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Hobart Islamic Centre 166 Warwick St Hobart 7000 Tasmania Australia
(03) 6234 6998
All prayers including formal jum'a
As the second biggest city in the UK, Birmingham has been attracting many tourists to visit every year. In 2016, 39 million tourists visited Birmingham, which is the highest number of visitors to date - an increase of 2.5% from that in 2015 (Birmingham Mail). With its many attractions, which many can be classed as hidden gems, and a host of many international sports events such as All England badminton tournament and International cricket tournament, Birmingham can expect the number of its visitor to continue rising year on year. As one of the most culturally-diverse cities in the UK, many visitors, domestic and international, came to visit their families who live here permanently or study in many internationally-recognized universities in and around Birmingham, such as University of Birmingham, Aston University, University of Warwick, etc. Apart from these, the number of visitors that come purely for Birmingham and West Midlands tourist attractions have also increased. Especially for Muslim visitors, as Birmingham provides many excellent facilities and conveniences catered to Muslim visitors. Indeed, Birmingham is actively inviting tourists from Muslim countries to visit, too. So what do you need to prepare before you visit Birmingham to ensure you have a Muslim-friendly travel experience? Credit - Giphy.com 1. Your Travel Documentation Picture Credit - http://visitbirmingham.com Besides passport with at least six-month validity, you may check with the UK embassy in your country whether you may require a visa to visit the UK. UK tourist visas are required for passport holders of some countries. In this regard, some Commonwealth countries like Singapore or Malaysia have the convenience of being able to visit the UK without requiring a tourist visa, while other Commonwealth countries may need a visa, as well as other southeast Asian countries apart from the two abovementioned countries. Should you need one, the UK tourist visa will need to be applied at a local office of the international agency appointed by the UK government, VFS Global, which handles all visa application to the UK. Check their website for all the documents required for application; you may need to book your return flight to the UK and show proof of funds as part of the document required. Make sure you apply for the UK tourist visa well ahead of your planned visit, to allow for the visa processing time, which can take about 10-15 working days. 2. Itinerary You can opt to arrange your tour itineraries yourself or you can save time by arranging your itineraries via a travel agency near you that provide halal tour packages. Halal Trip Tour Travel is the best choice in this case as they arrange your trip to make it a satisfying halal trip experience, i.e. in preparing which place/attraction to visit, mosques along the way and recommended halal food establishments. In this regard, it will be beneficial for you to plan your trip 3-5 months ahead as this will help you get the best deal on airfare and accommodation rate. Many airlines offer cheap airfare packages for a trip well ahead in the future so this will help you with getting the most out of your budget. Similarly, you can make substantial savings in accommodation costs if you book well ahead. You could choose to stay at a hotel, apartment, B&B from trusted websites, where many of them offer no cancellation fee until one day before check-in date. This is also an important part to get your UK visa as you will have to provide accommodation evidence. 3. Tips for choosing your accommodation: Choose a place to stay that is located near to the train station or in the city centre to ensure easy access to all parts of the city. The city centre area also provides an easy access to halal food restaurants, supermarkets and place to pray. Search for the reputable 3 or 4-star hotel chains that provide you with vegetarian breakfast. It will help you to start your day in the morning since most halal food stalls or restaurants are only open after 10 am in the morning. Most of the B&Bs here do not provide vegetarian breakfast, so it's better for you to stay in the hotel that provides one. Or if you stay in one of the B&B or rent an apartment to stay in buying your halal supplies from a big chain supermarket. Find World Food alley and you'll find lots of Halal brands there. Check whether they provide wi-fi access in the hotel; specifically, whether they provide-room wi-fi access or just in common area (as some UK B&Bs are only provide one in the common area) and whether it is paid or free (many UK hotels charge about £3 per day). This is very important during your travel here to make your communication easier. Again, Halal Trip can assist you in this essential preparation so you'll have less to worry about. 