Birmingham’s main city centre is partly pedestrianised, which makes walking the ideal mode of transport if you’re in the heart of things. All the main attractions are within a maximum 20-minute walking distance, and the streets are mostly flat so it’s a nice pleasant stroll. To really make the most of touring by foot, pick up a walking map at any tourist office which will point out all the best pedestrian routes so you see sights you might otherwise miss. Being a city with a large canal network, one of the nicest things to do on a sunny day is wander along the waterways, taking in some fresh air and enjoying Birmingham’s lovely green parks.
If you’re tired of walking, the bus is another good way to see the city. There is a huge network that links intercity sights with neighbouring areas, and almost all the buses are operated by National Express West Midlands. The main stations are around Bull Street, Colmore Row, Moor Street and Priory Queensway, although you’re sure to find a bus stop no matter where you are. You can either buy single trip tickets or a day pass if you think you’ll be hopping on and off. Tickets are available on-board the bus (but beware, drivers do not give change), or you can pay via your smartphone or Swift Card, both which often offer discounts.
There are eight local train lines servicing Birmingham and the West Midlands, ensuring quick links to all attractions and venues. New Street Station is the main central station and has just recently undergone extensive redevelopment, now boasting a new train every 37 seconds. From New Street Station you can easily get to other UK cities, the airport or surrounding neighbourhoods. Other stations include Moor Street Station with lines to Stratford upon Avon and London, and Snow Hill Station with trains to Solihull and Worcester.
Birmingham has one single metro line which connects passengers from Snow Hill Station to Wolverhampton, via the Jewellery Quarter, West Bromwich, Wednesbury and Bilston. The Midland Metro has trams running every 6-8 minutes during the day, and every 15 minutes on evenings and Sundays.
There are taxi ranks dotted all over the city, but the central hub is at New Street Station. Other main hotspots are Broad Street, The Arcadian and The Mailbox, however these can get crowded on late night weekends. Only black cabs (hackney carriages) have the right to stand in a taxi rank, although you can book private cars and Ubers in advance. If you’re looking to flag down a taxi in the street, only take black cabs – anything else is not a licenced taxi. Fares are fairly reasonable, with 1-2 miles generally costing less than £5.
Traditionally, Birmingham wasn’t a bicycle-friendly city, although this is changing fast. Today, there are more and more bike routes with dedicated lanes and stops. The best areas to cycle are along the canals as you’ll be free from any traffic and hoards of pedestrians.
A tourist attraction it its own right, Birmingham canals are the undoubtedly the most unique mode of transport. Make your way down to Gas Street Basin near Brindleyplace and jump on a barge for a short day trip. There are over 200 miles of canal networks connecting Birmingham to Stratford upon Avon, Worcester and beyond. Sightseeing by boat may not be the fastest option (they can only reach three miles per hour, max!) but it’s a scenic and tranquil way to see a whole other side to Birmingham and its history.