Where and What to Hire
When hiring a car in Birmingham there are a range of options available. Within Birmingham Airport drivers have the choice of major international car rental companies such as Sixt, Hertz, National Car, Alamo, Budget and Green Motion. Sixt also operate a car hire service from Ladywood close to the city centre, while Europecar, Green Motion and Hertz all have outlets close to Birmingham New Street railway station. All types of cars are available for hire from small two-door city cars to vans, family people carriers and luxury limousines.
The city centre of Birmingham is partially pedestrianised with many one-way systems in operation. It is still possible to drive a car through the city centre but a good map or satellite navigation systems is worth having. Rush hour in Birmingham coincides with working hours so the busiest time on the roads is between 8am and 9am and again between 5pm and 6pm.
There is plenty of parking available in the city centre, however it is restricted. The Gun Quarter and Jewellery Quarter operate zoned pay and display parking where tickets must be bought from the nearby machines and displayed on the car windscreen. Charging hours are between 8am and 7.30pm every day except bank holidays and Christmas Day. Other parking zones in Birmingham city centre operate 8am to 6pm charges. The fee for parking varies depending on the part of the city but vary between £1 and £2 per hour. In the inner city zones, parking is limited to a maximum stay of two hours and up to four hours in the outer zones and the Gun Quarter. There is no free parking in the city centre so do not look for it.
Where to Go and What to See
Being such a central UK hub, there are some fantastic trips that can be taken by car from Birmingham. Just 2 miles from the city centre is located the fabulous Winterbourne House and Gardens. This spectacular Edwardian mansion has a fascinating history as well as seven acres of botanical gardens to explore. Baddesley Clinton is another manor house worth visiting, this time 12 miles outside the city. The half hour drive is worth it to see this beautiful medieval moated house with lakeside walks and nature trails that kids will love. About the same distance from Birmingham city centre lies Tamworth. Famous for its castle which dates back to the 11th century, this is another great place for a family day out. Literature lovers should make the 20 miles trip to tranquil Stratford upon Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. There are many activities and sights related to the famous writer but it is also a lovely romantic place to explore. Fans of fast cars should visit Donnington, just a 40 minute drive from the city centre to see the largest selection of Grand Prix racing cars in the world. The Malvern Hills, also located 40 minutes from the city centre of Birmingham, provide some spectacular views and breath-taking walks and hikes for all levels and all members of the family, while the King Richard III Discovery Centre in Leicester tells the incredible story of this forgotten king and the thrilling recent discovery of his remains in a Leicester car park.