One of Europe’s most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. The city offers culture and diversity, and most of our students fall in love with the city – around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.
Gastro-capital of the country
Foodies love Birmingham for its diversity, boasting a melting pot of cultures and a flourishing ethnic restaurant scene. Catering to all tastes and budgets, the city is home to the famous Balti Triangle, a must-visit place for curry lovers. Birmingham's Chinese district sits alongside traditional pub grub, meaning you really are spoilt for choice.
Declared Britain's foodiest town by BBC food magazine ‘Olive’, Birmingham also boasts Michelin star restaurants Purnell's, Simpson's and Turner's for those with more expensive tastes. But our food festivals offer Michelin-starred food at student prices, and our monthly farmers’ market provides fresh, locally sourced produce. Those looking for a ‘foodie’ day out can head down to Moseley’s award-winning food markets to sample homemade Caribbean rum cake or enjoy a variety of fruit wines and ciders.
At Christmas, the popular Frankfurt Market arrives in the city, selling all kinds of gifts, jewellery, German mulled wine, beer and sausages.
Izzy, 2nd Year Student "Did you know that Birmingham was named food capital of the UK last year? Our University is right at the heart of this."
An eclectic arts scene
The city boasts a variety of art galleries, museums and live performances which play a central role to the life of the campus. The thriving cultural scene also includes concerts, student theatre, dance, volunteering and exhibitions, as well as events such as Birmingham Book Festival and Artsfest.
From contemporary art at the IKON, to classical music at the Symphony Hall; Birmingham offers a wealth of cultural highlights for everyone. Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham Hippodrome and The Alexandra Theatre all host large-scale productions while The Birmingham Royal Ballet is one of the UK's three major ballet companies (and the only one based outside London). The Custard Factory is a revolutionary arts and media quarter, hosting a creative community of artists and independent sellers, working in studios and galleries and surrounded by shops, cafes, clubs and bars.
Our campus is bursting with culture, featuring a range of rare books and archives, plus the largest collection of fossils, minerals and rocks in the Midlands. There is also a 450-seat concert hall and an arts and crafts house with botanic gardens. There are always lots of opportunities to get involved in cultural activities, from orchestras and choirs to more eclectic ensembles.
Being at university is about much more than studying and at the end of the day when you’re ready to hit the town you’re guaranteed a fun time in Birmingham! If you love to party then Broad Street is for you, with its half-mile stretch of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The Arcadian, set in the city’s China Town region, offers a more relaxed range of bars playing a variety of music.
There’s also a thriving gay village on Hurst Street, with plenty of bars and nightclubs. The area is renowned for its vibrant and friendly atmosphere and is the heart of the city’s annual gay pride celebrations.
If you prefer something less mainstream, head to Digbeth where you’ll find the city’s alternative night spots, where partying tends to go on until the early hours.
Home to the iconic Bullring shopping centre and Selfridges, as well as smaller shopping complexes The Mailbox, The Pallasades and The Pavilions, Birmingham is a haven for shoppers, with everything from famous brands to independent labels across the city’s shops.
Explore the second-hand and vintage shops in Digbeth, where you’ll discover hidden gems and big bargains. Birmingham’s world-famous Jewellery Quarter is also well worth a visit, with around 400 shops producing around 40% of the UK’s jewellery.
Alongside its restaurants and bars, Birmingham is a hive of live entertainment, with several music venues across the city, including the O2 Academy, The Institute, National Indoor Arena (NIA) and National Exhibition Centre (NEC).
Smaller independent venues such as The Flapper host emerging new talent. Muse and The Editors are just some the acts that have played there in their early careers.
Birmingham also boasts one of Europe’s finest concert halls, Birmingham Symphony Hall, home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Hannah, History Student "There are loads of great places in Birmingham to see amazing live music...an amazing selection of mainstream music to obscure bands."
The Bramall Music Building
With the opening of the £16 million Bramall Music Building in September 2012, the University has embarked on an exciting musical journey. The 450-seat auditorium is the most flexible performance space at a UK university – suitable for performances from solo voice, early music, to a full symphony orchestra. When not used for music, it’s a high-profile location for drama and dance performance and for prestigious lectures.
The University offers a number of scholarships in Music, each worth £1,000 a year to students who plan to start their studies at Birmingham. The scholarships are available to any academic subject (however you must not be studying a programme offered by the Department of Music). The awards are open to home undergraduate students only and will be tenable for three years, subject to satisfactory academic progression at 2:1 standard.
Professor Andrew Kirkman, Head of Music "The Bramall Music Building is a fantastic shot in the arm for our music programmes, which are rapidly going from strength to strength. It provides us with a platform to build a fine music department into one of the world's best: we are very excited about what the future holds."
Boasting a strong sporting heritage, Birmingham and the region is home to three football clubs – Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City – the world-famous Edgbaston cricket ground and the Warwickshire County cricket ground.
The National Indoor Arena holds international events such as the Davis Cup and the World Athletics Championships, while the famous Belfry golf course is a short drive away, four time hosts to The Ryder Cup.
The University played host to the 2012 Olympic Jamaican track and field team when they used the Edgbaston campus as their pre-Olympic training ground.
Usain Bolt "I'd like to say all the big up to Birmingham, the University. That’s where we trained, they really supported us. We got everything possible. We got indoor facilities, the gym and everything so, for me, it’s an honour. Thank you guys for everything you have done for me, really. Thank you."
However, sport is not just for elite athletes. University of Birmingham Sport (UBSport) offers you the opportunity to participate in a sports programme to suit your skill level. We are one of the UK’s leading sporting universities, regularly finishing in the top three of the British Universities and Colleges Sport leagues. You can get involved in any of our elite sporting clubs or simply try your hand at beginner classes across a range of activities.
Our Active Lifestyle programme of fitness classes is one of the largest of its kind in the UK, offering a wide range of aerobic, holistic, toning and dance classes. Our award-winning Thrive team also offer free lifestyle assessments and can advise you how to get fit and healthy. We also have a full-time Sport Volunteering Manager to support over 300 students volunteering in the community.
Sport in the future
The University is investing in a £55million major new Sports Centre, which will include a 50m swimming pool, the only one in the city.
It will feature sports halls and training areas that will be used by regional amateur sports clubs, local schools and our staff and students.