Home to beloved British exports, such as Cadburys and Peaky Blinders; Birmingham is a huge and interesting city. With one of the largest densities of universities and colleges in the country, there is a diverse and changing population of both students and residents that call this city home. Whether you’re heading to the Jewellery Quarter for a special reason or just looking for a museum to wander around in, Birmingham has got you covered.
Before visiting any town or city make sure you know the basics. General details and important information.
- Emergency Services: 999
- Language: English
- Currency: British Pound
- Country Code: GB
- Travel Visa: None required
- Population: 1.074 million
Researching various official sources, we perceive the risk to holiday makers and travellers are as follows;
Top travel advice and interesting tip bits of information from experienced travellers.
- Be alert at all times and be aware of your surroundings. Take the usual safety precautions so you do not become a targets for pickpockets. Don’t put your wallet or mobile phone in your back pocket. Put any valuables items in a dark colour shopping bag when going out to avoid attention.
- Avoid going off the beaten track. Do not take short cuts through unknown alleys and, if you're lost, try to find a populated main road as quickly as possible.
- Birmingham is the original home of the Balti. This dish was first served in the late 1970s and is now enjoyed by people of all backgrounds all over the UK. The Balti Triangle is a cross-section of Ladypool Road, Stoney Lane and Stratford Road on which the majority of Balti houses reside. It is the best place to get authentic Indian food, no visit to Birmingham is complete without stopping by. You will be totally spoiled for choice as there are simply too many restaurants to list.
For the Emergency services just dial 999 from any phone, for not so serious situations please dial 101.
Birmingham Visitor Centre – Birmingham Central Library: 0844 888 3883
New Street Visitor Centre: 0844 888 3883
Visitor Centre – Birmingham Airport: 0844 576 6000
With Birmingham being such a large city, it features tram and trainlines throughout to get you where you need to go. There are also bus services that cover most of the city. The majority of public transport has contactless payment options to make your journey as easy as possible. As well as all of these motorised options, there is an uptick in residents cycling around the city so there’s even an active option during your visit.
Birmingham Airport: 0871 222 0072 (Calls cost 13p per minute)
What’s the weather like?
Birmingham is located in the West-Midlands and is on relatively high ground. Therefore the clouds often seem low, making it chilly and windy most of the time. This also increases humidity around winter. It rains often, especially in January.
The average summer temperature is 17 °C whilst the average winter temperature is 4 °C.
For the most reasonable weather, visit in late spring and summer.
Dress and plan accordingly.
Where can I get my news from?
What are some safety top tips?
Birmingham has a high vehicle theft rate by comparison to other parts of the UK. Car thieves normally target expensive cars but this kind of crime is by nature opportunistic so if a car is easy to steal, it likely will be.
Park your car in well-lit areas and use a car park with CCTV. Don’t leave valuables on your car seat as it could attract criminals. Don’t leave you car unlocked and unattended. If your are concerned then purchase a steering lock- not only are they effective in immobilising the wheel but this creates a visual deterrent as a thief is more likely to move on to a less difficult car when seeing this addition.
Is Birmingham dangerous?
This is sort of a yes and no answer.
Birmingham’s highest recorded crimes are antisocial behaviours and violent crime, with violent crime being 40% higher than the national average.
However, when comparing Birmingham to other cities of similar size (for example, Manchester) the overall crime rate is much lower.
Birmingham is a large, densely populated city so there is more crime but also note that, for some reason, Birmingham tends to be painted with the DANGER brush more so than other large cities.
Your common sense will serve you best here: don’t go out alone, stay in well-lit/busy areas, don’t flash your cash, lock your doors and windows and always be aware of your surroundings.
Annual events allow a city come together for some amazing experiences. If visiting at this time, make sure you have your accommodation booked and are always aware of your surroundings when travelling around.
