So you're going to be a postgraduate student in Birmingham. It really is a fantastic student city with plenty to do, and here's our pick of the best activities in no particular order. And don't forget that if you're still looking for your postgrad accommodation in Birmingham, our accommodation partner Fresh Student Living has some great student living options in the heart of this great student city.
1. Shopping The Bull Ring is Birmingham’s heart, and the place where the majority of your student loan will go. Entire procrastination days can be spent wondering round its shops, wishing you had the money to buy a single thing in Selfridges. Plus, you can lure your parents to Birmingham when your money runs out as there is plenty to appeal to them too...
2. Clubbing Anyone looking for the most student-friendly clubs in Birmingham should make their way straight to Broad Street. There you will find the student staple club Gatecrasher, plus a Walkabout if you want to remind yourself of the terrible provincial nightclubs in your hometown.
3. Currying When it comes to curries in the UK, only London’s Brick Lane is anything close to competition to Birmingham, and even that can’t compete in terms of size. TripAdvisor counts nearly 50 Indian restaurants in Brum, and they are among the best restaurants in the city. You’re not a true Brummy until you’ve both visited the upmarket Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter and eaten reheated takeaway curry for breakfast on a Saturday morning.
4. Eating When you are not in the mood for a Madras, however, Birmingham also has much to offer in terms of cuisine. From post-revision exhaustion takeaways to graduation celebration dining, every occasion is literally catered for. Brindleyplace is a particularly popular spot to meet-ups over a cocktail or two, and the city also has five Michelin-starred restaurants for fantastic food when the student loan comes in - or the parents come to visit!
5. Gigging Any major tour will have the Genting Arena as a destination, and every big band will take a date or two there. But why wait for great music to come here when Birmingham already has such a great scene of its own? Bands like Peace and Swim Deep have recently come out of the city, and the scene is full of chilled guitar sounds inspired by these breakout stars playing at venues like The Institute, The Glee Club and Rainbow.
6. Day Tripping There come times in every postgrad’s life where adult obligations just become too much and you just want a day’s worth of childlike abandonment. Just outside of the city you will find two great places to do that. The West Midland Safari Park is the nearest that Birmingham has to the Bush, with four miles of (student discounted) safari. For real childhood escapism, however, Cadbury World is your only choice, the surprisingly good museum-come-theme park based around chocolate…and yes there are free samples.
7. Sport Watching For foreign students coming to the UK for the first time, nothing will give you a true insight of Britain for better or worse than its football stadiums, and Birmingham has two Premiership football teams to choose from. West Bromwich and Aston Villa are the teams, and which to be a fan of depends of where you’re living. Either way, however, the teams form such vital part of Brummy identity that they are worth being aware of…if nothing else, you will never run out of things to talk to people in the pub about.
8. Revising This might come as a surprise, but every once in a while you might have to think about doing some studying. Luckily, the Birmingham Central Library is a must-visit Birmingham landmark in its own right, with some of the best modern architecture in the country. Particularly recommended for revising is the Shakespeare Memorial Room, pretty much the closest you are ever going to get to studying at Hogwarts with its ornate Elizabethan design and views of the entire city.
9. Walking Need an escape from the industrial bleakness of much of the city? Take a stroll around one of the city’s surprisingly stunning parks. But then, why just walk when you can mini golf? Cannon Hill Park has the largest mini golf course (which is probably an oxymoron but whatever) in Britain, as well as 200 acres of lush green and floral colours.
10. Culturing Shopping, eating and mini-golfing are all very well, but occasionally you need a little art and culture for the good of the soul. Luckily, Birmingham has you covered, with two major galleries. The Ikon has the best of modern and contemporary art, whereas the Barber Institute has a wide range of masters on show including Monet, Magritte, Van Gogh and Botticelli.
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