Local information

Tourist information

Birmingham is the largest and most populous British city outside London and has a number of attractions on offer, attracting visitors for its world class galleries, museums , culture, food and drink scene and sport.

For Birmingham tourist information, please visit http://visitbirmingham.com/.

The Birmingham Visitor Centre (Tourist Information Centre in Birmingham) is situated on Chamberlain Square in Birmingham and is open:
Monday - Friday, 10.00-18.00
Saturday, 09.00-17.00
Sunday, Closed

Highlights include:

Birmingham Back to Backs - Carefully restored, atmospheric 19th-century courtyard of working people's houses which offers an atmospheric glimpse into the lives of the ordinary people who helped make Birmingham an extraordinary city. On a fascinating guided tour, step back in time at Birmingham's last surviving court of back to backs; houses built literally back-to-back around a communal courtyard. Moving from the 1840s through to the 1970s, discover the lives of some of the former residents who crammed into these small houses to live and work. With fires alight in the grates, and sounds and smells from the past, experience an evocative and intimate insight into life at the Back to Backs.

Art and Sculpture - Symphony Hall - Widely considered one of the finest Concert Halls in the world, Symphony Hall sits in the bustling heart of Birmingham City centre and as well as being home to the CBSO also hosts the best in jazz, world music, folk, rock, pop and stand-up comedy. The Hall also plays an important role in the life of the region and is regularly used for community events, graduation ceremonies and conferences.

Library of Birmingham - The Library of Birmingham is one of the cities major cultural destinations. The Library of Birmingham provides a showcase for the city's internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books. Facilities include a state-of-the-art gallery space opening up public access to the collections.

Food and drink - Michelin starred restaurants, stylish eateries, world cuisine, street dining, the world famous Balti Triangle, farmers' markets, sweet delights, locally sourced produce – Birmingham has it all so lick your lips and get stuck in! A vibrant mix of bars and pubs, from pre-clubbing hot spots to student nights and cocktail chic, Birmingham and the region has got it all. The Mailbox is a hub of sparkling, buzzing nightlife. Chill with music great food and drinks at Aluna, Gas Street Social or Pennyblacks. Or head to Malmaison, nicknamed 'The Champagne Bar of Birmingham' for a great glass of fizz.  

Useful local information 

  • Money - Britain's currency is the pound sterling (£). Credit cards - especially Visa and Mastercard - are widely accepted in restaurants, bars, cafés and shops. American Express and Diners Club cards are less commonly accepted. There are plenty of cash machines (also known as cashpoints or ATMs) available in and around Aston.

  • VAT - Value-added tax (VAT) is a 20% sales tax levied on most goods and services except basic food items, books and children's clothing. Restaurants must, by law, include VAT in their menu prices. If you are travelling for leisure or business purposes, you may be eligible for a VAT refund. The VAT refund scheme is called the Retail Export Scheme or Tax-Free Shopping. www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/sectors/consumers/overseas-visitors.htm

  • Electricity - UK appliances are fitted with three-pin plugs that can be connected to the UK mains supply through wall sockets. Unlike the sockets in many other countries, these have a switch to turn the power supply on and off - make sure you've turned it on if you're trying to charge your appliance. UK power sockets deliver an average voltage of 230v, although in practice this can be slightly higher. To charge devices that are compatible with this voltage, simply buy the appropriate adapter from the airport or from high street shops. If your device runs on a lower voltage, however, then you will also need a converter to stop it from over-heating. Even if your country uses lower voltages, remember to check whether your device is dual-voltage (look for the 110-240v notation) before buying a converter.

  • Telephone - If you're visiting the Aston University from abroad, don't forget that the UK dialling code is +44 (which replaces the 0) and to check your own country's code before you travel. If you are travelling to Aston from abroad, using your mobile phone may cost you more than it does at home. Check your network's roaming charges before you travel.

  • Emergencies - Visitors should be aware of their personal safety. Call 999 for the emergency services (police, fire and ambulance) which is a free call from any phone. You can also call 112 for non-life threatening assistance and to report crimes. To report non-urgent crime, call the police on 101 from within the UK.

Key dates

  • Abstract submission deadline:
    23 March 2018
  • Early registration deadline:
    6 July 2018
  • Registration deadline:
    27 August 2018