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The industrial city of Walsall is one of England’s largest commercial centres. Though rarely considered for holiday travel due to a lack of sightseeing attractions, Walsall makes a solid base of operations for exploring the surrounding West Midlands region. Its location right in the geographical heart of England ensures plenty of daytrip opportunities in all directions, with excellent motorway connections to ease the drive time.
Who to Book With
Several major car hire companies, such as Avis and Europcar, are located in Walsall for travellers arriving by train or bus. Most of the offices are situated in outlying industrial parks along the trunk roads, but there are also a couple of rental offices next to the central train station. Regardless of the time of year, an early online booking often results in lower fares and a better vehicle selection.
Best Time to Go
The weather in Walsall is quintessentially English, with regular rain throughout the year and temperatures that remain mild even in the summer. The driest and warmest month is July, the perfect time to travel around the West Midlands. April and May are cool but also have drier-than-average conditions. But really, anytime between May and September will provide pleasant weather for travelling around Walsall.
Need to Know Essentials
Most car rental outfits will require the following documents when you collect your car:
- A valid EU or UK driving license or International Driving Permit
- A secondary picture ID
- The credit card used in the online booking
- A printed confirmation slip
Walsall is surrounded by major UK motorways like the M6, M5, M42 and M54. A smaller trunk road runs in a ring around the city centre, ensuring quick access to the motorways in every direction. Driving conditions in the downtown area are reasonable for a city of 200,000 people, although the usual light congestion is common around weekday rush hours.
The Walsall Council maintains more than 3,500 public parking spaces, most of which are within eight car parks scattered around the centre of town. Around 2,000 of these parking spaces are free, with the rest being pay and display spaces, both on the street and in off-street lots.
The nearest airport is just to the south of Walsall in Birmingham. Walsall itself enjoys good bus and train connections from around the UK, as well as excellent road connections. Local bus routes are the only real form of city transport available here besides taxis and car rentals, so having your own car is extremely useful.
The local rail network runs frequent services to Birmingham New Street and Rugeley Trent Valley. From Birmingham New Street station, it’s possible to access all the inter-city train lines and connect to the rest of the UK’s National Rail network.
Taxis are a convenient way to get around Walsall if you don’t have your own transportation. They can often be found waiting in front of the train terminal on Station Street, but are also easily called in for a pick-up at any time of day. Walsall Radio Cars is one of the larger companies serving the city.
Local bus routes are managed by National Express West Midlands, which runs a decent amount of routes around Walsall itself, as well as to the surrounding area. The main bus stations in Walsall are at Bradford Place and St Paul’s, both of which are within walking distance of the Town Hall or the Civic Centre. Arriva Buses and Diamond Buses also provide coach service from Walsall to destinations around the West Midlands.
Since there isn’t a great deal to see and do in Walsall, this city is best used as a jumping-off point for excursions around the West Midlands. There are larger cities like Wolverhampton and Birmingham just minutes away, as well as historic market towns tucked into the quiet countryside. With a car, it’s incredibly easy to hop onto the motorway and get anywhere in the region quickly. This is a lovely part of England with great drives in every direction.
The Walsall Arbortetum - This has been open to the public since 1874 and remains a favoured spot for locals and visitors alike. This classic 170-acre Victorian garden park features lakes, walking paths and grassy spots for picnics and recreation.
Coventry’s Priory Gardens - Offering an opportunity to experience medieval life in the West Midlands. The expansive grounds contain Coventry’s original cathedral and a fantastic visitor centre that really explains how life was lived in this area centuries ago.
West Midland Safari & Leisure Park - Bringing the wild world of Africa to central England. Besides the extensive drive-through safari park, there is a modern amusement park with more than 30 thrilling rides. It’s even fun to reach Worcestershire by car from Walsall if you take the scenic country route.