Cheap flights to Birmingham are available from Gatwick Airport in London and some other regional airports. Flights to Birmingham will arrive at Birmingham Airport. Black cabs are available from the taxi ranks just outside the arrivals area. Train services to Birmingham city centre are available from Birmingham International Railway Station nearby. Tickets can be purchased through the Birmingham Airport website. The railway station can be reached via free AirRail Link services. National Express operates the number 900 bus service to Birmingham city centre. Bus tickets can also be purchased through the Birmingham Airport website.
Black cabs – like those used in London – can also be flagged down in Birmingham. Other types of minicabs will have to be booked in advance as they cannot be hired in the street. National Express West Midlands operates most of the bus services around Birmingham city centre and surrounding suburbs. Bus tickets can be purchased from the bus driver – have the exact amount ready beforehand as no change will be given. DaySaver tickets are valid for one day of unlimited bus travel and can be purchased from TravelShops. The Midland Metro operates light rail services in Birmingham and to the nearby city of Wolverhampton. London Midland operates an extensive network of train services throughout Birmingham and around the West Midlands. Metro/Bus and n-Network Daytripper tickets are valid for one day of unlimited travel on bus, train and Metro services.
Cadbury World is the real-life version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, set in the picturesque model village of Bourneville. Visitors can explore fourteen different zones and discover the company’s history as well as learning about the process of chocolate-making. The National Sea Life Centre lets visitors come face to face with an assortment of sea creatures including sea horses, rays and piranhas. The Chinese Quarter is home to a cluster of shops and restaurants housed in Chinese-styled buildings, as well as an imposing granite pagoda. Birmingham Hippodrome is the seat of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, but has also hosted many operas, pantomimes and plays. Drayton Manor is a family-friendly theme park with a zoo, several thrill rides and a ‘Thomas Land’ section featuring models of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends.
The futuristic bulk of Selfridges stands over St. Martin’s Square in the revamped Bullring Shopping Centre. There are a number of smaller shopping centres and many high street stores in the area surrounding the Bullring. The Bullring Indoor Markets stocks a large choice of items, from food and clothes to stationery and household goods. The Farmer’s Market on New Street is open on the first and third Wednesday of every month, and sells a variety of meats, preserves, cheese and other edible items. Travel back in time for tea at the Edwardian Tea Rooms in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for salads, hot meals and cream teas. The Art Deco Electric Cinema is the oldest cinema still in operation in the UK today, and still screens many mainstream and independent films. Enjoy jazz and blues performances – as well as tasty food – at Jam House in the Jewellery Quarter.