Birmingham City Guide for Students: Discover the City

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Allaa Ashraf

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08 November, 2023

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4 mins read

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If you have the spirit of a Lewis Caroll character and are an international student in Birmingham, or are planning on being one anytime soon, then this Birmingham city guide is for you.

Birmingham, the UK's second-largest city, often referred to as the "Heart of England," is a vibrant and diverse metropolis with something to offer everyone. From its world-class culture and museums to its lively nightlife and delicious food scene, plus its affordable cost of living and excellent transportation, it's the perfect city for students.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the various facets of Birmingham, helping students discover what makes this city special. Let’s put on our comfy shoes and take a thrilling tour of this charming city!


Birmingham Guide for Students

The Cost of Living in Birmingham

The cost of living poses a bit of a challenge for most students. Here’s the thing, though: Birmingham is relatively affordable compared to other UK cities. While living costs may vary depending on your lifestyle, it's generally a budget-friendly place for students, with plenty of affordable dining and entertainment options. Here’s a breakdown of the basic costs:



One-bedroom apartment




Transportation (Monthly Pass)




Education and Student Life in Birmingham

Stating the obvious here, we know, but Birmingham is a significant educational centre, home to some of the UK's top universities, including the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, and Aston University. 

Students have access to a wide range of academic programmes and research opportunities, and the city's commitment to education is evident in its cutting-edge facilities and diverse student population.

Also, Birmingham's thriving student community offers plenty of opportunities to engage in extracurricular activities, such as joining clubs and societies or exploring the city's vibrant nightlife. So, yeah, you basically get a high-quality education, and you have fun!

Bonus tips: 

  • Join a student club or society because it will help you meet new people from different backgrounds and take a breather from studying.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help and advice from other students or university staff.


Transportation in Birmingham

If you intend on putting your adventure pants on while studying in Birmingham, you’ve got to know how to navigate the city. Student travel in Birmingham and its surrounding areas is quite smooth, thanks to its well-connected transportation system, including buses, trams, and trains.

There are Birmingham bus student discounts, where students can purchase a Student Saver Bus Pass that gives them unlimited travel on all buses in the city. Students can also buy a Student Railcard, which gives them a discount on train travel across the UK. In addition, students can also use National Express buses to get to any city in the UK.

Entertainment in Birmingham

Next on our Birmingham city guide are things to do in Birmingham for fun and Birmingham places to visit!

Birmingham Cultural Attractions and Events

The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which is home to an extensive collection of art and historical artefacts, is just one of the many museums, galleries, and theatres that Birmingham has to offer.

Additionally, the Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum offers an interactive journey into science and technology, as well as a view into the city's rich history.

Another one of the best Birmingham tourist places is the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, which boasts a world-renowned collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. Other attractions to look out for during your stay in Birmingham include the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, the Cadbury World chocolate factory, and the National Sea Life Centre.

As for music enthusiasts, they will find Birmingham to be a paradise, with options ranging from classical melodies at Symphony Hall to eclectic live performances at the O2 Institute. Independent theatres and cinemas throughout the city regularly screen art-house and foreign films. The city's cultural landscape also includes the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, one of the UK's leading regional theatres.

For those seeking more active pursuits, Birmingham provides sports facilities like the National Indoor Arena, which hosts various sporting events throughout the year.


Outdoors and Nightlife in Birmingham

While Birmingham is a bustling metropolis, it's also a green city with numerous parks and green spaces. Cannon Hill Park, Lickey Hills, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and Sutton Park are just a few of the locations where students can relax, have a picnic, or enjoy a leisurely walk. If you're an adventure seeker, try your hand at boating or pedal biking in some of these serene settings.

Also, in this Birmingham city guide, we can’t leave out the nightlife scene in Birmingham, because it is thriving. It has everything, from the bustling clubs of Broad Street to the more alternative venues of Digbeth.

Bonus tips:

  • Take advantage of the free museums and galleries.

  • Look for student discounts.

Birmingham Cuisine and Culinary Delights

Birmingham's diverse and multicultural population has significantly influenced its culinary scene. Students can embark on a culinary journey around the world without leaving the city, from the aromatic dishes of the Balti Triangle to trendy cafes and fine-dining restaurants.

If you want to explore the city's cuisine, check out our guide for a Birmingham food tour. These are some of the most popular restaurants in the city:

  • The Ivy Temple Row

  • Grand Central Kitchen Birmingham

  • Turtle Bay Brindleyplace Birmingham

  • Purnell's

  • Simpsons

From traditional British pubs to Indian restaurants and Caribbean takeaways, there's something to suit everyone's taste buds in Birmingham!

Bonus tips: 

  • Be sure to sample the local delicacy, the Birmingham Balti, a spicy and flavorful curry dish.

  • Explore the different neighbourhoods and find your favourite places to eat and drink.

  • If you like cooking your own meals and buying your own groceries, check out our blog on the 6 Best Markets in Birmingham.

Accommodation in Birmingham

Saving the best for last in our Birmingham city guide: student accommodation Birmingham. Birmingham offers a variety of accommodation options for students, including university dormitories, private student housing, and shared apartments.

Bonus tips:

  • Be sure to start your search well in advance to secure the best housing for your needs.

  • Consider shared accommodation if you’re on a budget.

  • Look for student accommodation that offers discounts; Casita can help you with that!

  • Consider the location of your housing. Do you want to live near campus, or do you want a place further away from it? Do you want easy access to transport links? The location is such an important factor when choosing your student accommodation in Birmingham!

  • Check out the Best Areas to Live in Birmingham to get a clear idea of what area you want to stay in during your time in the city.


And there you have it, mates! Birmingham's charm lies in its diversity and dynamism. As a student, you can expect to find a welcoming environment that encourages both academic and personal growth.

With world-class education, a rich cultural heritage, vibrant student life, and a promising job market, Birmingham offers the perfect backdrop for a successful and memorable university experience.

So, embrace your time in this exciting city, create lasting memories, and make the most of your student life in Birmingham using this Birmingham city guide!


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Birmingham a good city for students?

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Yes, Birmingham is a good city for students. It is home to some of the UK's top universities, has a thriving student community, and is relatively affordable.

What is Birmingham like for students?

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Birmingham is a vibrant and multicultural city with a lot to offer students. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in activities outside the classroom, and the city has a lively nightlife.

Is Birmingham expensive for students?

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Birmingham is a relatively affordable city for students, especially when compared to other major cities in the UK, like London, for instance. The cost of living, including rent, food, and transportation, is lower than in many other cities.