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Wolverhampton, a major industrial centre during the Victorian era with roots that stretch back to the Anglo-Saxon period, is one of the largest cities in the West Midlands. Although not known for its tourist attractions, there are a few historic architectural gems and Victorian parks to enjoy in and around the city. It’s also very easy to escape the urban scene of Wolverhampton and drive around the very scenic Shropshire countryside for a nice balance of activities.
Who to Book With
Most of the big car hire chains, including Avis, Europcar and Enterprise, are represented in Wolverhampton. Several of the offices are located along Birmingham Road, while others are found near the train station and in business parks on the outskirts of town. Since driving around the countryside is a big part of many visitors’ agendas, popular car rental models are often sold out. To ensure you get the car you want at the best possible rates, go online and make your rental reservation as early as possible.
Best Time to Go
The weather in Wolverhampton is as English as it gets. Summer is the best season here with long days, warm temperatures around 21°C and more sun than most other months. Winters are rather damp and chilly, at around 8°C, so consider planning your trip any time between May and September for optimal weather conditions.
Need to Know Essentials
Rental offices typically require the following documents to collect a vehicle:
- A valid UK, EU or international driving license
- Another form of picture ID
- A printed rental confirmation paper
- The credit card from the online booking
Wolverhampton is a fairly large city and suffers the usual traffic congestion issues in its downtown streets. Fortunately, the Inner Ring Road forms a complete circle around the centre of Wolverhampton, helping to keep most traffic from clogging up the streets. Like the spokes of a wheel, trunk roads branch out in all directions from the Ring Road, eventually connecting to the M5, M6 and M54 motorways.
There are both private and city-run car parks in Wolverhampton. Most of the 11 city-run car parks are open from 06:00 to 04:00, nearly 24 hours a day. Sundays and weekdays after 17:30 are free to park here, but fees of £2 per day for long-stay lots and £1.70 for two hours at the short-stay lots apply the rest of the time. A dozen or so private car parks are also available with varying hours of operation. Four free Park and Ride locations offer another parking option.
While it’s very useful to have your own vehicle in Wolverhampton, the city does offer a helpful public transportation system of buses and trams. There are good train services from London and other major UK cities, as well as an extensive coach service from cities around the country. Taxis are another option for quick trips around the city.
Wolverhampton lies along the West Coast Mainline, which offers frequent direct trains to London, Manchester and Birmingham along with countless other UK cities. The main train station is just a short walk from the centre of town, right across the street from the bus station.
The newest addition to Wolverhampton’s public transport network is its light rail tram line called the Metro. These modern efficient trams run from Bilston Street’s St George’s stop to Birmingham’s Snow Hill Station. Along the way, the trams stop at several places in the city. Tickets cost around £5 for a Daytripper Pass or around £2.10 for a single-trip ticket from end to end.
The city’s principal bus station is at Piper’s Row, just across from the train terminal. Centro is the company that runs the local buses, with routes both within Wolverhampton and around the surrounding area running until 23:00. A new service is the Wolverhampton City Centre 500 bus, which runs in a loop around the city centre on market days (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) for free.
A significant number of taxi companies operate in Wolverhampton, providing convenient transport around the clock. Central Taxis is just one of the more established outfits in the city, featuring online bookings or phone-in pick-ups.
With a car rental, you have the flexibility to venture out to larger neighbouring cities like Birmingham or into the beautiful Shropshire countryside. Wolverhampton sits right on the fringe of development in this part of northwestern England, offering some lovely rural driving along lightly-travelled roads. Check out Shrewsbury or head into central Wales; the options for daytrips are endless.
Shrewsbury - This is an excellent example of a quintessential medieval market town, with a historic core that looks a lot like it did several centuries ago. Shrewsbury Castle is just one of the highlights here, but simply strolling around the town centre is a treat in itself.
The Shropshire Hills - Some of England’s prettiest landscape, and sit right on the doorstep of Wolverhampton. Besides cruising the countryside for fun, visitors can tour the 32 historic castles scattered around this region in varying states of ruin. Pick a few to see and make a daytrip of it.
Ironbridge Gorge - This is one of the birthplaces of England’s Industrial Revolution, and a must-visit location if you have an interest in this important era in global development. The world’s first iron bridge can be found at this cool UNESCO World Heritage site along with several museums to put things into perspective.