If you’re planning on travelling to Birmingham for this year’s Commonwealth Games, then you’re in for a treat. Despite a bafflingly negative reputation, the city of Birmingham has a huge amount to offer tourists; there’s so much to see and do that you’ll almost certainly never fit it all into a week, and that’s on top of the excitement of the Games themselves.
While the Games will likely take up a lot of your attention when you travel to Birmingham, it’s important to make sure you’ve got your travel itinerary ready to go and that you’ve prepared adequately. That’s what we’re here to help with today. Here’s our Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 travel guide, along with some tips to help you enjoy yourself when you go to the second city.
Book trains ahead of time
As pointed out by the West Midlands Railway website, trains and their corresponding stations will be much busier around the time of the Commonwealth Games. The games begin on Thursday July 28th and end on Monday August 8th, so between those dates, you’re going to find it more difficult to travel by train, especially if you don’t book tickets in advance. Make sure that you have the tickets you need way ahead of time, including any tickets you’re going to need to travel to the various venues for the games. Various train stations, including Birmingham New Street and other major stations, will be much busier too, so make sure you’ve incorporated that possibility into your travel plans.
Be smart with accommodation
While it may initially seem like a good idea to book accommodation near to one of the stadiums and locations hosting events for the Commonwealth Games, you might actually be better off booking further out. This is because hotels and accommodation sites closer to places like Alexander Stadium or the University of Birmingham will likely be close to full and may be charging more for rooms. If you don’t mind travelling a little, then try staying somewhere within public transport distance of the stadium. You’d be amazed at how much money you could save this way!
Buy your tickets ahead of time
If you’re reading this, then you should already have your Commonwealth 2022 tickets. However, if you haven’t secured them yet, it’s definitely a good idea to get onto the website right now and pick them up. Tickets are selling fast, and there are very few left for all major events, so to avoid disappointment, you should definitely be booking them ahead of time. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to simply turn up on the day and buy tickets from the venue. Make sure that you know exactly which events you want tickets for and how much they’re going to cost for everyone in your party.
Plan your days around the events
There’s lots to do in Birmingham, but you don’t want to miss any of the Commonwealth Games 2022 events. As such, make sure that you’ve got a detailed itinerary that’s based around the time and place at which all of the events you want to visit take place. Don’t try to squeeze something in if you know your time is going to be taken up travelling from place to place. Treat it like you would any other travel itinerary; factor in your budget, your intended sightseeing stops, and anything else you’d like to do (alongside the Games, of course), and plan out your route accordingly. The last thing you want is to arrive in Birmingham disorganised and to miss the events you came to see.
Grab some food while you’re in Brum
Birmingham is well-known as one of the curry capitals of the UK, so while you’re in the second city, make sure you set aside enough time to get a curry from one of its mouthwatering restaurants. Good options include Itihaas, which you can find on Fleet Street, as well as Broad Street’s Pushkar and the excellent Asha’s on Newhall Street. Of course, the city also has some excellent cuisine from elsewhere around the world, so be sure to take a look at Birmingham’s Chinatown district for some authentic Chinese food or one of its many Caribbean restaurants for some nourishing Caribbean cuisine. Wherever you look for food in Birmingham, you really can’t go wrong.
Set aside some time to do other things
While your schedule will likely be dominated by the Commonwealth Games, you should definitely set aside some time to visit some of Birmingham’s other attractions while you’re in the city. The Ikon art gallery is a must-see, as is the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses some of the most incredible works in the country. You should also take a look at Dudley Zoo, which is just outside of Birmingham but which you can easily visit by hopping on a bus from the city centre, as well as beautiful areas like Digbeth and Moseley. Suffice it to say that there should be plenty to hold your interest between events at the Games this year.
Know your travel routes
Before you set out to Birmingham – or while you’re in the hotel waiting for the first event – you should familiarise yourself with your travel routes. The official Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 website has all the travel points you’ll need to know in order to get to each event. Only one of the venues cannot be reached by rail, and that venue has excellent bus shuttle and bus services available. Naturally, depending on where you’re staying, you could also cycle or walk to the venue, which would be much more environmentally friendly and would help you to get into the spirit of athletic competition, too!