Birmingham, England

Guide for the rail traveller

Information

CurrencyPound Sterling
Local languageEnglish
Country England

Introduction

Lying in the very heart of England, Birmingham is the gateway between the north and the south and the second largest city in Britain after London. It was once the industrial heartland of the country but has recently seen an influx of new investment which has brought a breath of fresh air to the city. The centre has been transformed into a lively, bustling and often stylish place to be after years of living with a drab and dirty image.

Now a bustling business and major shopping centre, Birmingham has attracted a new wave of entrepreneurs over recent years. It is also one of England's most varied cities with influences apparent from all over the world. Birmingham New Street station remains one of the busiest in the country and is the gateway for visitors who want to experience the cosmopoliton city of Birmingham.

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Things to do

One of the enduring images associated with Birmingham and more specically with the Bournville and Cadbury villages is the British chocolate industry. Cadbury World charts the history of Britain's most famous choclatier from his origins in the nineteenth century to his enduring empire today.

The National Sea Life Centre in the heart of the city was built in the last ten years and provides an amazing display of over 3000 aquatic creatures as well as the world's first 360 degree transparent tunnel. Move on to Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter for ideas for gifts or just to marvel at the skills on display. In this small area over one third of the Britain’s jewellery is crafted by hundreds of small jewellers.

Whilst in Birmingham, make sure you investigate what is currently on at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC). This is Britain’s biggest collection of exhibition halls and hosts many of the largest shows in Europe. The world class City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Royal Ballet also find their homes in Birmingham and are certainly worth visiting. If it is the night life that you are visiting for, you can begin at the fabulous City's Alexandra Theatre, or enjoy modern-day drama at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. However, it is along the stretch of Broad Street that the real night life begins with pub after bar after disco bringing you true ‘Brummy’ entertainment until the early hours.


Local transport

Public transportation in and around the city is primarily by bus. Some suburbs are served by rail links, but these are the exception rather than the rule.

There are many special travel cards available for the local bus network, however most will require you to have a passport size photograph with you so be prepared! There is a Centro travel center on the main forecourt of New Street Station where you can obtain the latest information on local transport.

For detailed information on local public transport services contact Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 when you reach the UK.

Day Trips

The Black Country Museum is an ideal trip to make with a family. Here the history of the local area is really brought to life through the apparent ressurection of an amazingly realistic example of a town as experienced in the industrial revolution. See how candles used to be made or visit the local baker for some freshly made traditional bread!

For a trip with a little more pomp and circumstance, try the nearby town of Stratford. This is not only the birthplace of arguably the best writer of all time, Shakespeare, it is also just 15km from Warwick Castle with all the history associated with its 1,000 year life.

Recommended places and events to visit in Birmingham

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