Exploring Birmingham

As the UK's 'second city', there is plenty to see and do in Birmingham, making it a great place to live, study and work.

As our local students will tell you, there is always something happening in Birmingham. With world-renowned venues for music, sport, shopping and art, there's plenty for you to get involved in whilst you are a student - and of course, we're only two stops from Cadbury World by train!

What's on

Birmingham hosts an eclectic mix of events and festivals throughout the year, from the Moseley Folk Festival to the Frankfurt Christmas Market. Find out what's happening from Visit Birmingham, or sign up to I Choose Birmingham weekly updates for the latest news and events, or see some of our suggestions below.

Remember there's plenty happening right here on campus - visit our events page for more information, and check out the Guild of Students' events too.

Live in Birmingham, breathe in the world

What are you interested in?

The great thing about Birmingham is that there truly is something for everyone. Remember many places have discounts or special offers for students with either your University ID card, or a TOTUM card (available through the Guild of Students). Have a look through our suggestions for days out and things to do: 

For the foodie

Head to Digbeth Dining Club, which brings together a fantastic mix of local street food, from handmade pizza to extravagant waffles. Browse Independent Birmingham's ever growing list of local cafes, bars and restaurants and find a new local favourite. Visit our monthly Farmers' Markets right here on campus to get your hands on some local produce.

And of course, Cadbury World is just ten minutes from campus by train!

For the music lover

Birmingham is great for live music, whether it's a major tour at the Resorts World Arena or Arena Birmingham, or up and coming bands at venues like the O2 Institute, O2 Academy, the Hare and Hounds or the Actress and Bishop.

For classical music, our very own University Music Society offer a range of groups and ensembles to join or concerts and performances to watch, whilst The Bramall has a full programme of live music at the heart of campus. In the city centre, Town Hall and Symphony Hall are world-renowned venues for a whole host of concerts.

For the sports enthusiast

For the football fans, old rivalries run deep with Birmingham City and Aston Villa both playing in the city, whilst cricket fans will be pleased to find the world-famous Edgbaston cricket ground just minutes from campus, home of Warwickshire County Cricket Club and the Birmingham Bears. Check out VisitBirmingham for the full range of sporting events taking place in Birmingham.

If you're more about taking part, there's a whole range of sports clubs to join through UBSport, from playing in the competitive BUCS league to friendly recreational games. There are also lots of local amateur teams who gladly welcome students. The Sport & Fitness centre boasts Birmingham's only 50m swimming pool, 200+ station gym, up to 200 classes, a multi-purpose arena and sports hall, five activity rooms and a climbing wall, as well as a dedicated high performance centre. 

Runners can enjoy the surroundings at the Vale, or join Cool Runnings for fun, social sessions. If you're up for more of a challenge, why not take on the Great Birmingham Run?

For the culture vulture

From galleries like the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and the IKON, to the UK's oldest working cinema, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to culture in Birmingham. We even have the Barber Institute of Fine Arts - our very own gallery, bringing Monet, Degas and Van Gogh to the heart of campus, as well as Winterbourne House and Gardens and Museum of the Year Finalist the Lapworth Museum of Geology, home to Roary, our friendly campus dinosaur. All these campus facilities are are free for students.

If you're looking for theatre, you'll find a whole range of productions at The REP, the Alexandra Theatre, the Birmingham Hippodrome and the MAC.

Climb to the top of the Library of Birmingham and be transported back in time in the Shakespeare Memorial Room, originally built in 1906 before being rebuilt and opened in it's new home in 2013.

For the nature lover

With 571 parks and and a number of local nature reserves, Birmingham is a surprisingly green city, with more open public space than any other city of its size in Europe. You can use Birmingham City Council's Find a Park search to discover nearby parks - Cannon Hill Park is popular amongst students, with mini golf, a boating lake and the MAC theatre all within walking distance of Selly Oak.

Cannon Hill Park is attached to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, home to animals such as red pandas, otters, lemurs, wallabies and monkeys, including animals at risk of extinction.

Heading out of the city, the Lickey Hills offer views across the city and into Worcestershire, or further still trains run directly from University to the world famous Malvern Hills.

Closer to home, our own campus grounds provide beautiful open spaces, whether you want to make use of the outdoor gym equipment at the Vale, or find a spot on the lawns to settle down with a book. The Green Heart has transformed the centre of campus into a striking 12-acre parkland, with spaces for studying, relaxing, performances and socialising.

The Winterbourne House and Gardens are our very own botanical gardens right here on campus, and is free for students to visit. The garden is Grade II listed and is one of the best surviving examples of an Edwardian Arts and Crafts suburban villa garden in Birmingham. 

Staying on campus, the Lapworth Museum of Geology, finalists for Museum of the Year 2017, houses one of the UK’s most outstanding rock, fossil and mineral collections, through a range of innovative and interactive exhibits – all completely free of charge

Getting around

It's easy to travel around the city and campus, with a range of public transport options. Find out more on our travel page.

  • Feedback and suggestions
    We'd love to know if this page was helpful to you.
  • Was this page useful?