Birmingham Airport is accessible from the north and south via Junction Six of the M42 motorway. From Birmingham city centre, the A45 runs directly to the airport. Birmingham's city centre is partially pedestrianised and has several unintuitive one-way systems.
A car is a viable way of getting around the city and other areas, but a good map or sat-nav is essential.
Parking attendants patrol popular areas regularly, so expect a fine if you return late or a clamp if you're parked illegally. Birmingham is well sign-posted and surrounded by motorways; the M42, the M5, and the M6 which includes the infamous Spaghetti Junction (Gravelly Hill Interchange). The M5 will take you to the south-west, either the M42 then M40 or the M6 then M1 will take you to London and the south-east. In the other direction the M1 will take you to Leeds and the north-east. The M6 will also take you towards the north-west, Manchester and Scotland, or, via the M54, to north Wales.
Britain's second biggest city after London is Birmingham. Birmingham is the cultural centre of the West Midlands and offers the casual visitor an enormous range of exciting opportunities and things to do. Offering an unsurpassed range of shops and shopping centres, and literally hundreds of activities and things to do, Birmingham is the ideal tourist destination; a city that is always guaranteed to keep you occupied.
As a city, Birmingham is packed with places to visit, enabling you to get a real taste of the citys culture. Just a few of the places include:
Birmingham Cathedral: Built in 1725, this is one of the citys most beautiful historic buildings, complete with four Pre-Raphaelite stained-glass windows.
The Royal Air Force Museum: Treat yourself to a stunning display of aviation history and witness over seventy aircraft situated within three separate wartime hangars. Youll see Spitfires, Hurricanes, Vulcans and more.
Cadburys World: One of the country's biggest and most popular museums. You'll find out about the history of chocolate, and how it originated in South America, as well as seeing a genuine production line. Of course, a visit isn't complete without sampling the produce
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery: Witness a huge variety of exhibits that range from spooky Egyptian mummies to a wooden toy collection for the kids. Treat yourself to some culture and examine the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens: An astonishing fifteen acres of beautiful gardens are available for exploration, as well as four glasshouses containing exotic plants.
When it comes to finding something to do, you'll find that Birmingham has it covered. Some ideal places for pursuits include:
The Ackers: If your family's into sport, then enjoy taking part in a variety of activities including climbing, canoeing, skiing, snowboarding and more. Occupying over seventy acres and located just two miles from the city centre, The Ackers couldn't be more convenient.
Second City Canal Cruises: Enjoy cruising down the Birmingham canals and buy gifts from the souvenir shop.
The National Sea Life Centre: Witness over sixty displays of exotic marine life, and find yourself enthralled by the undersea world. See giant turtles, reef fish and sharks too.
Newbrook Farm Experience: Visit a working farm and keep an eye out for the many rare breeds of animals that include cattle, hens, pigs, ponies and goats.
Woodgate Valley Country Park: The perfect place for walkers, with mile upon mile of tracks to explore. There's something for the kids too, with a farm, play area and a fun pony-trekking centre.
If you're feeling hungry after touring Birmingham, you'll discover that Birmingham is renowned for its culinary diversity meaning that you'll find the right meal, no matter what variety of food you're looking for. Within the city, home-cooked traditional British food goes hand-in-hand with exotic cuisine from India and China, and all of Birmingham's eateries are in easily accessible locations. Whichever end of the scale interests you whether it is a simple takeaway or a slap-up three-course meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant Birmingham has it covered. Here's a small selection of the city's eating-places:
City Caf Birmingham: Service, style and ambience are on the menu at this top-rated restaurant that offers a-la-carte menus, a famous Sunday lunch buffer and a vegetarian garden. Enjoy a live Jazz band every Thursday evening.
Metro Bar & Grill: Free-range meats are the order of the day here, along with a comprehensive fish board that changes daily. Metro also serves a range of sandwiches and simple snack foods if you're looking for something quick.
Peppers: Birmingham's top-rated Indian restaurant has every kind of Indian dish imaginable, and you'll be spoilt for choice when you see the menu. The restaurants ethos is value for money.
San Carlo Ristorante: Authentic Italian food is what this restaurant offers, with many of the ingredients imported directly from Italy. The chefs and the management bring real individuality to the menu.
Opus Restaurant: Seasonal and regional are the keywords for this eatery's menu, which offers genuine British meals with the ingredients locally sourced.
When it comes to finding somewhere to stay in Birmingham, the only problem you'll experience with Birmingham is the amount of options available so many, in fact, that you'll be spoilt for choice! Short breaks and long stays are catered for in hotels and guest houses in the city centre or on the outskirts. Further, the prices range from the immediately affordable to more expensive and luxurious rooms. If you're looking for an alternative, then you'll find that Birmingham has plenty of options ranging from campsites to self-catering accommodation. There are also special packages available, such as the spa break, where you'll find yourself pampered into luxury.
When you've finished exploring Birmingham by day, you'll discover that the city comes alive at night with some of the coolest pubs and night clubs around. Whether you're looking for a relaxing sit down and drink, or want to party away the small hours, you'll doubtlessly discover the ideal venue. The Nightingale Club, located in the heart of the city centre, has three levels incorporating numerous bars, discos, a restaurant and a games room. Meanwhile, The Jam House is a night club supported by music maestro Jools Holland, and holds up to 600 people. Alternatively, Ricks Garden Cafe & Bar in Birmingham offers you the opportunity to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine under the stars.
The above information should give you some idea of just what Birmingham has to offer as a city. There's something to keep you occupied whatever your interest, with a whole range of different cultural activities.
If you're traditional, you'll enjoy visiting the city's many museums and art galleries, and learning about Birmingham's history. If you're part of a family, you'll discover attractions that have proved to be popular with thousands of children while in Birmingham. Eating, shopping, seeing and doing all four bases are covered when you come to Birmingham.