Birmingham is not only a great place to study but also amazing to explore. If you’re a fresher starting out this semester or a long time student who has just managed to miss out on these places, then you should make sure to check out the locations that make Birmingham such a beautiful city.
1. Old Joe and The Green Heart
The first place you have to explore as a student at the University of Birmingham is the beautiful campus. The new Green Heart, a multi-million pound project by the university, has opened up the campus, creating an open view from Old Joe and his red brick surroundings, right up to the North Gate. The area is a great place to sit, eat or study in nicer weather, with many of the benches having USB charging ports, and Old Joe provides the perfect Instagram post to announce the start of your studies to all your followers.
However, beware! As much as the students of Birmingham are proud of our iconic clock tower – he is after all the tallest freestanding clock tower in the world – there is a big superstition surrounding him. It’s said that if you walk below his arch as he chimes then you will fail your degree so maybe save that until after you’ve graduated
2. The Lapworth Museum of Geology
The Lapworth Museum of Geology is one of campus’s hidden gems. Tucked around the back of the university’s main buildings, it is no wonder that many of the students don’t even know it exists. The museum holds a collection of rocks and fossils as well as interactive displays on volcanoes and earthquakes but the main attractions are the dinosaurs. So with free entry, it’s definitely worth checking out!
3. Winterbourne House and Gardens
Located on the edge of campus, Winterbourne House and Gardens is free for students, all you need to do is show your ID card! Moving to a big city can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re from somewhere a bit more quiet so, if you’re looking to surround yourself in nature for a while, then this little oasis is perfect. There are green houses and a garden with a little pond where you can sit and soak up the sun.
Venturing into the house you can learn about John Nettleford and his wife, the couple who built and first lived in the house back in 1904. So, if history is your thing then definitely give it a visit but even if it’s not, we’ve heard that the tea room is cracking.
4. The Bullring
Venturing off of campus, the Bullring is Birmingham’s iconic shopping centre right in the middle of the city. Not only is it the place to go if you’re shopping or eating out but it’s also home to the bull statue – a must have photo for every Birmingham student’s Instagram page. Whether you want to visit Selfridges or maybe the world’s largest Primark is more your budget, there’s something for everyone here.
5. The Library of Birmingham
The largest public library in the UK, the Library of Birmingham is a must-visit spot for any student. Of course, the university has it’s own library but it’s a good idea to get familiar with this space for days when that is too full. It’s also just an interesting place to visit, with the ornate architecture making it one of the city’s biggest landmarks.
Aside from the thousands of books, the best part of the library is a hidden secret on the seventh floor. The rooftop garden, looking out across the city, is the best place to take a break if you’re fed up of studying.
6. The Custard Factory
The Custard Factory is an independent shopping centre and creative workspace in Digbeth, set in the building of the old Bird’s factory. But, among students, it’s mostly known for it’s really cool street art and as an edgy location, perfect for a photo shoot. New artists are constantly making their own additions to the walls, making for an ever changing area with new things to see on every visit. It’s also very close to New Street and the Bullring, so easy enough to reach if you fancy checking it out.
7. Ghetto Golf
Staying in the Custard factory, you have to visit student favourite Ghetto Golf. This psychedelic, graffitied warehouse has been converted into a crazy golf, cocktail bar perfect for a night out. Each of the eighteen holes is amongst super cool set design that gets stranger as you go, from hitting the ball through an old bus to graffitied bathroom, and an old pub to Mario land. You can also grab a drink as you go which may not improve your aim but will definitely improve the experience.
8. Cadbury World
Other than Peaky Blinders and Baltis, Birmingham is famous for Bourneville and Chocolate. At some point during your studies at Birmingham, you have to visit Cadbury World. The chocolate factory is now a museum and tourist attraction where visitors can learn about the history of chocolate, the construction of Bourneville and the inner workings of the factory. You also get some sweet freebees and a visit to the Cadbury shop.
After your visit to the factory, be sure to check out the local area. Just over the bridge from student area Selly Oak, Bourneville is home to some adorable houses, shops and the air occasionally smells like chocolate.
9. Cannon Hill Park and Wildlife Conservation Park
If you are looking for a more scenic location in the otherwise busy city, Cannon Hill Park is a good choice. A half an hour walk from campus, Cannon Hill park is a stunning park with a lake, swan boats, tea room, old buildings and plenty of squirrels. Whether you’re there for a picnic or to feed the ducklings in spring, there’s plenty to do with a crazy golf being a good option for a warm day.
There is also a wildlife conservation park just outside of Canon Hill with entry for students costing only £5.30. Though it isn’t a full sized zoo, you can see meerkats, red pandas, monkeys and much more during your day out.
10. Licky Hills Country Park
A bit further out than the rest of these locations, Licky Hills Country Park is the most accessible country side for students looking to take a break from the city. Simply hop on a train from University Station and get off five stops down at Barnt Green. From there you can explore the woodlands of the country park and climbing to the top of the hill offers you a view back out to the city. You can even spot the University in the distance if you look hard enough, with Old Joe making an appearance on the city’s skyline.