Travelling as a group can be the most budget-friendly way to travel, provided you make the effort to organise things properly. By making arrangements for accommodation, transport, admissions, and even restaurant bookings in advance, you can qualify for group discounts that could really add up to big savings. I had my hen do in Birmingham and it is a bustling city full of great things to see and do.
There are many hotels in Birmingham that offer group discounts. Major chain hotels like Holiday Inn, Radisson, Hyatt, Novotel, and Ibis are the most likely to offer group rates. Smaller independently owned hotels often can’t afford to make the discounts, but on the other hand may offer lower prices in the first place.
When you want to get group rates with a hotel, call the hotel well in advance and make sure to ask for group rates when making the reservation. The hotel will reserve a block of rooms for you, usually with adjacent rooms or at least on the same floor. The cost can be even lower if the booking is between Monday and Thursday.
For longer stays, the Staybridge Suites are ideal. The large rooms have kitchens, so you can whip up a snack whenever you feel like it, and the price (which includes breakfast) is surprisingly affordable.
Make sure you know how many seats you’re going to need and book the appropriate sized mini bus or coach. Don’t forget about the requirements for stowing your luggage either. The biggest mistake people make is booking a bus or van that is too small to meet their needs.
Places to visit
Now that you’ve sorted out your hotel and transport needs, it’s time to think about where you want to go and what you want to do. It pays to know a bit about the people you’re going with and what their preferences are likely to be. Then you can plan activities that suit the group well.
The National Sea Life Centre is a massive aquarium, and unlike many other aquariums, this one features a penguin habitat. It really is quite an enjoyable experience and a safe choice for just about anyone. On the site there’s also a cinema where you can watch documentaries about the creatures you’ve been looking at as you’ve strolled around.
Another attraction in Birmingham suited to visitors of all ages is the Cadbury Bournville chocolate factory. You’re unlikely to see any oompa-loompas wandering about, but it’s an interesting diversion anyway. This place is especially well suited to those with a sweet tooth, as you’ll not only have opportunities to sample chocolates, but also to purchase chocolate at really good prices.
You will also find numerous museums and art galleries in Birmingham, and they’re all splendid, but by far the most interesting is likely to be the Black Country Living Museum, located about 9 miles outside the city (look for “Dudley” on the map). It’s a rather unique renaissance fair, depicting what life was like in the early 20th century in this area. The authenticity is extremely well done, so much so that the place is often used as a setting for films and television shows.
A trip to nearby Broadgate (Coventry) is also worth considering. This was the place where Lady Godiva is said to have staged her famous nude horse ride (she was nude, but it’s not entirely clear if the horse was too). There are tributes to this event throughout the town including statues and paintings. Broadgate House has a famous clock tower where a Lady Godiva puppet rides her horse out as the clock strikes the hour, while red-faced Peeping Tom pops up to look down on her as she passes below him.
The other option is to visit the famous Bullring for all of your shopping needs.
It’s all about planning
Making your trip memorable for the right reasons comes down to planning well and being organised. By preparing properly for the trip, you’ll avoid the usual blunders people make, have a smooth journey, and save money. It all makes sense.