiery favourites at Lasan, named Best Local Restaurant on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word programme.
- If fine dining is more your kind of thing, reserve a table at one of the city’s four Michelin-starred restaurants; Purnell’s, Simpsons, Turners and Adam’s.
Things To note
- When you phone for a taxi, always ask roughly how much your fares going to cost, otherwise you may get ripped off or have the taxi drivers robbing you of some of your money.
- Most of the public transport runs an exact change policy on the buses so always make sure you have plenty of loose coins for the bus journeys.
- Broad street (not so-called because of the number of broads who inhabit the place), is a pounding, throbbing world of loud bars and even louder clubs. With frontages flung open on any night when the temperature gets above freezing, it is not exactly a tranquil spot.
- Do not flash your cameras or Camcorders in certain locations as it will attract undesirables but if you need reassurance pop into a local police station or ask any police officer they will kindly give you any crime prevention advice.
Birmingham is well known for its extensive canal network which provides traffic free routes through many parts of the city. There are five major, and many minor, canals meeting within the city. They developed in different ways, only becoming a single system on nationalisation in 1948. The canals are a great asset to Birmingham and provide a way to escape rush hour traffic or a place for a leisurely walk.