Big Brum Open Top Buz Sightseeing Tour




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Chocolate, custard, cars, whistles and bangles to the best in the world for science, medicine, education, culture, sport and art – Birmingham has it all.

A live guided exciting adventure through the UK’s second city – the Brummagem tour takes you to the commercial heart of the city and includes the major buildings of architectural interest. Following the road to the unique Jewellery Quarter which really emphasises why Birmingham was known as the city of a thousand trades in Victorian times we then travel along Broad Street – the Golden Mile with the Golden Boys. Picking up the highway to Edgbaston – home to the manufacturers of the city and the international cricket ground we link up with the Tolkien trail and the world famous Cardinal Newman Oratory. Entering the city from the East side we get the full panoramic view of St Martin’s Parish Church and the new state of the art Bullring shopping complex with the iconic building of Selfridges.

Dates: the Big Brum Open Top Buz as a hop on hop off tour by request will be running ONLY every Saturday and Sunday from 26th April to 28th September 2014 except for the first Sunday of the month (May to October) when we will be operating as the MUSEUM HERITAGE BUS.

Tour times: 10.30, 12.30 and 2.30

Meeting point: corner of Colmore Row and Waterloo Street, Victoria Square, next to the Council House.

Tickets cost: £15 souvenir to include the Big Brum Buz book, £12 adult; £10 concessions, £8 students, £5 children (5 to 15 years), £20 family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children). Ticket valid for the day.

Tickets for the Big Brum Open Top Buz Sightseeing tour can be purchased on the bus or booked in advance in person at the Birmingham Central Library Reception or online by clicking here or ring the Oxboffice booking line on 0845 6801926.


To download the 2014 flyer click here.

Tickets for the Big Brum Open Top Buz Sightseeing tour can be purchased on the bus or booked in advance in person at the Birmingham Central Library Reception or online by clicking here or ring the Oxboffice booking line on 0845 6801926.

This tour is available on a private basis at any time throughout the year. Guided tours on your own or hired coach, covered double decker or the Big Brum Open Top Buz by arrangement - tours tailored to your organisation or school group requirements - contact Birmingham Tours on 0121 427 2555, 078051 15998, email

What it can do:

The bus is an ambassador for the city - besides running as a fixed date tour it is continually available for private hire throughout the year for corporate clients, schools, universities, wedding parties, organisations, WI’s, etc. Check out our Days Out in Birmingham and Bus Tours page if you would like a themed event.

Marketing to date:

  • Launched via the Phil Upton Show, Radio WM with coverage on Midlands Today, Central Television and local press.
  • Friends of the Big Brum Buz initiative – advertising, sponsoring a seat, annual pass, promotional packages.
  • Jazz Festival, Jewellery Quarter Festival, Gay Pride Festival, Arts Fest, Taste of Birmingham, Heritage Open Days, St Patricks Day, St Georges Day
  • Tour by Lady Mayoress, private hire tours for various companies including Curtins who have been involved in building over 20 of the major buildings within the city.
  • Kidney Appeal for Birmingham’s Children Hospital, Walk for Harry
  • Open Days for present and future students at Birmingham University, Aston University, UCB.
  • Themed events – Christmas Lights, Ghost Bus Tours, Tolkien Hobbit Bus tour.
  • Tickets donated for various events including charities such as St Mary’s Hospice, Leukaemia Care Charity and many more.
  • The Big Brum Buz took part in the Chinese New Year Festival in Solihull, St Patricks Day Festival in Birmingham and the BRMB Road Show at Aston Villa
  • In 2010 the bus went to Liverpool as part of the City of Culture bid
  • School tour for Hodge Hill School, Christ the King School, St Patricks School, transport for a High School Prom, tour for the Britain in Bloom competition, tour for the Ethnic Education and Advisory Service, special tour for the visit of Pope Benedict and the life of Cardinal Newman, took part in Heritage Open Days free of charge and was launched as one of the great things to do in Birmingham by Conference Aston.
  • Weddings for a number of happy couples - thank you very much.
  • Promotional bus for UK Athletics Day
  • Architectural tour for Velux, architectural tour for Weinerberger
  • Christmas Lights bus tour for Southside
  • Promotional bus tour for the Chinese New Year
  • Women 4 business tour with fish and chips at Chamberlains
  • Themed tennis tour for the Barber Institute
  • Promotional tour for the Birmingham Made Me Design exhibition at the Mailbox.
  • Tolkien themed tour for Bromsgrove School
  • Promotional tour for the Colmore Business District Food Festival
  • Open top bus tour from Aldridge to Walsall for Ellie Symonds - two times gold medal winner in the London Olympics 2012.

