A Student’s Guide to Birmingham

Are you a newcomer to Birmingham or perhaps a local and interested in finding new attractions around you? Then this is the perfect ultimate guide for you! We’ll be detailing Birmingham events, local pubs for those crazy nights out, discounts, and other must-see places!

Not only is it the second most populated city in the UK, but the great city of Birmingham is continuing its re-building, rebirth and construction at a breathless pace. ‘Brum’, as it’s nicknamed by locals, includes an attractively designed library and the luxurious, gleaming shopping mall called the ‘Bullring’. Below are photos of the glorious ‘bubble-wrapped’ Bullring as well as stunning drone footage of Birmingham.

The Bullring Birmingham

The History and Origins of Birmingham

Birmingham as a settlement dates all the way back to the Anglo-Saxon era (existing from the 5th to the 11th century). Beorma is assumed to be the founder of the tribe/clan called the Beormingas. In the 6th or early 7th century, the Beormingas lived in a settlement and called it ‘Beormingahām’, which is now known today as the city of Birmingham.

 

Birmingham University

The University of Birmingham has been teaching and developing the minds of for over a century. With over a century of tradition and development, Birmingham University has produced ground-breaking research that has pushed forward science, our knowledge and has made a significant impact on people’s lives.

 

Ranked fourth of the most populated cities in the UK by enrolment, the university has been home to many celebrities that we know and love. Below is a list of just a few of the famous people that you may already have heard of who studied at Birmingham University:

  • Ben Shephard studied BA Drama and Theatre Arts. He has one of the most recognisable faces on TV, presenting shows such as ‘Good Morning Britain’ and ‘Tipping Point’
  • Ann Widdecombe studied BA Latin Studies. Continued to be a TV presenter and long-serving politician for the Conservatives
  • Chris Tarrant studied BA English Studies. Best known for being the presenter of ITV’S ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’
  • Chris Addison studied BA English Studies. He is now a comedian, writer, and actor with usual appearances on ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘8 Out Of 10 Cats’.

 

University Events

Don’t forget to check out the amazing events that take place in the Uni, here’s some happening either soon or right now!

  • Making Space: Celebrating Women at the University of Birmingham – Supporting the accomplishments of women to create a positive platform for females today.
  • ‘Where Land Meets Sea’ – The Lapworth Museum of Geology proudly hosts small exhibition of photo work by Dr. Richard Greswell.
  • Beast Feast 2017 – Listen to the wonderful composers Paula Matthusen, Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, and Sarah Farmer.
  • The Royal Air Force Music Services Tuba Quartet – A thrilling recital from the Tuba Quartet of the Royal Air Force.

 

Things to do

Birmingham is a mind-blowing place to behold with a huge amount of attractions and events to explore. Visiting the overwhelming city for the first time? Take a tour on the Big Brum Open Top Buz Sightseeing Tour, where you can jump on board a double decker bus to show you the main attractions of Birmingham. View exactly what it is like with the video below:


What follows are the top, and if not free, then cheap Birmingham events:

  • The Birmingham Library – An undeniably stunning atheistic and design to this £189 million Library has plenty to offer.

Birmingham Library

  • Anne Hathaway’s Cottage – Visit the family home of Shakespeare’s wife!
  • Akamba Heritage Centre – Uncover the atmosphere of Africa with Akamba’s new Reptile and Tropical House.
  • BBC Birmingham Tours – Step into the mysterious behind the scenes of BBC news broadcasting such as Midlands Today and BBC WM.

BBC Birmingham Tour

(Source)

  • Cadbury World – A fantastic day out for all the family to see what goes on in the making of Cadbury’s chocolate!
  • Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses – Includes four glasshouses, an Avery, wildlife trails and a beautiful butterfly house.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses

(Source)

  • Rock Up – An thrilling new attraction to Birmingham, 26 climbing walls to try out in this indoor climbing adventure centre.
  • Lapworth Museum of Geology – Explore and understand life over the past 3.5 billion years. Located in the University of Birmingham!

 

Food challenges in Birmingham

Ever wanted to be that presenter from Man VS Food? Well you can come pretty close! There are plenty of food challenges that restaurants offer around Birmingham to try out and defeat! Gain a spot in their hall of fame and win prizes, below are just some of these food challenges you can take part in:

  • The Vegan Grind House – Can you defeat their ‘Death Proof II Burger Challenge’?
  • Rub Smokehouse – Drink and eat this monstrosity of a milkshake in just 12 minutes!
  • Big Dave’s Breakfast Sandwich – 40 minutes to eat the entire loaf of bread sliced up to become a huge sandwich, filled with breakfast treats.
  • Riley’s Spicy Burger – Defeat any of their regular burgers however it’s smothered in ridiculously hot ghost chili sauce – in just 10 minutes!

