Birmingham is one of the largest cities in the UK outside of London, and it attracts thousands of people every year who come here to work, study and explore everything this amazing place has to offer.
It’s a vibrant and welcoming city with lots going on, which makes it the perfect place to study. With three world-class institutions to choose from – the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Aston University – it’s no surprise that Birmingham is well known for its thriving student community.
When you’re not studying, you’ll never be short of things to see and do in Birmingham. Recently named one of the top 10 cities in the world by Rough Guides, it’s home to a wealth of retail, leisure, cultural and sporting attractions. Once you’re in need of a drink or bite to eat, you’ll be absolutely spoilt for choice.
No matter how you like to spend your free time, Birmingham really does have it all. And here at Compass, we’re conveniently located to explore it all – the perfect base for you to explore this incredible city.
Take a look at the map to discover some of our favourite local spots, or just ask our on-site property team and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
Eating & drinking
As far as culture goes, Birmingham has it all. From world-renowned galleries and museums to awe-inspiring heritage attractions and gardens, it’s got everything.
Take a day out and explore the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, or if contemporary art’s more your thing, head down to the Ikon Gallery.
When it comes to theatre, we’re lucky to be home to the UK’s longest producing theatre and most visited theatre in the Birmingham Rep and Birmingham Hippodrome respectively.
Whatever your taste in music, you won’t be left wanting. The Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is widely regarded as one of the world’s best ensembles. For more of a modern, mainstream vibe, the Utilita Arena attracts some of the world’s biggest names, and there’s plenty of smaller venues around to catch up and coming acts in a more intimate setting.
Don’t forget to visit Cadbury World either for a fun-filled, chocolate-themed day out.
Eating & Drinking
The famous Balti curry dish was created in Birmingham, and as the name suggests, the Balti Triangle is the place to go if you want to sample this iconic Indian dish from authentic award-winning and family-run restaurants. But the city isn’t just home to the Balti. You can try food from all around the world in Birmingham, a real melting pot of global cuisines. Whether it’s Michelin stars, street food or greasy spoon you’re after, there are plenty of options to choose from.
You’ll also find a huge selection of independent coffee shops and cafes, traditional pubs and bars around the city. Try one of our favourites, the tiny Faculty Coffee tucked away in Piccadilly Arcade, for a strong coffee served by the best baristas in town.
You’re never far away from an awesome bar or nightclub in Birmingham, whatever time you decide to venture out. The city has a bustling nightlife scene, which makes it perfect for students looking to create some unforgettable memories with friends.
You can’t go far wrong in student-friendly Selly Oak or on Broad Street, which is home to a whole host of mainstream bars and clubs such as Risa, Revolution and Walkabout. You’ll also find special student nights here.
For a more alternative night out, head over to Digbeth and check out renowned venues such as The Institute, Custard Factory and Rainbow Warehouse. If you’re into the underground scene, make sure to check out The Tunnel Club.
There isn’t much you can’t buy in Birmingham, no matter what your taste or budget is. From modern shopping centres to restored Victorian arcades and markets, there’s so much to explore.
All of the big high street and designer names can be found in Grand Central, the Bullring, the Mailbox and Great Western Arcade.
If you’re looking to pick up a bargain, head down to the Bullring Markets and the world-famous Birmingham Rag Market, with over 350 stalls to browse.
If you’re looking to check out the city’s independent shops, craftspeople and makers, you definitely need to check out the Jewellery Quarter and the Custard Factory in Digbeth, which is home to some of our favourite indie retailers, galleries, music shops and monthly vintage fairs.
Birmingham was the first UK city to be awarded the title of National City of Sport, and it regularly plays host to some of the world’s biggest sporting events.
The Belfry, which is the UK PGA headquarters and home to the renowned Brabazon golf course, has welcomed several Ryder Cups.
The National Indoor Arena is the UK’s top indoor sporting arena, which has been the venue for international tennis, badminton and athletics.
Football is huge in Birmingham, home to Birmingham City and Aston Villa, two of the UK’s oldest teams.
In 2022, Birmingham will host the Commonwealth Games, bringing the world’s most elite athletes and competitors to the city.
Outside of London, Birmingham is the UK’s largest centre of higher education, and there are three universities in the city – the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Aston University. All of these are considered to be world-class institutions in their own right, attracting students from all around the UK and the rest of the world.
Wherever you decide to study, you won’t be far away at Compass. Birmingham City University is across the road, Aston University is a short walk away and the University of Birmingham is only 20 minutes on the bus.