The local area

If you’re planning to live in private accommodation in areas around the University, you have some of the most beautiful, exciting and emerging suburbs to explore.

There are some key areas, all within 15 minutes’ transport from campus, which encircle our Edgbaston campus: Selly Oak, Edgbaston, Moseley, Harborne and Bournville. These villages are surrounded by smaller areas that are affordable, lively and easily accessible by public transport.

On our campus doorstep, Selly Oak is a key student area, with houses and flats alongside plenty of affordable family homes. Bristol Road and Pershore Road are two of the main roads into the city centre, with green spaces found in Selly park, Cannon Hill park, home to the Midlands Arts Centre and next door to Edgbaston cricket ground.

One of the closest areas to the University is Harborne, which is within walking distance from both the University and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and is easily accessible to and from the city centre via several bus routes.

Selly Oak

With the University of Birmingham on the doorstep, Selly Oak has a bustling, cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are several major supermarket chains on the Bristol Road for stocking up with essentials, while the Battery Retail Park is home to national DIY chains, electrical and fashion outlets. There are independent shops nearby including grocers, home stores, hairdressers, cafés, pubs and restaurants.

Selly Oak is easy to find by car and very well served by public transport links. 

A number of bus routes run along Bristol Road including: 61, 63 and X64.  Additionally, a number of services cut across the area at Battery Retail Park.  These include 11 Outer Circle2076 and 84.  Selly Oak train station, which also benefits from free parking, is well signposted and offers regular trains into the city centre and other local stations. 


Edgbaston contains a variety of properties, green areas and commercial spaces. It remains the premier residential district close to the City Centre. An area of great diversity, it contains some of the most desirable housing in the City. 

There are several sites of nature conservation in Edgbaston, including the Edgbaston Reservoir, the Winterbourne House and Garden and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The area also hosts the stunning Cannon Hill Park, as well as the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, home to several international games and competitions. The commercial area along Hagley Road and around Five Ways is packed with a variety of retail chains (most known supermarkets have a presence there), as well as independent retailers and service providers (such as hairdressers or dry cleaners). Five ways and the adjacent Broad Street also form one of the city's biggest social scenes, with plenty of cafes, restaurants, bars, a bowling alley and cinemas.

Edgbaston is also well connected to the University campus and the city centre. It is served by the Five Ways train station as well as several bus services. The X64 will take you to the city centre and  Selly Oak, while the 22 and 24 buses will connect Edgbaston with Harborne.       

Harborne area

A little further from the city centre, Harborne has a youthful population and a good supply of pubs and restaurants alongside bookshops, independent cafes and gift shops. The high street includes the new Harborne Food School in an old, red-brick school building. It’s also home to two of Birmingham’s favourite independent pubs, The Plough and The New Inn.

Central Harborne is situated on the B4 124 High Street just 3 miles from the centre of Birmingham. With over 700 car park spaces in Harborne centre, the village is easily accessible by car. If using a Sat Nav, the postcode B17 9NP will guide you to the centre.

Harborne is very well served by bus services, with the 48 offering direct travel from Harborne to the University. The nearest train station to Harborne center is the University station situated 15 minutes’ walk away on the edge of the University of Birmingham campus.

Bordering Edgbaston and Harborne, Bearwood is just a 12 minute bus ride (via the 11C) to our Edgbaston campus via Harborne. With a monthly farmers’ market, the annual Bearwood street festival and a former bank, The Midland, that has been recently restored as a real ale pub, Bearwood thrives as the cheaper alternative to Harborne.

The busy high street is packed with shops, restaurants and take-aways and there is a lively music scene spanning the area’s small pubs and bars. Bearwood also boasts two beautiful parks: Warley Woods is a community-owned and maintained park and golf course, while Lightwoods Park is home to the carefully restored Lightwoods House, bandstand and park– the site of many outdoor festivals in the summer months.  

Moseley and Kings Heath

Moseley, which was recently named the best place to live in the UK, has a village feel and its surrounding areas are popular with students and young professionals. Although a little harder to access due to its lack of train line, frequent buses run though the village, and its surrounding, cheaper areas are popular with students and young professionals.

Moseley hosts two fantastic annual music festivals within its park: Moseley Folk Festival and Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul. These popular festivals welcome visitors to enjoy local food and drink while watching international artists; all in a unique, picturesque setting.

