Birmingham Airport Car Hire
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Birmingham Airport (also sometimes referred to as Birmingham International Airport or BHX) is Britain’s seventh-busiest and processes 12.64 million passengers annually – you’ll find it 13km southeast or the centre of Birmingham city in the borough of Solihull, just north of Bickenhill.
BHX connects Britain’s second city Birmingham and the rest of the Midlands to a range of domestic destinations, Europe, India, the Middle East, the Caribbean and North America, through partner airlines and package holiday firms like TUI Airways, Jet2.com and Ryanair, amongst many others.
Birmingham Airport brings business and pleasure passengers into this eclectic area of England from as far afield as Alicante, Budapest, Agadir and Punta Cana – and no matter where you’re arriving from, there’s plenty to explore once you get there.
Birmingham has a proud industrial heritage and a modern multicultural population which ensures that it’s always an amazing place to visit, and music fans will know that it’s spawned bands as diverse as heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath, Duran Duran, The Moody Blues, UB40 and The Streets. And if you’re not bopping to local bands like these while you’re in town, you’ll probably be enjoying a spot of retail therapy at the massive Bull Ring shopping centre or learning the secrets of chocolate making at Cadbury World.
Hire a car here and you can also roll out of the city for day trips to attractions like Ironbridge Gorge, The Cotswolds, The Peak District, Alton Towers theme park and Stratford-upon-Avon, home town of a certain William Shakespeare.
Car hire firms operating out of BHX include trusted operators like Europcar, Keddy, Easirent and Green Motion – and depending on your requirements, you can hit the road in anything from a Fiat 500 to a Mercedes E-Class.
Located more or less bang in the middle of Britain, Birmingham is a great place to explore almost any area of England, but it’s particularly suited to trips to Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and even Liverpool and Manchester.
With Enjoy, Birmingham is a brilliant springboard for your British adventure.
Driving In And Around Birmingham Airport
If traffic is light, you can reach Birmingham city centre from BHX in around 25 minutes via the M6 and A38(M) but there’s more information on driving to and from the airport on the official website.
Birmingham (or Brum as it’s known to locals) is centrally located in terms of the entirety of England and you can be in London in around 2 and a half hours in good traffic, while Scotland is a little further but still manageable ̶ you can reach Edinburgh in around 5 hours.
Birmingham’s a big city with lots of different roundabouts and interchanges, so use your Satnav if your hire vehicle is fitted with one and keep an eye on the latest traffic and travel news on the Birmingham Mail website.
The most famous landmark in Birmingham is arguably the serpentine junction 6 of the M6/A38(M) Aston Expressway, better known throughout Britain and beyond as Spaghetti Junction. At the time it opened in 1972 it was the world’s most complex multi-level junction and it’s still Britain’s most convoluted. It links central Birmingham with motorways from the south, east, north, and west, as well as spanning two rivers, three canals and a major railway line. Don’t worry too much if you have to tackle Spaghetti junction’s tangled web when you hit the road here because it’s easier to navigate than you might anticipate if you plan ahead, take your time and observe the signage. However, it’s often very congested so be prepared for a long wait.
Like many other big British cities, there’s a speed limit of 32 km/h in several central Birmingham areas, but the regular speed limits are 48 km/h in built-up areas, 96 km/h for single carriageways, 112 km/h for dual carriageways and 112 km/h when you’re on the motorway.
As part of the Brum Breathes initiative, a Clean Air Zone will apply in Birmingham from 2021, which means that you’ll be charged a daily fee if your car doesn’t comply with strict environmental guidelines. You can check compliance with your car hire provider, but most hire fleet vehicles are reasonably new, therefore the chances are that most of the makes and models you can choose from will be environmentally friendly as standard.
Good general advice on driving in Birmingham and elsewhere in the UK includes always driving on the left of the road, always wearing a seatbelt, and always observing the speed limit, but here are a few extra tips that might prove useful:
- Always carry your passport or photo ID card on the road with you, as well as the vehicle documentation and a valid driver’s licence. At the moment, all driver’s licenses from EEA nations are recognised in the UK and you can check here if your license is valid if it originates from outwith this area.
- Wearing seatbelts is mandatory for passengers as well as drivers and children should either use car seats or another type of approved system appropriate for their weight and age.
- Most car hire agreements you’ll find through Enjoy include third party insurance but please confirm this with the operator because you must have insurance to drive on any UK road.
- As you’d expect, drink driving is heavily penalised in Birmingham, throughout England and Wales, and across the UK as a whole. The blood alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 80 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, but because alcohol effects everyone slightly differently, the best advice is not to drink at all if you’re driving in the UK. The fine for being caught exceeding the drink drive limit can be £5175 and punishment can be even more severe depending on the circumstances.
- You’re not allowed to use a mobile phone while driving, so only communicate on your phone if your car has a hands-free system and only then if you can do so without being distracted.
- Beware of bus zones operating in Birmingham at certain times and only park in officially designated areas.
- Cycling is popular in Birmingham, so you might find that you’re surrounded by more bikes than you’re used to. Cyclists can legally use the entire lane of the road in the UK, so please don’t get frustrated if you’re stuck behind them or overtake if it endangers the cyclist or other vehicles. A cyclist will often take up a central position in the middle of the lane if they’re approaching a busy junction or another area where they feel particularly vulnerable. Cyclist should indicate using hand signals when it’s safe to do so, but they won’t do this on busy areas like roundabouts where they need both hands to be safe, so hang back and await their manoeuvre so that you can take the appropriate action.
A Useful Guide to Birmingham and The West Midlands for BHX Car Hire Customers
Birmingham and the West Midlands are brimming with history and culture ̶ here are a few brilliant things to do while you’re in the vicinity:
- The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is set in a genuine former jewellers and offers fascinating insights to Birmingham’s precious metal and jewellery heritage. As well as the regular tour and exhibitions, there are twice-monthly workshops where you can learn how to create your own trinkets.
- Thinktank-Birmingham Science Museum is a great family day out where kids of all ages can interact with a huge range of science and technology exhibits, ranging from chocolate wrapping machines and steam engines to talking androids and iconic Spitfire fighter planes.
- Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens is a gorgeous green space that includes a beautiful baroque mansion house, formal gardens, mud gardens and wild spaces. If you want to relax and indulge in some cathartic tree bathing, this is a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
- If you’re a meat eater, Gaucho Birmingham is one of the best places in Britain to enjoy a sumptuous steak meal ̶ the Chateaubriand in this Argentinian fine dining restaurant is simply divine.
It’s evident that Birmingham isn’t only the jewel of the West Midlands ̶ Britain’s ‘second city’ is also first-class when it comes to culture, history, entertainment and cuisine too, plus it’s the perfect base for further adventures in the north of England as well as being a reasonable drive away from the bright lights of London.
With Enjoy, you can rent a reliable vehicle at BHX and easily explore brilliant Brum and the rest of Great Britain too ̶ search our selection of quality cars any time you’re bound for Birmingham!
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