Fun in Brum: The ultimate student’s guide to Birmingham

Molly Judgeon 28 July 2021
street with food stall

Discover the wonders of living and studying in the city of Birmingham.

Whether you’re visiting a friend in Birmingham, you’ve just moved to the city, or you have lived there for a while and are itching to explore (thanks, pandemic), Birmingham is packed with activities that students love. How do we know that?  Birmingham was ranked number 13 for UK cities by the students. Plus, the city is packed with institutions, so click here to discover which university is perfect for you.

Now it’s time to take a look at the well-known attractions, and hidden gems. Check out these hot spots and you’ll become a true Brummie in no time!

The Balti Triangle 

You cannot go to Birmingham without trying a curry, and the Balti Triangle is the best place to go. It’s an area of curry houses that specialise in balti dishes. But where does it get its name? Birmingham is the national birthplace of the balti dish, invented by Pakistani residents in the 1970s. So go on, get your balti on. 

Cadbury World & Bourneville 

If you’re a chocolate lover, there is no better place to visit than Cadbury World. Not only will you be able to live your childhood dream of going to a chocolate factory, but you’ll also learn about the history of Cadbury, watch how chocolate is made and, most importantly, eat bars by the truckful.

And, for Selly Oak residents, why not walk down to the town of Bournville? Situated along the canal, you’ll know you’re close when you start to smell chocolate! Bournville is the community that George Cadbury built for his workers around the factory. It’s both historic and picturesque, and it smells of chocolate. What’s not to like?

Speakeasy

Speakeasy bars are constantly popping up in the city but finding them is the challenge - and we’re not giving anything away! Check out Liquor Store, 18/81 or go full-on Brummy and visit Peaky Speakeasy for the true Peaky Blinder experience. 

Trampoline park

Where else can you go to bounce, buy a slushie, practise parkour and test your bladder control all in one? Several trampoline parks across Birmingham offer evening sessions that are over-18s only, with the enticing pull of an open bar. Need we say more? 

Digbeth

Once an industrial warehouse district, Digbeth is developing to be one of the coolest and most artistic areas of Birmingham. And here’s what you should do: 

  • Visit the Custard Factory, home to arcade and board game bars
  • Grab some street food from Digbeth Dining Club
  • Shop at a vintage clothes sales
  • Play crazy golf or ping pong in the themed bars

We’d recommend a wander during the evening when the streets are lit (in both senses of the word!) 

Charity shopping in Harborne

Harborne high street is home to many charity shops and a number of cute pubs, cafes and eateries. If you fancy a budget shopping trip, this is the place to be! 

Christmas markets

It may surprise you that Birmingham’s Christmas markets are some of the largest in Europe. They have everything you need to transport you to a winter wonderland; from grottos and stalls to glühwein (mulled wine) and fairground rides.

For the cinema fans: The Electric Cinema or Mockingbird Cinema

If you’re a fan of film, feeling a little hungover, or you just fancy something different, you can watch a movie at one of the several independent cinemas in Birmingham. The Electric Cinema is one of the oldest working cinemas in the country where you can relax on sofas (cinema trips just got better). Alternatively, Mockingbird is the place to go if you’re on a budget with films as cheap as a fiver. 

Walk along the canals

If you’re a student in Birmingham, one of the few facts you’ll tell visitors is that Birmingham has more canals than Venice. We have no idea whether this is true however the canals can offer lovely walks to and from the city centre! 

Birmingham Library

The Birmingham skyline would not be complete without the library and, while you will undoubtedly see it countless times from the outside, a trip inside is also worth it. Its balconies offer an incredible view of the city and, best of all, it’s completely free!

For those who want to get out in nature

City living is great, but sometimes we need a little break from all the hustle and bustle. Luckily, Birmingham has countless green spaces like the botanical gardens, Cannon Hill Park (where you can rent pedaloes) and Lickey Hills Country Park, which is perfect for a picnic. 

Wildlife Conservation Park

And last but not least, the Wildlife Conservation Park. Affordable and fun, this park is home to red pandas, otters and ocelots (don’t worry, we had to look these up too!) Plus, as a paying visitor, you’ll be doing your bit to protect endangered species. 

Where will September take you? Join the Student Pulse and let us know your plans for the upcoming year! 

Molly Judgeon 28 July 2021