 

The NEC Arena

The NEC (National Exhibition Centre) is an enormous arena in Birmingham that hosts an extensive range of popular events throughout the year. Here are a few upcoming events happing in the NEC arena very soon that you might be interested in:

  • This Morning Live – That’s right, watch the hilarious pair Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby present This Morning LIVE! A fabulous day out with your friends and family.
  • Slam Dunk Festival 2017 – Open to all the lovers of pop-punk and rock music! Don’t miss out on all of your favourite artists such as Enter Shikari, Don Broco, Bowling For Soup, Less Than Jake and many more!
  • Insomnia Gaming Festival – One of the UK’s biggest gaming festivals that takes place 3 times a year at the NEC arena! Walk around the exhibition hall full of stalls to play games, buy gaming merchandise and meet new people. Or take part in the famous pub quiz, form a team and win huge prizes! There’s plenty to do and it’s a wonderful way to meet new people who love the same games as you.

 

Planning the ultimate pub crawl

For any beginners out there, a pub crawl (also known as a bar tour or bar-hopping) is the art of visiting multiple pubs in one night with a group of friends and class mates. The pub crawl shown below is specifically designed for any Birmingham higher education students planning a night out. Not only is this the best path to take but these pubs are the closest and the best you will find around Birmingham Uni!

This pub crawl is also located near our student accommodations, to be more precise, the Cadnam Hall House in Harborne, home to Birmingham University Accommodation for Students as it is closest to the pub crawl, so is an extra bonus for any students living in our halls.

Here is our Birmingham University pub crawl:

Birmingham Pub Crawl

Below is a list of the pub number order as shown on the image above, with the pub name and postcode so you don’t get lost!

  1. The New Inn – B17 0DJ
  2. The Slug and Lettuce – B17 9PP
  3. Bangla Lounge – B17 9NP
  4. The Plough – B17 9NT
  5. Garden House – B16 9NX
  6. The Physician – B15 3DH
  7. The holy grail of drinking – This final destination in the pub crawl is for if you are still functioning and need to be more drunk! This area is pub heaven with multiple pubs surrounding the Bullring Shopping Centre.

As you can see, pubs 1-4 are close together and the other ones are a little further away, unfortunately these are the closest pubs to Birmingham University. The route from pub 1 to 6 is 2.1 miles and takes 41 minutes in total to walk, this might be too far for some people so a taxi is recommended! (However, if you have your alcohol jacket on, the walk might be more doable!)

If pubs don’t tickle your fancy then here are few nightclubs that we recommend that are nearby and cheap!

  • PYRZM – The ultimate club night out for students. There are 51 booths to gather with your friends to rest your feet after dancing to pop, dance, and chart music in the main room.
  • Snobs – Snobs has primarily indie and rock and roll, with a bit of retro thrown in too. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights here are popular for students.
  • Here you can check out even more nightclubs that we recommend!

Last of all, here’s a friendly reminder to drink responsibly! We hope this pub crawl mini-guide has helped you plan your night out – happy drinking!

 

Outdoor and free (or very cheap) things to do

For any University Student, we understand that you have loans to be taking care off and you’re not the richest person in the world. If you’re in need of something to do and can’t spend any money, Birmingham has full range of beautiful sights to see and walk around.

Getting Outdoors

Did you know that Birmingham has more canals than Venice? The canals spread for 35 miles compared to 26 in Venice and are great for walking by for some superb views. Canal stops are the best waterside places to stop, relax and grab a bite to eat!

There is a wide variety of beautiful parks and gardens near the University of Birmingham to relax or take part in activities such as a game of football or tennis, below is a list of a few of these parks:

  • Cannon Hill Park – Enjoy the sights of this park as well as free events taking place in the Mac Arts Centre based in the park. You also take part in fishing and the free to play on tennis court!

Cannon Hill Park

 

  • Winterbourne House and Garden – This gorgeous Edwardian styled house and garden is a delight in all seasons and located less than 10 minutes from Birmingham University!
  • Selly Oak Park – Being a 4-minute drive from the University, this park is one of the most ideal landscapes to unwind.
  • Moseley Park – A peaceful parkland of 11 acres, included with a lovely lake. Don’t miss out on the yearly Moseley Folk Festival taking place 1st – 3rd of September 2017! Below is a video of a video from the folk festival that happened last year, showing off all of the talented artists that played:

We hope this guide helped you out in some way, if you’re a Birmingham University Student or a local, let us know about any attractions or places you like to go out drinking and eating! We would love to hear your recommendations, please feel free to share with us on our Twitter or Facebook.

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