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Ooaj Travel Guide, tourism, hotel reservation, residence, plane, cheap pension for you holidays in birmingham (midlands)
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Birmingham is Britain's 2nd city. It was at the heart of the UK's industrial revolution, and its wealth was built upon the multitude of trades that were spawned. This lead to a massive canal network, with more miles of canals than Venice (though they're very different types of canal).
Much of the city centre was destroyed during the Second World War, and the replacement buildings added little to the city. Indeed a standing joke among people is Spaghetti Junction - a mass of intersecting motorways and local roads that can send a careless driver off in completely the opposite direction to that which he intended.
However, since the 1990s, Birmingham has been undergoing a radical change and many of the post war buildings have been replaced. The majority of the city center is now pedestrianized, and the canals cleaned up to make for attractive walkways. All cr to the City Council, as the city retains its industrial heritage while now appearing modern and forward looking.
Birmingham International Airport 1 (http://www.bhx.co.uk/) (BHX) is a major airport situated about 8 miles south-east of central Birmingham, serving the city and the rest of the West Midlands region with domestic, charter and international (mainly European, some North American) flights. The airport has a railway link that runs frequent trains to Birmingham's New Street Station (the main central station). The journey takes 10-20 mins.
Birmingham is at the hub of England's rail network. There are 3 stations in the city center: New Street - by far the largest, Snow Hill and Moor Street. Thus it's really simple to get to any other destination in the UK. You can check national timetables at National Rail Enquiries (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/), book rail tickets at The TrainLine (http://www.thetrainline.com/).
Birmingham is surrounded by motorways. 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.
Within two hours driving time of Birmingham are Manchester, Liverpool and London, making it an excellent central base to visit all of the major cities in England. It is also within an hour of Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon.
You can take coaches from the rather dingy Digbeth Coach Station to most destinations within the UK. The coach station is just South of the Bull Ring shopping center on the A34/ Stratford Road.
The local bus system is extensive and buses are fairly frequent. For more outlying areas you can take a train. These run from all three of the city center's stations, depending on destination. You can see a map of the local rail network (http://www.centro.org.uk/Rail%20Network/trains/network/fnetwor.html), or check local train timetables (http://www.centro.org.uk/Rail%20Network/trains/Times2.asp) (both at Centro (http://www.centro.org.uk/) - the local transport authority). You can also check bus timetables and routemaps in the West Midlands at Travel West Midlands' website (http://www.travelwm.co.uk/).
During the last few years Birmingham has developed enormously as a regional shopping centre, with the old Bull Ring complex (once a notorious architectural eyesore) being demolished to make way for a large shopping centre that includes Selfridges.
With the vast number of shops, bars and restaurants in the city there is never a shortage of job vacancies and you are certain to see vacancies advertised in the windows of shops in the city centre. There are also a lot of 'temping' agencies in Birmingham able to find temporary office, driving and other jobs. Another source of job vacancies would be the job centre in the city.
To the north of the city center is the Jewellery Quarter (http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/jq), containing literally hundreds of jewellery shops, workshops and wholesale outlets. The City Centre houses numerous shopping centres, including The Bull Ring (http://www.bullring.co.uk/) and the Pavilions shopping centre,
Balti Balti Balti - this is the home of baltis. Find out more here (http://www.thebaltiguide.com/). You can find just about anything you're looking for in the city centre though, with Greek, Italian, and Chinese cuisines representing a few of the more popular choices. The latter can be found in abundance in the centre's Chinese quarter.
Dress code is rather common in Birmingham, so be careful to check out each night's policy. It is also advisable not to go in large groups of males as some have experienced one or other of their party invariably getting refused for not having the correct type of shoes/coat/trousers/face etc.
Broad Street, the No 1 party street of Birmingham, has a large range of clubs, bars and pubs.
There are pubs and then there are pubs. If you are looking for the average drink, virtually any pub will do. If you are a real ale aficionado, there are several nice pubs to visit:
The National Dialling code for the city is 0121, followed by a three digit Area code, followed by a four digit number. A fully specified Birmingham number will be in the format 0121-200-2000. The minimum requirement is 200-2000 within the National Dialling code area.
Birmingham has its share of gun crime problems, but these shouldn't affect you unless you make yourself part of the larger drug gang problem. The city centre is well policed and is a very safe environment. Common sense should keep you safe, avoid deserted areas. Areas of the city to avoid include Aston, Newtown and Lozells. However other areas that were considered rough like Smethwick on the outskirts to the West, are becoming more and more desirable areas as they are redeveloped. The areas of Harborne, Bearwood and Warley, on the outer ring road have the highest rising house prices in the UK currently.
As in the rest of the UK, in any emergency, call 999 and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected.