One thing that we felt was important with Auto Assembly this year was to make sure that as many of you as possible had all the information that you needed to be able to get to the convention as quickly and as easily as possible. Because of the incredible rate of room bookings this year we do appreciate that unfortunately not everyone has been able to secure accommodation in the convention hotel for this year’s event so we wanted to offer as much help and assistance as we could to make your journey to the Hilton as uneventful as possible.
First, we’ll look at the Hilton itself and for those of you travelling directly to the convention hotel. It is located on the site of the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham and is adjacent to Birmingham International Airport. The nearest train station is Birmingham International which serves both the Airport and the NEC and is just a few minutes walk from the Hilton. But how do you get to the Hilton itself?
Getting To The Hilton
Birmingham International Station is on the main cross country line and can be reached from most parts of the UK. Services running from the North and South stop at Birmingham International frequently but if your train doesn’t, then Birmingham International is just a 10-minute ride away from Birmingham New Street Station. There are about 6 services running every hour, with both local and long distance services stopping at the station.
When it comes to booking your journey, we would recommend that you book your tickets in advance to get the best prices possible and it is always worth enquiring at your local ticket offices about the cheapest deals. The National Rail Enquiries line (08457 484950) usually quotes standard ticket prices for your journey and not the cheapest options. In some cases, two single tickets purchased in advance works out cheaper than a return ticket although these can be subject to restrictions. To check times and get a rough idea on prices and available options, visit www.qjump.co.uk
There are also cheaper deals if you are willing to change trains and travel indirectly to Birmingham and this also includes the option to split your journey buying multiple tickets for each part of your journey to save more money. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need more help and advise on any of this.
Travelling by road, if you are driving down from the North get onto the M6, then the M42 and exit at junction 6. If you are heading up to Birmingham from the South then travel up on the M40, then the M42 and again exit at Junction 6.
Alternatively, travel on the M1, the M6, M40 then onto the M42 and exit at Junction 6. The Hilton is approximately 200 yards from Junction 6 off the M42 and the A45.
If you are travelling by car, the Hilton has 600 secure parking spaces of its own with reduced rates for hotel residents of £8 a night (£15 for non-residents). The car park is also Park Mark certified (see www.parkmark.co.uk for more information) for added peace of mind.
To qualify for the reduced rate, you will need to present your parking ticket to the Hilton’s reception before departure where the ticket will be validated. This will then authorise the lower parking rate of £8 per day compared with the standard £15 rate. Please note that if you do not present your ticket to reception then you will be charged the full rate and this can not be reimbursed afterwards.
As the Hilton is located on the NEC complex, there are also several thousand additional parking spaces nearby should you wish to park a little further away!
Birmingham’s main coach station is Digbeth and it is located in Birmingham City Centre. For timetables and prices for National Express who operate from there, visit the website at www.nationalexpress.co.uk. We’d recommend booking your journey in advance to get the best reductions on your fare.
From Birmingham Coach Station, you will need to make your way to New Street Station which is about 10 minutes walk from the coach station and then you would need to get a train to Birmingham International Station from New Street Station. Please check with your coach operator though as some journeys will stop at Birmingham International Airport so this may be an option for you rather than travelling to Birmingham City Centre and then back out again towards the Hilton.
In addition, there is the Megabus service that operates from most major cities. This needs to be booked online and offers single journeys from £1 plus a small booking fee! While the timetable is limited, this offers incredible value for money. Facilities are limited on board and it is a non-stop service, but if you are looking for cheap travel, it is certainly an option worth considering! Megabus offers services running directly to Birmingham International Airport so it will get you even closer to Auto Assembly 2014 so it’s definitely an option worth considering. You can get your tickets from www.megabus.co.uk
One thing we must stress with Megabus is that they do have limitations with luggage so you will be restricted to one carry on bag and one suitcase with a 20kg limit just as you would be if you were flying but as long as this is something that is acceptable to you, then this is an incredibly economical way to travel.
If you who are flying in to Birmingham for Auto Assembly 2014 then head for Birmingham International Airport (BHX). From there, you can get a free monorail shuttle service to Birmingham International Rail Station where you can get one of the Hilton’s courtesy buses straight to the hotel!
From Birmingham International Station
The Hilton is about 5-10 minutes walk from the station, but the hotel does provide a free shuttle bus for all of its residents to / from the hotel and to the station. For details on how to get there, we have recorded an instructional walk-through video that you can see on our Youtube Channel! Please note that the early part of this video gives details regarding Birmingham New Street Station and this part is out of date following the station’s renovation. The information regarding the train journey itself and the trip from Birmingham International rail station is unchanged.
Staying In Birmingham City Centre
For those of you who missed out on getting accommodation in the Hilton itself and who are not set to stay in hotels in Birmingham City Centre, transport to the Hilton couldn’t be easier but there are still plenty of options open to you.
Directions for getting to the Hilton by car have already been mentioned, but if you decided to travel to the Hilton by car as non-residents parking per day will cost £15. As an alternative should you have already planned on travelling to Birmingham by car you may find it a better option to leave your car in the City Centre and travel to the Hilton by public transport. Not only will this save fuel costs per journey but parking in Birmingham is more economical and the Council has numerous car parks that are Park Mark certified as is the Hilton’s own. The majority of these car parks charge around £10 for 24 hours parking but please be aware that they do have restricted opening hours and many close for access after around 9:00 pm in the evening.
For those of you considering this option we have a full list of all of these, including their location, prices and opening times so contact us should you require this.
As we have mentioned, rail journeys from Birmingham New Street Station to Birmingham International take between 7-10 minutes and this is a frequent service running up to six times an hour. Depending on the train operator that you use, return tickets can cost as little as £3. The cheapest option is to limit your travel to Virgin trains to get this price (3-4 trains per hour). Otherwise the return journey will cost £4.50 but allows you to use any train travelling between the two stations. Being on the mainline between London and Scotland, trains start very early in the morning and run right up until midnight so you won’t have any problems attending the full duration of the convention travelling this way to Auto Assembly 2014.
There are ample taxi ranks in and around Birmingham City Centre and a typical taxi journey to the Hilton will cost about £15-£20 one way. If you choose this option we would strongly recommend taxi sharing with several other convention attendees who may be staying in the same hotel as you to reduce costs.
Finally, if you need any more help planning your trip, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be on standby to help with any questions you might have or to offer advice.