Discover Birmingham

Just a few minutes’ train ride from our historic green campus, you will find Britain’s second largest city brimming with arts, culture and continuous discovery in the heart of the country. The vibrant city of Birmingham is your passport to a world of opportunity, less than two hours away from London. 

Try our Top 10 tips to enrich your English, Drama and American and Canadian studies in the city of Birmingham:

1. The Library of Birmingham – The Library of Birmingham is Europe’s largest public library. It received nearly 2 million visits in 2015 alone! The Library is a huge inspiration for anyone interested in the arts, hosting author events, literary workshops and spoken word performances. 

Library of Birmingham2. Theatres Galore – Birmingham’s theatres offer something for everyone, whether you want to watch a West End musical, the Birmingham Royal Ballet or the Welsh National Opera at the Hippodrome, new writing or classics at the REP, fringe performances at Blue Orange or even circus performance art at Rouge Play, you’ll be sure to find something to your taste.

3. ShakespeareStratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare and home to the Royal Shakespeare Company, is less than an hour away from campus. Our students take this opportunity to see world-class RSC performances of Shakespeare’s plays and to learn more about the Bard himself.

The Tempest

4. Cinemas Aplenty – If it’s our film modules that take your fancy then you’ll be pleased to hear that Birmingham has a wide variety of cinemas to choose from, showing everything from art house pictures to live screenings and holding special events. Choose from the oldest working cinema in the UK, The Electric, to the Everyman, MAC or The Mockingbird to name a few.

5. Sports, Sports, Sports – Birmingham offers sports fans both American Football and Ice Hockey Teams. So whether you’re already a sports enthusiast, want to see what all the fuss is about or even want to join a team, Birmingham has plenty to choose from. Check out Birmingham Bulls, Birmingham Lions, Solihull Barons and Birmingham Lions Ice Hockey.

6. Writing West MidlandsWriting West Midlands is an organisation which develops the talents of creative writers in all genres and of all ages. They also organise the Birmingham Literary Festival, the region’s biggest writing event, celebrating literature and the power of words.  

7. Flatpack Film Festival – If our plethora of cinemas still isn’t enough to fill your film appetite then fear not, Birmingham’s annual Flatpack Film Festival showcases a wide mixture of contemporary and classic films and performances.

Flatpack Film Festival

8. An Abundance of Bookshops – Birmingham has some fantastic bookshops such as Waterstones Birmingham and Foyles in Grand Central. They host book signings, Q&A evenings and workshops with talented authors including famous names, local talents and our very own lecturers like Creative Writing’s Dr Luke Kennard.

9. Arts Festivals – Birmingham’s theatres aren’t the only place to watch performances. Both the BE and Fierce Festivals host a variety of local and international performance art events in out-of-the-ordinary places.

Cirque Berserk

10. Birmingham Literature Festival – You may have noticed Birmingham enjoys a festival and being home to many famous writers, including Lord of the Rings’ J.R.R. Tolkien and poet Benjamin Zephaniah to name just a couple, it’s only fitting that the city celebrates its literary heritage with the Birmingham Literature Festival, showcasing household names and rising stars.  

[Image credits - 1. Library of Birmingham - Christian Richters; 2. The Tempest, RSC - Topher McGrillis; 3. Flatpack Film Festival - Greg Milner; 4. Cirque Berserk, The Rep - Piet Hein Out]