The Student Guide: 8 Best Things To Do In Birmingham
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Birmingham, also commonly known as England’s second city, is brimming with Brummies and has plenty to do.
Whilst you could easily leave your student accommodation and splurge your cash at the Bullring, and to be fair, it is tempting, there is so much else this fantastic city has to offer.
From museums and stars to bogs and Balti’s, here is a rundown of the top 8 things to do in Birmingham for students.
1. Birmingham Balti
Originating in 1975, the Balti was created by the local Pakistani/Kashmiri community and is a curry that is served in the bowl it is cooked in to lock in those amazingly intrinsic flavours.
This delicious dish is accompanied by naan and not rice, a traditional flatbread which can be served in many different flavours. Our fave has to be garlic and herb – mmmm even just thinking about it!
It was so popular that loads of Balti houses popped up on Ladypool Road, Stoney Lane and Stratford Road, creating the Balti Triangle. Being the birthplace of the Balti, you have to try this dish in Birmingham.
Once home to nearly 50 Balti restaurants, Birmingham’s Balti Triangle is shrinking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a decent curry.
Many celebs have praised the Balti’s here, like Prince Charles’ son-in-law and the Hairy Biker duo. Hotspots include Shabab, Popular Balti, and Adil’s. Don’t let the impressive guest list put you off; curries are purse-friendly and a student favourite.
2. Moseley Bog
You don’t have to be an English Literature student to appreciate the places that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien.
Born in South Africa and raised in Brum, The Lord of the Rings author lived near the ancient woodland and Moseley Bog that is said to be the inspiration behind Middle-Earth’s Shire, home of the hobbits.
Whether you find the tales of Frodo adorable and valiant or annoying and vain, a tour of Tolkien’s childhood is a must-see.
Teaming with history, wildlife and Bronze Age mounds, Moseley Bog is only a 30-minute bus ride from New Street and Selly Oak, making it a picture-perfect free student activity.
The Sunday Times named it the Coolest Neighbourhood in Britain and we couldn’t agree more.
Steeped in industrial history, culture, hipsters and Peaky Blinders, Digbeth is a must-visit for all students. From creative spaces to art foam lattes, it has something for everyone.
Follow the Street and Public Art Trail to discover more about Digbeth’s creative heritage, or wander around the Custard Factory’s choice of cafes for a nibble-and yes, it was an actual Custard Factory!
There are also tonnes of vintage shops that suit a student’s budget. We’d recommend We Are Cow and Urban Village, although there are plenty to choose from.
4. The Library of Birmingham
As a student, you might be sick of the sight of your library, but the Library of Birmingham is not your average bibliothèque.
A mere 15-minute walk from the Bullring, the Library of Birmingham has photography exhibitions, performances, poetry readings, a Shakespeare Memorial Room and more!
In the summer, the not-so-secret rooftop garden has mesmerising views of the city – so make sure you go on one of these sunny afternoons.
Another free activity, this city landmark is a must-do and trumps your uni library!
We’ve been having some great weather lately, so you should certainly take the opportunity to explore Birmingham’s canals.
Birmingham’s waterways transport you from the bustling city centre to a serene escape without you spending a penny or leaving the city!
You could simply walk around the canals and find hidden green spaces and historical architecture, or, if you want to spend some of that student cash, there are some enticing bars and restaurants too.
6. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) and Ikon Gallery
The first artistic treasure is the BMAG, which opened in 1885, and is one of the city’s most iconic buildings. Current exhibitions include 50 years of Bangladeshi Independence as well as an online lecture on Pre-Raphaelite art.
You will soon notice that Birmingham’s makeup is very diverse and the BMAG celebrates the city’s cosmopolitan roots.
If you are less Baroque and more Emin, then head over to the Ikon Gallery for a curated modern art bonanza located over two floors.
New and already established artists are showcased in the gallery further emphasising Birmingham’s diversity. Both galleries are free, making this a super student-friendly day out.
7. Bottomless Brunch
Sometimes you just need a good boozy brunch to get the weekend started. Luckily for you, there are lots to choose from in Birmingham.
Victorian charm meets botanical garden in the Lost & Found, where you’ll be treated to deliciously gorgeous cocktails as well as an array of delectable breakfast items.
For something different but also in the city centre, check out Tonight Josephine. Neon signs, Britney, Mamma Mia, burlesque with your bacon, cocktails, and a hella lot of pink, brunch at Josephine’s sure is an experience.
Gas Street Social is also a great spot for the gang to get together over eggs. Specialising in sharing large plates, Gas Street Social is the place you need to go if you love the industrial design with your Bellini.
Penny-pinching? Student village Selly Oak has heaps of breakfast places and cafes that span a vast number of cultures.
8. Birmingham Walk of Stars
It’s not just Hollywood that has these icon stars celebrating legends, it’s the humble streets of Brum.
Located on Broad Street, many local heroes have been honoured in the stars including Julie Walters and Ozzy Osbourne.
Not only will you be surprised at how many influential Brummies there are, but it will also give you an insight into the creative diversity Birmingham has to offer.
Remember there are other places in Brum too that need to be visited, such as the Jewellery Quarter and Tonight Josephine – a firm fave among students.
If you’re in Birmingham next year, make sure you check out The Steelhouse Lock-Up, which will reopen in April 2022 following refurbishment. There you’ll be able to see old prison cells as well as attend events and live performances; a truly different venue!
Don’t forget, there are also over 570 parks in Birmingham, so grab that picnic blanket as soon as the sun pops out.
Why don’t you let us know on our socials what your top Birmingham destination is? You can defo experience Birmingham and all its heritage without breaking the bank. Feeling hungry? Read our blog about the best places to eat in Birmingham.