Birmingham’s Comedy Festival usually takes place in October and hosts a huge array of local talent with shows and events across the city. The Festival has grown into one of the largest independent arts festivals in the region. Alongside a vast range of new local acts, the festival has featured such A-list heavy-hitters as Peter Kay, John Bishop, Adam Hills, Miranda Hart, Sarah Millican and local lad Joe Lycett. As well as stand-up comedy, there’s a regular variety show of other entertainment to see: burlesque, improv, DJ sets, visual arts, debates, film screenings and-of course- the opportunity for a good drink.
Birmingham’s Cycle Show usually takes place in September and features all the leading bike companies plus new brands. You can often ride every type of bike at the show on four test tracks, watch the UK’s top trials and BMX riders in action, have a go at roller racing or practice your jump tricks on the Air Bag. You can also get advice and listen to interviews from leading experts. If you enjoy cycling be sure to visit if you’re around when the Show is on.
This 7 day Aerial & Physical Theatre Festival really is something that’s seen (and-if you’re brave- experienced) to be believed. The creators and performers of this event endeavour to not only entertain you but also deliver high quality teaching so you have more to take away than just photos. On their website you can book classes and fast passes for this summer. Whether you choose to participate or leave it to the professionals you will be dazzled by performances from both national and international circus artists.
This event declares itself ‘a world of performance, pop, politics and parties’- possibly the most eclectic festival you’ve heard of yet. Fierce combines entertainment and activism with its fiercely inclusive set of shows. They see their festival as a temporary community in which to test out performances and ideas. This is a celebration of theatre, art, music and literature and how they can be used as mediums for political and personal expression.
What are some fun days out in Birmingham?
Discover how your favourite confectionery is made with a trip to Cadbury World and uncover the fascinating story of Cadbury chocolate. You might even see a friendly Freddo Frog along the way! You’ll discover the origins of the cocoa bean amidst trees and waterfalls in the Aztec jungle, before jumping on-board the magical Cadabra ride and meeting the infamous Cadbury drumming gorilla! And fear not, no children will be placed in peril at the whim of the head chocolatier. Stock up on all of your favourite treats at the end of the day at the World’s Biggest Cadbury Shop!
Sea Life Birmingham is a must see! Walking along the only 360° degree ocean tunnel in the UK means you can be fully immersed in the environment! Your ticket may be a little pricey but its for a great cause. You will be helping fund the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of creatures that need it now, more than ever. See sea turtles, otters and every kind of tropical fish you can think of as you explore this extensive aquarium. There is no way you can leave that place without having enjoyed yourself!
What museums should I visit?
The Black Country Living Museum is an award winning open air living museum that tells the story of one of the world’s first industrial landscape. Over 50 authentic shops, houses and workshops have been carefully reconstructed to preserve the character of the region from when its manufacturers brought worldwide fame to Black Country Towns. Take a trip on the tram to explore the canal side village, where you can meet and chat to the costumed characters. Explore the underground mine and experience the authentic sights, sounds, smells and tastes from the past.
(Yes, it is where Peaky Blinders was filmed)
Thinktank redefines the concept of a science museum. Think of it more as a way to discover the world around you (and inside of you) and the life you lead. From steam engines to intestines, this exciting museum has over 200 hands-on displays on science and technology. Don’t forget about the digital Planetarium and outdoor Science Garden! It really has every different aspect of science covered from natural history to space to engineering and inventions. There’s activities for every age range and it’s a great place to take the kids for a day out.
What is Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter?
Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is a centre of excellent business, craftsmanship and history. English Heritage has declared it ‘a national treasure’ and it is the gem of Birmingham’s tourism sector. There are 800 businesses, 100 Specialist Retailers and 50 Contemporary Designer Makers ready to put a sparkle in your day. You don’t just have to go there to buy the perfect gift though! This quarter is studded with antique shops, bars, restaurants, art galleries and museums- a perfect set when exploring a city. Window shopping and relaxing is also acceptable.