A student guide: the City of Birmingham

With 65,000 students, five universities and two university colleges, the UK’s second biggest city has lots to offer the budding student.

Good Areas to Live

Selly Oak is one of the most popular student areas in Birmingham and it has a range of different pubs on the Bristol Road.  Plus, Aldi is nearby and a there are a few fast food outlets too.


As the second biggest city, the transport system is good. The buses service the whole city efficiently, but when it comes to cycling, the city is not so friendly. There aren’t many cycle lanes in the city centre and you will have to watch out for self-righteous drivers. However, the Metro runs between Wolverhampton and Birmingham with several stops along the way.


There are many gyms to choose from, some of which offer a student discount, though you may be better off sticking to your university gym. Swimming pools are abundant and there are many open spaces for running.


If you’re interested in art and cultural spots, then there are a number of great places to visit, too. Including:

  • Barber Institute of Fine Arts Electric Cinema
  • Birmingham museum and art gallery
  • Star City
  • A new library


The nightlife is great in Birmingham, with something to cater to everyone’s needs. From live music and comedy at the Symphony and Town Hall, the Bramall Music Building and O2 Academy to alternative nights out at Snobs, The Rainbow Warehouse and Propaganda; you’ll never be short of somewhere to go. You will find all the big chain nightclubs such as Oceana, and the gay village has a range of different bars and clubs to choose from.

Places to Eat

There are all the big restaurant chains that you’d expect from a major city, such as Nando’s, Zizzi’s and all the fast food chains. Birmingham also has a diverse range of independent restaurants, so whatever you fancy at that particular moment in time, there’s sure to be a place to eat to satisfy you.

The Balti Triangle is the centre of Asian cuisine in Birmingham. Head to Sparkbrook, Balsall Heath and Moseley, and you’ll never be far from an incredible meal, as well as Asian jewellers, sweet shops and traditional dress makers.

Chinatown offers lots of great restaurants too, taking inspiration from Northern China to Malaysia. You’ll also find many cafes, bars and bakeries. 

Places to Shop

The Bullring is one of the largest shopping malls in the UK; it has most of the major stores that you might want or expect from such a big city, ranging from fashion to technology. There’s also the world famous Birmingham Rag Market which opens four days a week and boasts 350 stalls selling fabric (hence the name) as well as general goods. Oasis on Corporation Street is an interesting market too, catering for the alternative shopper, with a tattoo and piercing studio along with clothes.

Students' life events ahead - A short animation

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