With a rental car through Birmingham!

With a comfortable rental car from Sunnycars I went to Birmingham for a day with some other bloggers. There are many interesting things to do near Birmingham! With a car they can be reached quite easily and fast, and if you're afraid to drive on the left hand side of the road... Don't be! You get used to it very fast.

Road trip through Birmingham!

Birmingham undoubtedly has a lot to see in the city itself, but we chose to visit some places near Birmingham instead. Once the car was picked up at the Birmingham Airport car hire, we settled in the comfortable four-wheeler, did about a hundred prayers, and then gently pushed the accelerator to finally explore the English countryside!

rental car birmingham

Driving a rental car through Birmingham needs some concentration! Luckily, driving on the other side of the road isn’t that hard.

Driving on the left

It takes some getting used to, because the English people are still stubbornly driving on the wrong side of the road! All in all, it really isn’t that bad. You quickly become familiar with driving on the other lane, but it’s the maneuvers and driving habits that you have to concentrate on.

Roundabouts, overtaking on the left, and using the stick shift with your other hand are just a few things that you need to focus on. Once you start to understand everything -at least for me- driving left seems more logical than doing so on the right! I was clearly worrying about nothing, because driving on the left isn’t difficult at all. After my fellow passengers and I all tried driving an English car, we started using the gas pedal slightly more… I hope we saw all of the speed cameras, because they too are on the other side of the road!

Hatton Locks

After we became true experts in driving left, we arrived at our first stop of this car rally: the Hatton Locks.

Twenty-one locks keep the wild water of the Grand Union Canal in check. These locks from 1799 are surprisingly beautiful, and that also has to do with the beautiful environment in which they are placed. Because there are so many consecutive dams, you get a unique view. If you’re still completely stressed out from the drive, you can relax here for a while by taking a walk next to the Hatton Locks.

hatton locks birmingham

The Hatton Locks. These locks may not be an amazing sight; but they are surely impressive enough to make a short stop!

Warwick Castle

Twenty minutes away lies the mighty Warwick Castle. A gigantic domain with a huge fort that once belonged to William the Conqueror. The stone construction towers out high above the rest of the surroundings, so during our drive we saw its battlements and towers appear on the horizon from far away already.

Don’t think that this is a dusty old castle! Because both adults and children can easily fill an afternoon visiting Warwick castle. Get lost in the maze or the dungeons with children, and then explore the beautiful rooms inside. Here you can see several beautiful exhibits of what the castle used to look like. Luxurious tapestries, beautiful chandeliers, girandoles and lots of excess. It reminded me a little of Hogwarts, the magical school of Harry Potter. So, if you’re visiting this castle I’m sure you’ll be amazed!

warwick castle birmingham

The interior, the castle and the beautiful gardens are well worth a visit!

Shakespeares Stratford-Upon-Avon

From one historical place to another. Shakespeare grew up in the mythical Stratford-Upon-Avon. A cozy town with many buildings and houses from the Middle Ages. The beautiful half-timbered houses adorn the shopping streets and provide an authentic atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else in England. The most important attraction here, however, are the houses of Shakespeare. Even if you’re not such a fan of this poet, it’s still interesting to buy a ticket and visit his birth house. The interior of his house(s) is a perfect reflection of how houses looked during the Middle Ages. Moreover, in the adjoining exhibition you’ll learn more about Shakespeare, and believe me … He was a bigger rascal than me!

Besides the birth house of Shakespeare you can also see many other houses that had something to do with Shakespeare. Of course there are other things you can do in Stratford-Upon-Avon as well, but most of its sights have some connection with William Shakespeare’s life.

stratford upon avon

How cute are these little houses?!

High tea in Coombe Abbey

After a deep, dramatic bow, we said goodbye to Shakespeare and drove on to our final destination: Coombe Abbey.
If you’re getting used to some of the English habits, you should immediately welcome another one: the traditional high tea.

This former abbey was completely transformed into a beautiful hotel, and in some of its halls you can now enjoy in style and luxury a nice cup of tea with delicious scones and sweets. If you have ever seen ‘Downton Abbey’ you can imagine how nice and wonderful this must be! Sitting together in a cozy environment, chatting with your fellow drivers and in the meantime enjoying the beautiful surroundings while you stuff your faces with the tastiest cookies, sandwiches and other delicacies you’ve ever had!

If you ever pamper yourself at a high tea at Coombe Abbey, don’t forget to explore the gardens as well. Phenomenal!

coombe abbey birmingham

Stroll through the gardens of this gorgeous domain and refresh yourself with a cup of English tea afterwards.

Car rental in Birmingham

Are you also completely sold to the beautiful things to do near Birmingham? Then it’s time to go there yourself!
From Birmingham airport it’s very easy to rent a car. To be completely at ease, I recommend looking at the cars from Sunnycars. This car rental company ensures that all your insurances are included in the costs.
Now I don’t want to say that you’re a bad driver, but driving on the other side of the road requires quite some adjustments… With the all-in insurance you can travel through England relaxed and without being scared whenever you drive around.

Renting a car in Birmingham for one day costs only €39 / $46,50 / £35.
If you prefer a road trip of a week, you pay around €150 / $179 / £134.

Don’t forget that public transport in England is very expensive and that excursions or tours often require an additional charge for transport. All in all, I think that a rental car in Birmingham is advantageous and certainly useful if you want to visit some of the area around Birmingham.

car rental birmingham sunny cars

The English traffic rules

If you rent a car in Birmingham, then you better be well prepared!

Actually, everything is largely the same as driving somewhere else, but then on the other side of the road.
Of course you overtake a car here on the left side, and just as everywhere else you have to keep to the speed limits and traffic signs.

And some extra tips:

  • Rent a car with an automatic transmission. So there is already one less thing to concentrate on! Automatic cars are usually slightly more expensive to rent, but on the other hand they are easier to use and therefore safer.
  • Take a car with an insurance. You may be a great driver, but something can always happen. If you drive along the other side of the road, you’re not always aware of certain habits or rules and it would of course be a shame to let your holiday be spoiled by a stupid accident.
  • Use a navigation system or plan your route in advance. That way you have yet another thing to worry about. This way you can focus on driving left.
  • Don’t drive too fast and stay behind other drivers. They keep you on the right side of the road!

Maximum speeds

The car rental in Birmingham might not tell you, but the maximum speeds are slightly different than in other European countries.
First of all, the English don’t use kilometers, but they use miles. One mile is 1.6 kilometers.

  • Within the urban area you can drive 30 mph. That’s about 48 km/h.
  • Outside the built-up area the standard is 60 mph or 96 km/h.
  • On motorways or lanes with separate lanes, you should never go faster than 70 mph or 112 km/h.

To make sure of the right speed, you should always look at the traffic signs. If you see a blue sign with a number on it, then it means that there is a minimum speed on this road that you have to keep.

car hire birmingham

What do you think of my rental car? Isn’t it a beauty?!

Do you want to hire a car to explore Birmingham? Don’t doubt too long. It’s not that difficult and it’s much more comfortable to travel around with a car.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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