Self Guided Campus Tours
Explore our Edgbaston campus at your convenience
Welcome to the University of Birmingham! This guide provides information about the University and its facilities to help you conduct your own self guided tour around the campus, download our campus map to get started. We hope you enjoy your visit to the University of Birmingham and you learn something new on your tour of our campus.
The University of Birmingham has a long history of academic excellence and innovation and we are proud to have been the first civic university, where students from all religions and backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis. Our spirit of innovation continues today with groundbreaking research in areas ranging from cancer studies to gravitational waves. As well as receiving excellent teaching quality, the experience at Birmingham also equips students for life beyond the University. The University is consistently targeted by the top graduate employers who want to recruit our students for their programmes.
The University is a safe, friendly environment with a mix of sculptures, striking architecture, and a range of facilities and amenities for students, staff and visitors. Measuring over 12 acres, the Green Heart opens up the centre of campus providing a unique space for performances, socialising and studying. Within the University, our student community of over 33,000 students is composed of representatives from over 150 different countries. We are also a founder member of Universitas 21, a network of research-intensive universities conducting research projects around the world.
Today you will see some of the attractions of our campus, however, we’d also encourage you to explore the city centre to see everything that Birmingham has to offer. The University, with its own railway station, is only two stops and eight minutes from the city centre.
1. The start of your tour: the Aston Webb Building (R6) and the clock tower
We suggest you start the tour at the Aston Webb Building. This guide contains some highlights of our campus, each description matches the building numbers shown on the map. The tour will take you around the campus in a circular direction terminating at University railway station.
Looking directly across Chancellor’s Court, you see the red-brick Law Building (R1) and the architecturally distinctive Muirhead Tower (R21) rising up behind it. Following the Aston Webb Building round to your right, you will arrive at The Bramall music building (R12)
2. The Bramall (R12)
The Bramall was constructed and opened in 2012 to complete Joseph Chamberlain’s original architectural vision to create a semi-circle of red-brick buildings. It is the home of our Department of Music with state-of-the-art teaching, research, performance and rehearsal facilities appropriate to its reputation. This facility benefits everyone involved in the University’s music department while also being open for use by communities across the region, broadening the University’s impact beyond the students who study here.
The 450-seat auditorium, designed by the renowned acoustician Nicholas Edwards, is a flexible space, suitable for performances from solo voice and early music, to a full symphony orchestra. When not used for music, it is a high-profile location for drama and dance performance, and for lectures.
The next part of your journey around campus will take you to our Sports & Fitness Centre. Take the steps at the right-hand side of The Bramall down towards Ring Road South. Cross over the Ring Road and you will see University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness. To avoid the steps, walk towards University Road East and turn right at the end of this road onto the Ring Road and follow it to the bottom of the hill.
3. University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness (O7)
Sport & Fitness is the University of Birmingham’s state-of-the-art sports centre. The facility is home to Birmingham’s only 50-metre, Olympic-length swimming pool, a gym with over 200 stations, a climbing wall, an arena sports hall and six glass-backed squash courts. Birmingham has a proud sporting history. Every year, we have students who compete for the University at the top end of the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) league nationally and internationally. We even have a few students and graduates who have competed in the Olympics. This summer we will host the Squash and Hockey competitions for the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to support the most talented athletes financially, physically and mentally, in addition to providing access to a High Performance Centre. However, we also provide sporting opportunities for complete beginners to take up a new sport, to play casually and keep fit. Students can choose from a range of Sport & Fitness membership packages as well as a flexible exercise class programme.
Adjacent to Sport & Fitness, you can see the Bournbrook sports pitches. Many of our competitive sports teams train and play fixtures here, but they can also be booked by students for recreational sport. You can find the next stop by walking along the Ring Road towards East Gate, and you will find the Guild of Students (O2).
4. The Guild of Students (O1)
The Guild of Students is the students’ union, run by students, for students. It represents and involves all the University’s students, from undergraduate and postgraduate, to home and international. It provides services such as Job Skills and Volunteering, which helps students to find volunteering opportunities and part-time jobs during term-time and the holiday’s. There is also Worklink, which helps students find temporary jobs on campus and the Guild Advice Service, which offers impartial and confidential advice, information and representation on a range of issues from housing to wellbeing.
Both of these services exist as another level of support offered to students alongside the Aston Webb Student Hub. The Guild also supports the diverse student-led clubs and societies of which there are over 250 to choose from! In addition, The Guild manages a number of student-led communications platforms: campus TV and radio stations and Redbrick, the student newspaper. The Guild also organises large-scale annual social events such as Welcome Week to help new students settle in, the Vale Fireworks in November, and Graduation Ball in June. There are also weekly club and sports nights in the students’ union bar
Another place to see is Winterbourne House and Garden (G12), which can be found further down the main road (walking along Edgbaston Park Road with King Edward’s School on your right). This heritage attraction is set within seven acres of beautiful and tranquil botanic gardens with over 6,000 plant species from around the world. There is an admission charge although students are eligible for free entry. Alternatively, you could visit the Barber Institute of Fine Arts (R14) just over the road from the Guild, where admission is free. It is one of the world’s finest small art galleries, containing works from the 13th to the 20th centuries from Monet to Degas and offering another peaceful escape on campus for students. The Barber Institute also hosts music events and lectures and family events throughout the year.
On leaving the Guild, for the next stop head back towards the main campus, by following the road towards University Square. This route will take you past the Barber Institute on your right-hand side, later passing between the School of Mathematics in the Watson Building (R15) on your right and the Physics Department in the Poynting Building (R13) on your left.
5. Library (R30)
As you cross University Square, you will see the striking gold building that is the Main Library. This building opened in 2016 and is one of six University-owned libraries across the campus and region, with others based in departments such as the Barnes Library in the Medical School, or off campus such as at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. The Main Library facility is open 24/7 during term time and offers robust Wi-Fi, a power point at every desk and there is a help desk should any issues arise.
There are more than 2 million books in the Main Library, as well as half a million electronic books and 50,000 electronic journals. Specialist subject advisers provide advice to students on finding and making effective use of the information and resources. There is also the Academic Skills Centre located in the Library, which offers support to students across the academic disciplines from mathematical technique to academic writing, in addition to the support available to students within their departments.
The area around the Library and the University Square has been transformed into the ‘Green Heart’, restoring the campus to its original design by Sir Aston Webb at the start of the 20th century with a large green open space. From here you can see across to the Arts Building (R16) and can again see the Muirhead Tower (R21) rising above campus. Directly next door to the library you can find University Centre (R23)
6. University Centre (R23)
University Centre houses a broad range of general amenities accessible to students. There is a bank, supermarket, hair salon and an optician. There are also numerous places to eat and drink, as well as somewhere to get your phone fixed and stock up on stationery and access to Royal Mail services.
Living, the University’s accommodation service, is also located in University Centre. They allocate University accommodation to students and can provide information about local private sector landlords, and can also help with checking rental contracts. If you have any questions about accommodation at Birmingham, this is the best place to visit to get information about the different types of accommodation available, costs and how to apply.
On leaving University Centre, turn right and cross the Ring Road. Walk up the hill to the Murray Learning Centre (R28). Before this, on your right you will pass the Collaborative Teaching Laboratory (R31). This facility brings together practical teaching activities across a broad range of science and engineering disciplines. This new purpose-built facility incorporates a wet lab, dry lab and e-lab and along with the newly opened engineering lab in the School of Engineering Building (Y3), enables us to revolutionise the way STEM subjects are taught at the University.
7. Murray Learning Centre (R28)
The Murray Learning Centre offers facilities to help students with independent study: computer clusters, printers and scanners. From here you can see the University railway station from which there are regular services into the city centre (Birmingham New Street station), a journey of only eight minutes. This station offers access to the rest of the country and the journey to London is around one-and-a-half hours. You can also see the Medical School (B1), which is across the main road from University station. The Medical School is a major international centre for education and research in medicine and medical sciences.
Your tour ends at this point, but if you wish to see some of our student accommodation, the Vale Village residences are about a 25-minute walk from where you are on the main campus. To walk to the Vale, head to East Gate, and walk along Edgbaston Park Road in a northerly direction (the top-right-hand corner of the map). You will come to ‘The Vale’ on your left, where some of our student residences are located in landscaped parkland overlooking a lake.