4. Local Currency Buy and bring necessary Poundsterling before you go. Always check for the best rate prior to travel. If you have better conversion rate in your country then it is more beneficial to buy more Poundsterling prior to travelling rather than exchange your money it in the UK. However, you have to be extra careful if you bring more cash. Alternatively, you can buy Poundsterling traveller's cheque in your country instead. Additionally, bring your credit card with you. If you shop at most big stores in the UK, you can claim Value Added Tax (VAT) refund at the airport or at several tax refund counters. They will ask you to fill the tax refund form with your credit card details. Some large department stores and shopping centres have their own dedicated tax refund counters to process this form and refund the money to you instantly provided that you return the form duly stamped in the airport tax refund counters later on, whilst some will only prepare the form. In the latter, you have to return the form in tax refund counters in the airport and they will credit the tax refund to your credit card later in a week or more. Therefore, it is important to check with the stores' customer service which tax refund process that they do. The latter process takes more time though so make sure to arrive early before your departure time to process this. 5. Tourist Attraction Guides in Birmingham Picture Credit - dayoutwiththekids.co.uk From museums, shopping places, castles, theme parks, British botanical gardens, science centre to football stadiums, Birmingham and its suburbs have all these attractive places for you to visit. Therefore, plan your holiday wisely so you can visit all that interest you. Information about these places is provided in this link. However, as a local, I recommend you to also visit a beautiful English little town named Stratford-upon-Avon. It is the birthplace of the famous writers, Shakespeare, and it is only 30 minutes drive or by train from Birmingham. Another place that will amaze you is Warwick Castle in Warwick. This is also 30 minutes drive or by train from Birmingham. 6. Halal Restaurants or Foodstalls around Birmingham You can explore many websites which provide you with information about this. For example Halal Food In Birmingham UK or here. Print all the information or save them on your mobile or laptop/tablet. 7. Check the Salath Timetable for Birmingham during Your Stay Picture Credit- Birminghammail.co.uk You can get this from Birmingham Local Masjid website which provides this info on their website. Check this link for the Masjid info and Salath timetable. 8. Transportation In Birmingham. a. Birmingham Airport - City Centre and return by bus, taxi and train - Taxi. Outside the arrival gate, you will find a taxi stand. Just pushed your luggage trolley there and ask the taxi driver to take you to your hotel. The taxis that queue there are a London taxi type (classic taxi type) so it is big enough to bring you and your luggage to your hotel or whatever the place that you're planning to stay in. The fare from/to Birmingham Airport - City Centre is around £25-30 (one way) - Bus. You can catch bus no X1 at bus shelter J directly outside Terminal 1. T his Bus will take you to the Birmingham City Centre in about 30 minutes and the fare is £2.40 per person or £8 for a group of five. Then you can take a taxi to your hotel, or walk if your hotel is close enough to the city centre. - Train. You can take a train from Birmingham International train station which is connected to the airport, The train takes about 15 minutes to Birmingham New Street station at the city centre for about £6 per person. Then you can get a taxi to your hotel or walk if your hotel is within walking distance from the station. b. Transportation in and around Birmingham. Picture Credit - birminghammail.co.uk - Rent a car. If you have a credit card and driver license you can rent a car while here. In the UK, you can use your valid driver license from any country for one year. It's easy to rent a car here, just browse one of the rental car websites and follow the instruction therein. You can pick up and later drop the car back at the airport. You'll need your credit card for the deposit (which is usually £300). Do not forget to ask for a GPS for your car, which you can get for an additional fee. You'll need it most of the time during your drive here. - Public Transport Bus & Train: This link provides you with all the information you need about using Public Bus and Train during your stay in Birmingham / around the UK. If you want to avoid a headache going through all the troubles in preparing the itinerary, you can arrange your trip via Halal Trip Website. They will help you to arrange everything mentioned above so you'll only have to prepare your passport, baggage and fund for this trip. You'll be sure to have a memorable trip, in shaa Allaah. ...
The 8th Rugby World Cup will be hosted by England from the 18th of September to the 31st of October 2015. While you follow your team on its way up the ladder, hopefully to the finals, there’s lots to see and do in between matches at all 13 venues! Birmingham – With such a large population of Muslims in Birmingham, having a Halal trip is much easier! With the matches being played in Birmingham City Stadium and Villa Park, choose from the wide range of restaurants around, like Caspian Pizza, Big John’s, or even the closest KFC or Subway. The Birmingham Central Mosque is your stop to pray. Be amazed with Cadbury World, the National Sea Life Centre, or Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum that gets the wheels in your brain turning, or go back in time when you visit Warwick Castle, where the ancient myths and tales will keep you mesmerized. If you’re looking for something to do, Broadway Plaza will keep you occupied, jam-packed with fun for the whole family, when you’re taking a break from rugby. Brighton – Brighton is a seaside town, so spend your days on the beach – making sure to stay away from the designated nudist beach, or the Palace Pier for shopping and entertainment. The Lanes host mostly jewellery shops, with a splattering of cafés, and a bunch of Italian restaurants, but the setting reflects the history of the original fishing village. In between the two matches played at the Brighton Community Stadium, if you’re looking for unique places to shop at, drop by North Laine; but if you wish to see your familiar stores in one place, Churchill Square Shopping Centre is a must-visit. Explore underwater life at the Sea Life Centre, or climb the Foredown Tower for exotic views of the place. Despite the diverse population in Brighton, there is a Muslim community that meets at the Al-Quds Brighton Mosque, and they offer a selection of Halal food places like Green Coombe Deli, Makara (a Turkish restaurant), Infinity Foods Kitchen which is a slightly pricey but delicious vegetarian restaurant, or Pizza Di Roma or Efes Kebab for fast food and takeaway. Cardiff – Even though Cardiff is not technically England (it is the capital of Wales), the people’s passion for the sport means that it will also play host to six matches, in addition to two quarter-finals. While you’re there, make sure to soak up the history at Cardiff Castle, a fortress that is around 2000 years old and the ‘Jewel in Cardiff’s Crown’. Be sure to drop by the Farmer’s Market, visit the museums, or take part in water sports for a bit of adventure. Madina Mosque is just one of the many to be found in Cardiff, as well as Al Manar Centre. Eat at Grill N Shake – which boasts the best halal steak in the UK, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Blue Ginger, or 1Malaysian Cuisine Restaurant which is the closest to Millenium Stadium. Exeter – With a growing capacity at the Sandy Park stadium that is set to host three matches this World Cup, Exeter balances their passion for the sport with the rich history within it. Take the time to explore the gorgeous countryside, or tour The Underground Passages – old underground pipelines – to add a bit of spook and adventure, in this historic Roman city. If you’ve ever wanted to be in one of those scenic images you see online, Dartmoor National Park is the place to go. If you want to take it easy and do a bit of shopping, try Princesshay, Fore Street, Gandy Street or Harlequins Shopping Centre for an eclectic mix of stores and architecture. Be sure to eat at Blue Eyed BBQ, or Herbies, a vegetarian restaurant, both of which are slightly away from Sandy Park. If you happen to find Halal restaurants closer, add them to HalalTrip app to benefit others! The Mosque and Islamic Centre for the South West is the major masjid in the area. Gloucester – Known for its medieval cathedral, also the birthplace of royalty, Gloucester is set to host four games. When you’re not at Kingsholm Stadium supporting your team, take a stroll through the Historic Docks that hosts Victorian warehouses, museums, shopping and more; the Waterways, where you might catch a Severn Bore – a natural wave surge that is a spectacular phenomenon; or the Ski Centre if you’re looking for a little activity. Cathedral Quarter has quirky shops that are good for souvenirs and keepsakes. Mermaid Fish & Chips is the closest Halal food to the stadium, or you can take the time to make it to Mumtaz or Chutney’s Indian Takeaway. Masjid-E-Noor is the local mosque in the heart of Gloucester. Leeds – Starkly different from the rich historic countryside’s of the previous cities, Leeds takes you back to the modern world. Take advantage of that with ample shopping all within walking distance at the compact city centre, or viewing modern art at the Leeds Art Gallery. If the rugby fanatic in you doesn’t want to take a break even when your team is not playing, take the Headingley Heritage Tour that showcases some of the best historic moments in sports in Leeds, in addition to a behind-the-scenes tour to one of the most unique stadiums in the world. Connect with nature by relaxing at Roundhay Park or Harewood House. Graveleys Fish & Chips is the closest Halal eating place to Elland Road Stadium, but you can also eat at the Leeds chain of Mumtaz, or hit Safran (a Persian restaurant), or Café Moor for Middle Eastern food. Masjid Ibraheem Leeds and Jamia Masjid Abu Huraira are the closest ones to the stadium, or you can stop at Leeds Makkah Masjid or Leeds Grand Mosque if you happen to take the Headingley tour. Leicester – Leicester City Stadium is hosting three matches in October, so in the days in between them, visit the King Richard III Visitor Centre to learn more about his life and death, the New Walk Museum to discover dinosaurs, ancient Egypt, Picasso and local culture, the National Space Centre to take you out of this world, the Twycross Zoo – one of the top ten zoos in Britain, or the Jewry Wall, one of the tallest surviving pieces of Roman masonry. Shop at Highcross & John Lewis, The Lanes and Leicester Market, the latter of which is 800 years old, and The Golden Mile, which is like a mini-Asia in the spice and jewellery department. Eat at the familiar Subway or KFC, or look up Vanilla Pod or Lahore Kebab if you want Pakistani food. Big John’s if you want to stay British, Nana’s Asian Cuisine for Sri Lankan, or ADMA Shawarma for Lebanese. Visit Leicester Central Mosque or Masjid Umar in the vicinity of Leicester City Stadium. London – London has marked three different venues to host over 15 matches, including the quarter finals, semi finals and finals. Spanning from The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Stadium in Brent, to Wembley Stadium in Newham, to Twickenham Stadium in Richmond, take advantage of your stay in London to explore the city. Take a behind-the-scenes Wembley Stadium Tour, or connect with nature at Queen’s Park or Gladstone Park if you’re at Brent. Stroll along the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park or visit the London Aquatics Centre if you’re in Newham. Visit Hampton Court Palace, Ham House and Gardens for history, or Richmond Park or the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for rustic charm. Take a boat ride on the Thames, or spend the day as a family at the Strawberry Hill House, Orleans House Gallery, or WWT London Wetland Centre if you want something to do. Shopping stops across the three areas include Golden Court and Paved Court in Richmond, Westfield Stratford City, Stratford City and Indoor Market, and Queen’s Market at Upton Park in Newham, and Brent Cross Shopping Centre and Queens Parade in Brent. Take your pick of cuisines and restaurants from Pod, Chicken Cottage, Wrap it up!, Cinnamon Kitchen, Labeneats, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Ned’s Noodle Bar and more. There are over 420 mosques in London, London Muslim Mosque and London Central Mosque included. Manchester – Manchester City Stadium is hosting just one match, but don’t miss out on taking advantage of the city while you’re there! Soak in the culture at The Whitworth and HOME – for art, culture, and theatre; head to the Manchester Museum, Chester Zoo, and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester with the kids; explore the countryside at Tatton Park, The Peak District, or on a steam railway journey with East Lancashire Railway; or go shopping on Market Street, Manchester Arndale, or Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Eat at Archie’s, Steak ‘n’ Shakes, Tampopo, Paan House, The Grill, Taste Masters, and more. Manchester Mosque and Makki Masjid Manchester are the central mosques and learning centres. Milton Keynes – If you’re in Milton Keynes for the games at Stadium MK, set aside time to have an adventure with the many attractions on offer. Spend time with the wildlife at Woburn Safari Park, entertain yourself with extreme sports, leisure and food at Xscape, bounce off the walls at Bounce, or keep the kids occupied at Gulliver’s Land or Snozone. Shop at intu MK, eat at Nando’s, Sizzling Grillz, or Subway, and pray at Masjid Al-Rawdha or Jamee Masjid. Newcastle – Home of the world’s only tilting bridge, the Gateshead Millenium Bridge is a must see. Check out the art in The Angel of the North, or take a selfie with the Tyne Bridge, emblazoned with the Rugby World Cup 2015 brand. Explore Newcastle Castle – where it gets its name from, Hadrian’s Wall, and Alnwick Castle and Gardens that feature in the Harry Potter movies. Stimulate your brain at the Life Science Centre, and Seven Stories, National Centre for Children’s Books. Shop at intu Metrocentre, Grainger Town and Fenwick; eat at Subway, Nando’s, and KFC, or the now-familiar Chicken Cottage and more. Newcastle Central Mosque is one of the few mosques in the city. Rugby – This town in Warwickshire is not hosting any games, but while you’re in the country, it’s worth a visit to find out more about the sport at its birthplace. Make sure you put Rugby School, Webb Ellis Rugby Football Museum, and Rugby Art Gallery and Museum on your list of educational stops. Visit Warwick Castle, home to spellbinding history, battles, myths and knights; and Drayton Manor for a day of fun at the theme park. King of Tandoor, Gyro Café, Bahar Masala and India Place are amongst other restaurants that serve Halal food. Stop by Rugby Mosque for your prayers. With all the information available here, make your trip easier by downloading the HalalTrip App to locate various Halal eating places, and masjids around you, as well as attractions close to you. Be sure to add new locations on the app so that others can benefit from it too! ...