Birmingham Airport (BHX) www.birminghamairport.co.uk
Birmingham Airport is 11 miles east of the city.
BHX is served by many airlines from UK cities (not London), Europe, Middle East and Atlantic resorts. Flights from the US and Canada are not currently operated.
For long haul passengers, convenient connections are available over Dublin, Shannon, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.
Frequent trains with Virgin Trains, CrossCountry or West Midlands Trains from Birmingham International to Birmingham New Street with 11-minute transit time.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) www.heathrow.com
Heathrow Airport is 117 miles south of Birmingham.
LHR is the busiest airport in Europe and served non–stop from all inhabited continents. (Qantas recently introduced nonstop flights from Perth, Western Australia.)
Recommended most direct travel to Birmingham is to use the RailAir bus from the Heathrow Central Bus Station (between Terminals 2 and 3), or Stand 9 at Terminal 5 [shuttle bus/train Terminal 4 to Central Bus Station] to Reading Railway Station. About 45-minute ride. From Reading trains operate about every 30-minutes with a 1-hour 33 minute ride to Birmingham New Street.
At Heathrow Terminal 2 is mostly Star Alliance airlines; Terminal 3 is mostly One World airlines, Terminal 4 is mostly Skyteam airlines, Terminal 5 is mostly British Airways (One World).
There are many other means of getting from LHR to Birmingham.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) www.gatwickairport.com
Gatwick Airport is 152 miles south of Birmingham.
LGW is busy and London’s second international airport.
Gatwick has two terminals North and South.
Gatwick Railway Station is at the South Terminal (shuttle from North terminal is frequent and a 2-minute ride).
The website states that “Gatwick Airport has the best rail connections of any airport in Britain, linking passengers to 129 train stations directly and over 700 within just one change.”
Train service to Birmingham New Street is about every 15-minutes, with one or two changes and a transit time of 2-hours 30 minutes or more.
Manchester Airport (MAN) www.manchesterairport.co.uk
Manchester Airport is 81 miles north of Birmingham.
MAN is a busy regional airport with flights from Europe and some long haul service to Toronto, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Manchester has three terminals.
Manchester Airport Railway Station is convenient to all terminals 1, 2, 3, and accessible by moving walkway.
Train service to Birmingham New Street is about every 15-minutes, with one or two changes and a transit time of about 2-hours.
Birmingham New Street is the main passenger railway station for Birmingham. Nearby Moor Street and Snow Hill are other stations in the centre of Birmingham. New Street is the busiest station outside London and is a hub for both First Trenitalia and CrossCountry.
Research potential trips using www.nationalrail.co.uk and www.thetrainline.com.
Note the variability of fares at different times, some inexpensive, others not so much.
Booking a long time in advance is not necessary. A sample trip bought on the day of travel at £92.00 may be £52.00 purchased a week in advance, but does not get lower with earlier purchase.
Rail travel from Europe arrives at London St. Pancras Station, with connections from there.
If you are planning extended rail travel, check out possibilities with:
Britrail pass www.britrail.net
Eurail pass www.eurail.com/en
It may seem strange to suggest a ferry when Birmingham is more than 100 miles from the sea in any direction. Great Britain is an island and surrounded by populated islands, large and small. Your travels may well involve some of the many ferry services. One site to investigate is www.ferrysavers.co.uk.
By Bus (called a Coach in the UK)
National Express www.nationalexpress.com/en
provide intercity service throughout the U.K.
Each urban area has extensive city and suburban route networks with useful frequency of service.
The usual rental car agencies Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Europcar, Hertz, National and more, operate in the UK.
Some visitors may have issues driving on the left side of the road, possibly with a manual transmission which are still common in the UK and Europe.
British highway signs are different from their North American cousins. Learn about them at www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/traffic-signs
Road signs in Europe, where they drive on the right side of the road, are different again. Learn about them at www.autoeurope.com/roadsigns/
Cities in the UK are connected by high-speed motorways, similar to North American Freeways. Motorways have M numbers. Regional roads have A numbers, and B numbers. In rural areas roads can be quite narrow, with dry-stone walls rising from the edge of the pavement. If the centreline vanishes, the road may not be wide enough for passing traffic. It is polite to reverse to a passing space if you meet another car on such a road.