How you can use the bus:

  • Transport for a team celebration
  • Transport for a wedding
  • Wedding anniversary present
  • Birthday and special event present
  • Transport for a High School Prom
  • Promotional bus to make your event stand out from the crowd
  • Promotional bus used as a temporary stage
  • School educational tour
  • Organisation tour on a private basis or on a fixed time tour if you do not feel confident that you can get enough people to book the bus on a private basis
  • Standard Big Brum Open Top Buz Sightseeing tour or themed tour linked in with a visit to tourist attraction, restaurant, concert, sporting event, theatre, ballet, art gallery, heritage site, etc.
  • Promotional tour for delegates attending a conference
  • Promotional tour for potential and current students
  • Familiarisation tour for freshers

What has happened in 2013:

The bus has been operated by Kings Norton Coaches very successfully with two wonderful bus drivers Mick and Dawn who have given their help and support. Barry has also given his support from time time. He has a wealth of knowledge as he helps out at Wythall Bus Transport Museum. The bus ran every weekend from the end of April to the end of September and this year the weather has in general been very good. We did, however, have a very difficult and stressful time in the summer when the engine blew up. Eventually it was replaced with another Gardner engine from Bromyard in Herefordshire and overall the bus is functioning pretty well. New tyres and various other things have happened to add to the joy of running a bus! Yet again we have taken part in various wonderful events and occasions and in particular have enjoyed many successful school outings.


What it should do:



The concept is a chain bracelet – all of Birmingham’s people & places united together

  • Bus running as a `hop on hop off’ ticketed service on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Branded bus – your company & the bus `become one’ - promoting your company to a highly relevant target market and developing CSR image for greater public awareness.
  • Linking with the train stations to allow for the promotion of Days Out in Birmingham – the bus is an ambassador.
  • The bus to feature in all festivals and sporting events
  • The bus to work more with community organisations to develop everyone's identity with the city.
  • The bus working more with the community museums of Birmingham City Council to increase visitor numbers and awareness.


Birmingham had a sightseeing bus about 20 years ago operated by the main company in the business City Sightseeing. The time was right to have a bus again and this is what happened in 2009.

As a qualified Heart of England Blue Badge tour guide I was embarrassed that Birmingham did not have a bus as I see it as an essential requirement plus a walking tour to promote any city. The unique selling point of the Big Brum Buz is that it is the ONLY open top sightseeing bus tour in Birmingham offering a complete live guided one hour tour covering the major points of interest from both an historical, architectural, cultural and contemporary aspect.

The bus brings Birmingham in line with other major cities in the UK and abroad and the tour is hosted by expert qualified Heart of England Blue Badge Guides all of whom are passionate about Birmingham.

Having approached City Sightseeing and many other bus companies nobody was interested so I subsequently, bought a bus. Central Connect operated the bus in its first year as it requires an operator’s licence. In 2010 Johnsons Coaches took over the operation of the bus and in 2011 Kings Norton Coaches. As it is not possible to run the bus on a commercial basis I set up Friends of the Big Brum Buz. We need more friends to help with the running costs of the bus especially as it is an old bus needing maintenance. All income from Friends of the Big Brum Buzand any private hire work helps keep the bus on the road for the fixed date tours during the season.

How people in Birmingham benefit:

Succeed economically:

The bus can bring in visitors with the opportunity of `spend’. It specifically improves the opportunity of `spend’ within the region encouraging visitors to the NEC, ICC and NIA to stay longer. It helps the local economy, in particular, by linking all tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, shops, etc., via the bus stops connected to the travel network.

Stay safe in a clean and green city:

The bus makes people proud of their city emphasizing that the rest of the UK and the World see their city as a place of interest which is worth visiting. Their community has value and they want to belong.

Be Healthy:

The bus can be used to develop care and support for older people and vulnerable children and better support for people with long term conditions and their carers.

Enjoying a high quality of life:

It is an essential requirement for any city, offering a complete live guided one hour tour covering the major points of interest from both an historical, architectural, cultural and contemporary aspect. The bus links the renowned cultural and leisure opportunities that are available in the city.

Making a contribution:

It is accessible for all members of the community allowing for people from varying backgrounds to value one another. It forges links with all communities in Birmingham and can be seen as focal point helping all communities identify with the city.


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