Life In Birmingham

We think Birmingham is an absolutely amazing city to be a student in. We are sure you have heard for the umpteenth time from marketeers that it has more canals than Venice. However let's take a look at some of the things you may not know about:

Birmingham is a powerhouse of innovation and is well known for it's industrial heritage. The birthplace of the steam engine, custard and heavy metal has had a global impact and influenced humanity as a whole.

Birmingham is the second most populous city in the UK, with over 3.8 million residents and was granted city status in 1889 and played a major part in the industrial revolution, both through new innovative manufacturing techniques, automation through machines and improvements to supply chains..

To this day Birmingham is constantly redeveloping itself with renovations taking place in Brindleyplace, The Mailbox and The Pavilions over the last few years. 

Watch the video to discorver the whole city.

@IGersBirmingham is the official Instagram account for the city. Around 100 images are posted to their hashtag (#IGersBirmingham) every day. Each evening they chose their favourite shot which they repost as the Photo of the Day. Here’s just a sample of past POTDs – follow them for more.

Places to visit

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Take a stroll through Birmingham’s city centre squares and streets to find fabulous shops and restaurants, fantastic street entertainment and stunning architecture.

Birmingham’s most famous street takes you from the Bullring at one end to the Town Hall and Council House at the other. On the way there’s plenty to grab your attention including Jack Wills, The Body Shop, Primark and Watches of Switzerland - or maybe the latest cinematic blockbuster at the Odeon. Why not take a break along the way at Starbucks, Pret a Manger or Café Rouge?

Recognised as a shopping destination in its own right, Corporation street is an easy walk from New Street Station, Snow Hill Station or the Bullring, where you’ll find big names such as Gap, Jane Norman and the only New Era Caps flagship store outside of Berlin and London.

House of Fraser commands pride of place on Corporation Street, packed full of the latest men’s, women’s and children’s fashion, as well as a wide range of home and beauty items.

Linking Bullring with Marks & Spencer, you’ll find the best street entertainers providing a lively backdrop to the vibrant, bustling High Street. Big names such as Waterstones, the city’s largest Boots, H&M and Levi, as well as M&S can be found here.

At the top end of New Street is historic Victoria Square, named after Queen Victoria. Dominating the square is the Council House building, with elaborate architectural detailing, mosaics and statuary. The fountain in the square, known locally as the “Floozie in the Jacuzzi”, is one of the largest fountains in Europe. Nearby, a giant figure emerges. The Iron Man statue by Anthony Gormley represents the heavy manufacturing heritage of Birmingham and the region.

The adjacent Chamberlain Square is small but perfectly formed. The square is home to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG), the largest art gallery in the city. With the most comprehensive collection of pre-Raphaelite artwork in the world, as well as works from the Middle Ages to the present day, the BMAG is one not to be missed.

Centenary Square is one of Birmingham’s newest public spaces. The stunning Library of Birmingham, with its striking golden facade and fretwork stands in the centre of the square and is connected to the recently refurbished Birmingham Repertory Theatre. At one end, the Hall of Memory houses the names of Birmingham’s losses, both military and civilian, to conflict and is a peaceful place for thought.

The International Convention Centre and Symphony Hall are two of Birmingham’s jewels. One of the greatest concert halls in the world and a bustling convention centre that has welcomed royalty, presidents and delegates from across the globe; the ICC and Symphony Hall also act as a gateway to Birmingham’s waterways with the canals winding their way past.


Birmingham is the original home of the Balti. From award-winning city centre restaurants to authentic family-run establishments in the Balti Triangle, no visit to Birmingham is complete without sampling the delicious flavours for yourself.

The word ‘balti’ actually refers to the bowl that the dish is served and is thought to originate from the Urdu word balty, meaning ‘bucket’. Modern-day Balti dishes are a lot smaller than buckets though! Balti houses began appearing in Birmingham in the 1970s, and have proved popular ever since. Few local restaurants are licensed, but you’re more than welcome to bring your own wine or beer.

Birmingham is the curry capital of the UK, with a better selection of Asian and Indian restaurants in Birmingham than anywhere else in the country. Whether you’re in the city centre or heading out to the legendry Triangle itself, there are plenty of places to spice up an evening.


Digbeth is one of the most distinctive parts of the city and is less than ten minutes walk from the Bull Ring. It offers the visitor some fantastic independent shopping, atmospheric industrial history and heritage, art, music and some great places to eat and drink.

For shopping, the arts or just a bite to eat, a visit to the Custard Factory complex is a must.  It's Birmingham’s very own version of Carnaby Street and Shoreditch all rolled into one. The Custard Factory is located in Digbeth (just down the road from Selfridges) and is the arts and media quarter and a vibrant creative and retail hub.

It is one of the coolest independent shopping and leisure areas in the entire region and also a great place to grab a coffee or bite to eat. Most weekends the Custard Factory is used to host some of Birmingham’s best events.

During the year, regular arts and music events take place such as 'Supersonic' and 'Flatpack' whilst there are always many weekly music events at venues across the area. This reflects Digbeth's musical heritage from UB40 to the beginnings of Heavy Metal.  

Digbeth First Friday has also become a regular feature and occurs on the first Friday of each month offering a great array of things to do and see throughout the evening as the area comes alive with exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.


The village centres around Hurst Street, only a short walk from Harvey Nicholls in the Mailbox or the brand-packed Bullring if you’re shopping before the party starts.

The area is overflowing with fabulous bars, clubs and restaurants so whether it’s a quick coffee, amazing cabaret or disco you’re after, you’ll find a venue to love.

One of the highlights of the year is Birmingham Pride which is usually held over the May Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

Birmingham Pride is the largest free LGBT two-day festival in the UK, it boasts a Carnival parade, live music, cabaret marquee, village green - and the friendliest street party you’ll ever visit.

The village is also the centre of November’s SHOUT festival, featuring films, visual arts performances and LGBT community events. Growing every year, the festival includes provocative, entertaining and challenging queer film, visual art, music, theatre, literature and community events hosted by venues including Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, MAC (Midlands Art Centre), Town Hall, St Pauls Church and The Fox.

The Gay Village tells you everything you need to know about Birmingham itself. It’s a creative and buzzing scene, welcoming and with plenty to show off!

Human Rights Campaign for LGBT students

 Lot of bullying and discrimination against the LGBT community still occurs at schools and universities across the country. Human Rights Campaign deals with this and now over 600,000 people struggle in order to push all universities and higher education in the UK to solve the issue.

HR Campaign aims to improve the contents about LGBT themes on universities' websites and helps the institutions to provide helpful and accurate information so that students can complete their studies successfully and be less discriminated.

A LGBT guide has been created to inform students about: It includes everything students need to know about studying and living in the UK, a list of LGBT-friendly universities and other helpful resources at the end of the guide.

Travel & Transport

Birmingham is fantastically well connected with an expansive bus network, newly redeveloped Grand Central Train Station and an international airport.

Birmingham Airport is a global travel hub - yet only 10 minutes from the city centre. With great transport links and a wide business and leisure route network, it’s the perfect gateway to the Birmingham region and beyond.

You can also get around the city by boat along the canals (not the fastest way to travel, but definitely the most picturesque) or by bike. There are cycle lanes on most of the major routes with some of the city’s most beautiful parks and waterways along the route. More information can be found at

Useful links

Find here the official handbook from Aston University. Read it carefully to find nay useful information.

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This page was last modified on 18 Sept. 2020