Just a little further out from Moseley, Kings Heath is its cheaper sister, with a bustling high street of large chains alongside small independents. The district’s Hare and Hounds pub is one of Birmingham’s best-loved live music venues and there’s a popular monthly street food market. Kings Heath and Highbury parks add further greenery to the city.

Moseley is located on the A435 approximately four miles south from Birmingham City Centre. It is well served by public transport, with the 1A stopping on Bristol Road close to our Edgabaston Campus. From Kings Heath, there are several routes to the University via the 11 Outer Circle (11C) and 76 bus routes. 

Bournville area

Bournville model village was designed to house workers at the Cadbury chocolate factory. Founded by Quakers, this suburb is lacking in pubs (but Stirchley and Cotteridge make up for this just next door), though beauty abounds in its tree-lined streets, along the Worcester and Birmingham canal and taking in the Rowheath playing fields and pavilion.

Near Bournville and Kings Heath, Stirchley and Cotteridge are growing in popularity as cheaper alternatives. Some exciting, independent businesses have emerged as a result. Specialist off-licences Stirchley Wines and Cotteridge Wines have become destinations for craft beer fans, while foodies are attracted to the cookery school at Loaf community bakery.

Bournville train station is just a few minutes from University station, and Stirchley high street is under three minutes' walk from the station. Bus routes include the 11C, X64, 98 and 84, while Stirchley also offers the 45 and 27 routes.

City centre living

Apartments can be found in three main areas of the city centre: The Mailbox, Digbeth and the Jewellery Quarter. The Jewellery Quarter, with a population of 6,000 and growing, offers 18th- and 19th-century terraces and townhouses, as well as flats in large, converted factories.

There’s a vibrant atmosphere around St Paul’s Square and along Warstone Lane, with an abundance of pubs, bars and restaurants. Under the railway arches of Birmingham Snow Hill you can find independent restaurants, wine shops and a bakery.

The modern developments surrounding The Mailbox are home to many one- and two-bedroom apartments, all providing access to one of Birmingham’s busiest nightlife spots alongside the canal.

Just a short walk from New Street, the Bull Ring and the new Eastside city-centre park is Digbeth, a former industrial area and home to Birmingham’s Irish community, now emerging as Birmingham’s creative quarter with the Custard Factory shopping centre and workspace at its heart.

Other areas in which flats and apartments can be found are Brindleyplace and the surrounding canal areas, which have shops, restaurants and local amenities close by.

Things to do in the city

Birmingham is no longer transforming; it is transformed. With independent restaurants, shops and bars throughout the centre and popular districts around the city, this new and vibrant Birmingham is nestled among local markets, iconic buildings of our industrial heritage and contemporary architecture such as the new Library of Birmingham.

New bars and shops open frequently as the city continues to build its youthful and unique identity. There is so much diversity and history within Birmingham that the shops, food and venues reflect this. Old icons such as the Custard Factory host alternative shops and bars, just a short walk from the famous Birmingham wholesale fish and rag markets, all of which nestle close to the new Grand Central train station and shopping precinct. 

Our favourite Birmingham blogs

A great way to explore the city you are considering as your new home is to hear from its locals. Many of Birmingham's residents have rediscovered their city thanks to the blogs and sites below. Discover Birmingham for yourself and find out why we think you should call it home.

Independent Birmingham (blog)

Independent Birmingham is dedicated to unearthing Birmingham's hidden gems and best-kept secrets, touring the city in search of the unique and the inspiring. A blog-based site, the team regularly review and revisit the independent shops, restaurants, bars and unique spots in and around Birmingham.

A membership card for Independent Birmingham gives you access to discounts and inspiration to explore Birmingham's lesser known aspects, discovering – or rediscovering– the city.

I Choose Birmingham (weekly e-news)

I Choose Birmingham is the award-winning creation of Birmingham-born writer and editor, Tom Cullen. Tom was Associate Editor at the UK’s biggest upmarket men’s magazine, ShortList, before becoming editor of and Editor-In-Chief of London-focused e-magazine, Mr Hyde.

Having moved back to Birmingham and advocate the great city of Birmingham, Tom launched I Choose Birmingham, a high-end magazine for men and women that’s emailed to its 13,000 readers once a week, bringing the very best things to do in and around this incredible city.

From popular food nights such as Digbeth Dining Club, to cultural gems such as Ikon gallery and the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) and the many music festivals and sports on offer, Birmingham is a fantastic city in which to live and study.