Student City Guide To Birmingham: Top 10 Things to Do

Student City Guide To Birmingham: Top 10 Things to Do

18th Nov 2013 ( updated 15th Apr 2014 ) - by

Excited about going to study in Birmingham? You should be. Here are ten good reasons why…

1) Birmingham Comedy Festival

Good for… Laughing, giggling, guffawing, thigh slapping, chortling and crying (from laughter, obviously).
What it is… A huge annual comedy festival that has grown massively since it started back in 2001.
Why you should go… The line-up is always impressive.  Previous years have included the likes of Jimmy Carr, Michael McIntyre and Lee Evans, not to mention a whole range of up-and-coming new talent. Then there’s also magic, theatre, spoken word, dance… you get the picture.

2) Canalside Café

canalside cafe birmingham

Image via flickr.com

Good for… Country dwellers hoping to reconnect with their rural roots.
What it is….A cosy little country-pub style café, only a stone’s throw from the city.
Why you should go… You should strongly consider checking out the Canalside Café if you like any of the following things: canals, roaring fires, views of canals, good home cooking, being near a canal, lovely décor or teacups (and if you don’t like any of those things, you probably need to take a long, hard look at your life).

3) Custard Factory

Good for… Embracing your inner artist.
What it is…. No, it’s not a factory that makes custard (although it was initially set up by Sir Alfred Bird, who invented the stuff). It’s actually the home of hundreds of artists, quirky shops, restaurants and galleries.
Why you should go… If you’re the kind of person who enjoys rummaging through vintage shops (check out Urban Village) or perusing various studios, then Custard Factory is the place for you. It always seems to be growing and branching out, so there’s never any shortage of interesting new places to visit.

4) The Old Contemptibles

the old contemptibles pub birmingham

Image via wikimedia.org

Good for… Old fashioned British ale, and plenty of it.
What it is….A cosy, traditional pub with a history that dates back to WWI.
Why you should go… If you’re a fan of ale, or if you just feel like some traditional British grub, The Old Contemptibles has large quantities of both.

5) Espirito Brum

Good for… Throwing your shapes to Brazilian beats.
What it is….A yearly festival that combines music from Brazil, Birmingham and the rest of the UK.
Why you should go… The sheer diversity of the music on offer means this festival is always worth a visit. You can go from dancing to DJ Switch (the three-time winner of the DMC DJ World Championships) to bopping along to the fast-paced Brazilian hip-hop of Dragoes de Komodo. You won’t get that chance very often.

6) Urban Coffee Company

urban coffee company birmingham

Image via flickr.com

Good for… Coffee connoisseurs.
What it is….A stylish coffee company with two ‘Café Emporiums’ in Birmingham.
Why you should go… If you want to grab a coffee with friends or you’re fed up with working in the library, you could do a lot worse than heading over to the nearest café emporium for a welcome caffeine break. Do you like muffins? Of course you do. Head over on Monday and you can grab one with a large coffee for £3.75.

7) John Sparry Books

Good for… Floor to ceiling rooms full of books, books and more books.
What it is….A second-hand bookshop and the house of John Sparry, a multi-talented local with a flair for history and jazz-music.
Why you should go… Just to meet the man who literally lives in a house full of books, if for no other reason. Based out in the suburbs, this snug little bookshop is a welcome alternative to the hustle and bustle of inner-city life.

8) The Selly Sausage Café

selly sausage birmingham sausages

Image via wikipedia.org

Good for… More types of pancake than you could ever dream of.
What it is….A popular café with the tagline, ‘Silly name, serious food’ – and they’re not joking about the food.
Why you should go… Who couldn’t love a place called ‘The Selly Sausage Café? Nobody, that’s who. The café has a range of exciting breakfast options to cater to all sorts. If you’re feeling especially hungry you can even take on the legendary ‘Super Breakfast’ – be warned, though, it’s not for the faint hearted.

9) The Electric

Good for… Leaning back in a sofa to watch the latest film releases.
What it is….A ridiculously cool cinema (and the oldest working one in the UK).
Why you should go… Forget cramped seats, dodgy sound and popcorn littered aisles – this is cinema-going in style. If you’re feeling particularly lazy they even have waiter service, so you can have your snacks brought to you while you recline in front of the big screen.

10) Delta Force

paintball brimgham

Image via wikimedia.org

Good for… Shooting your friends with paint.
What it is….If you hadn’t already guessed, it’s a paintball centre. Not just any paintball centre, though – Paintball Solihull (one of the many Delta Force UK arenas) is the biggest centre in the whole of the midlands area. Perfect for hammering your friends with paint across 64 acres of woodland.
Why you should go… The crazy variety of game zones will make you feel like you’re in a James Bond film – either that, or a contestant on the Crystal Maze. There are ancient pyramids, helicopters, tanks, an afghan fort, and our personal favourite… a parked London bus. If you haven’t already looked at the pictures on their website, do it now. That’s an order.

Key info about Birmingham

A former European Capital of Culture finalist and hub of business for the West Midlands, Birmingham is the UK’s second largest city after London.  Home to art galleries, museums, theatres, no less than five universities and more canals than Venice, Birmingham (or Brum, as it is popularly known), is beloved by its residents, students and tourists alike.  The distinctive Bull Ring shopping centre was the largest in Europe when it was built in 2003 and remains the second largest in the country, so there are plenty of opportunities to splash the cash.  Broad Street is where the city’s nightlife is concentrated, and boasts restaurants, bars, nightclubs and a cinema.  Birmingham is also deceptively close to the capital – London is reachable in less than an hour and a half by train.


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