Born and bred in London, I thought Birmingham would never compete. Being the UK’s second-largest student city, you have so much choice on where to eat, drink, shop, go out or walk to – you will never have a dull weekend.
1. Feeling peckish?
From fine dining and award-winning street food to nationally celebrated Indian cuisine or a relaxing lunch alongside the city’s many canals, there’s something for everyone! There are plenty of places on campus too: Cafe Tierra offers a range of food outlets which includes a coffee and deli bar if you prefer something quick, otherwise East Grill is perfect if you fancy something hot and healthy.
My favourite picks are lunch at the Gosta, Eggs Benedict at Boston Tea Party and breakfast at Spoons (with a large glass of OJ – sorts you out after a night!). Birmingham is fantastic for food, there’s so much choice and it’s hard not to love! You know Birmingham invented the Balti, right?
2. Retail therapy
No doubt you’ll probably take advantage of free Amazon Prime for the first 6 months and have everything delivered to your accommodation, but you just can’t beat mincing around the Bullring with an iced caramel frappe (speaking from experience).
From high street fashion to high-end couture, we’ve got it covered. Be amazed by the beautiful Selfridges and the iconic Bullring, the Mailbox (which is beautiful at night) and over 1,000 shops. The student essential shops such as B&M, Poundland and Ryman are all within a 10 minute walk from campus.
My excuse for making a little detour to the Bullring…
3. Independent Brum
Never has Birmingham been a more exciting place to discover independent businesses, as you know shopping local has numerous benefits and more often than not, shopping local is not that more expensive.
There is a plethora of street art, local shops and bars in and around the Custard Factory, it’s pretty edgy ngl. Being a student (and part-time socialite), I’m sure you’ll support the local fast food outlets and finish your night at Chicken Hut which is just a stone’s throw away from campus – you’ll soon find out it’s an Aston tradition.
By the way, if you’re a fan of Mexican/South American food, check out Bodgea, their shredded chicken burritos are to die for.
Burrito is life.
4. Culture vulture
Birmingham is a metropolis that has laid many foundations of modern industrial society gaining strong international links in the 18th century. Although manufacturing has declined and diversified into the service sector, one third of jewellery manufactured in the UK is made in the famous Jewellery Quarter.
Being the UK’s second largest city, Birmingham boasts several museums and galleries. Just minutes away from campus is the award-winning science museum Thinktank which has many interactive exhibits and features – the planetarium show is phenomenal. There’s also the incredible Ikon Gallery and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. If live entertainment is your thing, there are several theatres, the Genting Arena and Barclaycard Arena which play host to many world-famous artists, around the year.
5. Self-confessed socialite?
Craft beer, gin parlours, cocktail menus or underground clubs, Birmingham’s unique nightlife sets it apart from any other UK city. There is so much going on for every type of person: the infamous smartphone Speedquiz at B4 Bar every Tuesday, to P.A.R.T.Y at Pryzm on a Thursday, the temptation will get real – remember enjoy yourself and embrace the university life.
If a more chilled atmosphere is your thing, there are some awesome coffee shops dotted around and StarCity is just up the road if you fancy watching a film or playing a game of bowling.
When the tune drops in the club…