Second city with first-class attractions
Increasingly recognised as the UK's second city, Birmingham is a busy metropolis visited by numerous travellers from home and abroad. Leading theatres and diverse music venues are among its many cultural attractions. It also has many leading shopping centres, including the Bullring, and a wide choice of markets, cafes and nightspots.
Choosing when to visit
Temperatures in the West Midlands tend to be mild throughout the year, making Birmingham a popular destination even in winter. However, summer visitors arriving between June and August will probably enjoy the best weather.
Major events in the city's calendar range from St. Patrick's Day parade in March to Sikh New Year during April and Birmingham Pride in May. Summer festivals include the international celebration of jazz in July and Fusion in August, while Birmingham International Carnival is staged every second year. Popular places to visit include the Jewellery quarter and Chinese quarter.
Pointers for your stay
When shopping in Birmingham, prices of items such as transport and groceries are usually lower than those in London. The average cost of a simple restaurant meal is about £10.
The city is well-known for its Balti curries. To sample these dishes, choose a restaurant in Moseley, Sparkill or Balsall Heath, which make up the "Balti Triangle".
Accommodation and travel options
Most of Birmingham's hotels are in the central area, to the east of Ladywood, while Broad Street and Hagley Road are other popular areas for visitor accommodation. The price of a night in a hotel starts at ca. £35 for a double room, while staying in a hostel could cost from around £14 per night in a shared room.
The best way to see much of the city is by walking, with many pedestrianised streets. Travelling by bus costs about £2.20 for a single ticket, or around £4.20 for a day pass, while tram prices are about £2 for a one-way journey on a single line or about £4.50 to travel all day. Single train fares range from about £2 to £5.
If you fly into Birmingham Airport, there is a free train link from the terminals to Birmingham International Rail Station, taking about 2 minutes. Train journeys to New Street Station cost about £3 and take from 10 to 20 minutes. Alternative options include buses or taxis.