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Living in Birmingham

Explore what the city of Birmingham has to offer

As one of the original pioneering cities Birmingham has developed into a melting pot for shopping, food and drink, nightlife, sport, culture, and industry. Cadbury’s chocolate, The Bullring, Peaky Blinders, and the Balti are all synonymous with our city. Yet Birmingham has so much more to offer. The eyes of the world were on the city in 2022 as we hosted the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.  

Your City

With more parks than Paris, more miles of canal than Venice, the largest public library in the UK, world-class sports venues, the busiest single UK theatre, and the largest UK city economy outside London, Birmingham is the perfect creative playground, whatever your interests.

The Library of Birmingham
The Library of Birmingham provides a showcase for Birmingham's internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books.
Canals in Birmingham
Birmingham's waterways make the ideal escape to unwind in the middle of the busy city. There are plenty of green spaces, vibrant waterfront bars and restaurants and historic architecture to explore.
Cannon Hill Park is only a couple of miles from campus and includes 80 acres of formal parks, as well as 120 acres of conservation and woodland. It’s a brilliant place to enjoy a walk, run or cycle, or just to sit and relax in the Midlands Art Centre.
Birmingham city, with the Selfridges building, the Bull Ring, St Martin's Church and the Rotunda visible
The Bullring & Grand Central is the ultimate shopping destination in Birmingham. Welcoming thousands of visitors every week, Bullring & Grand Central offers a range of brands including the iconic Selfridges as well as LEGO, H&M Home, MAC and Arket.

Birmingham is such a great place to live, spend a day getting to know it and you'll fall in love

Kamil, from Redditch
Live music door sign at Birmingham venue

Music and nightlife 

When the sun goes down, Birmingham doesn’t sleep. From worldwide superstars at Resorts World Arena to indie nights at The Sunflower Lounge, and from classical performances at the Symphony Hall through to Northern soul at the Night Owl, whatever your tastes there is something here to suit you.

Comedy, poetry, spoken word, jazz, folk, pop, classical – our city is vibrant and diverse and whatever you like to do, you will find something that suits you and your lifestyle in Birmingham. 

In the summer there’s nothing better than relaxing with your friends and listening to amazing music in the sun, or exploring art, design, science or whatever it is that makes you tick. Birmingham is home to a variety of festivals for all seasons.

History and culture

Once famous for being the ‘city of a thousand trades’ Birmingham was a world-leading powerhouse for jewellery, toys and buckles, and the legacy of these trades carries on today – 40% of all of the UK’s handmade jewellery is still produced in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Since the industrial revolution, Birmingham has undergone a major transformation, with former industrial properties converted into some of Birmingham’s most exciting arts and nightlife spaces. 

Ikon Gallery front door

If you’re a culture vulture, Birmingham offers a fantastic range of galleries, museums, theatres and cultural assets to suit all tastes and to rival any major city. The Birmingham Hippodrome is the UK’s most popular single auditorium theatre, whilst Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has over 40 galleries and Ikon is an internationally acclaimed contemporary art venue. The Electric is the UK’s oldest working cinema showing cult classics and independent films, whilst the University has its very own fine art gallery on campus, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.  

Birmingham's Chinese Quarter at the Arcadian

Food and drink

Birmingham’s diversity is demonstrated in our culinary landscape, catering for every taste from all corners of the globe. The city was also voted one of the best holiday destinations in 2022, specifically for foodies! From the popular chains you would expect in any major city to unique and independent restaurants, there really is something here for everyone.

If you think your tastebuds can take it, explore the famous Balti Triangle, whilst if street food is more your thing then you can’t miss Digbeth Dining Club and its variety of pop-up venues. If fancy feasting is up your street then Birmingham has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any UK city outside of London, whilst pubs and bars are scattered through the city centre and the suburbs, from popular chains to independent cocktail bars. 

Out and about

The shopping experience in Birmingham is one of the best in the country, with people travelling far and wide to visit the famous Bullring. If you dig a little deeper you will find an amazing selection of independent boutiques and vintage clothing stores too. The best place to discover Birmingham’s independents is via Independent Birmingham, a great organisation dedicated to unearthing Birmingham’s hidden gems and best-kept secrets. 

Students riding bikes on campus

At the centre of the UK, Birmingham benefits from being a major cosmopolitan city with the beautiful countryside just a stone’s throw away. Most people travelling to the city land at Birmingham New Street train station, part of the Grand Central development. From New Street, you can reach all corners of the UK easily, including London in 90 minutes, and Stratford-Upon-Avon in under an hour - and most importantly, you can get to the University itself (which has its own train station helpfully called ‘University’) in just 7 minutes. 

With more parks than Paris and more miles of canal than Venice, there are lots of cycling and walking routes throughout the city, including a cycle route from the city centre straight through to the University. Home to a major international airport and surrounded by the UK’s network of motorways, no weekend trip is far away from Birmingham. 

Discover all of Birmingham's vibrant areas

Birmingham is more than just a city centre. We have a wide variety of lively, spirited and friendly suburbs surrounding the campus and across the city for you to explore.

Cafes on the high street of Moseley, a suburb of Birmingham
Moseley is just 2 miles from campus and is full of independent cafes, bars and restaurants. Moseley’s independent scene is popular with creatives and students alike, and with monthly farmer’s and arts markets it’s easy to see why.
Joe's bar at the Guild of Students, University of Birmingham
Selly Oak is the student village where most of our second and third year students choose to live when they move out of Halls after first year. It's an inclusive student community for all with plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants to choose from, as well as hairdressers, chemists and stationery stores, so you don’t have to venture too far for any of your needs.
Frontage of The Plough, a pub in Harborne
Harborne is just on the edge of campus and here you'll find supermarkets, fresh vegetable markets, pubs, restaurants and some of Birmingham’s most-loved independent establishments. Many students who prefer a relaxed village environment choose to live here in the labyrinth of side streets surrounding the main high street.
Digbeth Bar, Birdies
Digbeth was named ‘the coolest neighbourhood in Britain’ by The Sunday Times, and this former industrial quarter is now a hub of culture and creativity. Home to creative and digital businesses; mini golf experience with a difference, Ghetto Golf; bar experiences with arcade games, ping pong, curling, baseball, and even a giant adult ballpit; vintage clothes shops; and Digbeth’s newest indie cinema, the Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen.
Jewellery Quarter centre, with the large central clock and surrounded by bars and shops
The Jewellery Quarter is described by English Heritage as 'a national treasure' and remains a hub of industry, producing 40% of British jewellery to this day. If you explore the Jewellery Quarter you’ll find the Georgian streets littered with indie stores, trendy bars, art galleries and the much loved live music venue, the Jam House.

Keep exploring!

Here are some other websites you can use to explore what else Birmingham has to offer: