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Visiting Birmingham

Birmingham is the UK’s second city. Home of the multi-million pound Bullring development and the iconic Selfridges building, the city has something for everyone. It’s nearby location to the University and its good transport links, make it a perfect destination for shopping, visiting, and a good night out.

Distance from campus:

Birmingham City Centre - 23 miles
Birmingham International Airport - 14 miles


Birmingham is home to a vast array of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants, theatres and art galleries and is a popular destination with our students.

Brindley Place, with its canal-side location and trendy bars and restaurants is particularly popular, as is the Arcadian (near the city's Chinese Quarter). Both are great for a big Friday or Saturday night out and their relaxed and friendly atmosphere make them a great place to spend a sunny afternoon.

Broad Street comes alive at night with nightclubs like Risa and the Works and cheesy alternatives like Reflex. There are also plenty of bars, including LLoyds No.1, Revolution, and the Australian Bar. There are lots of restaurants to choose from catering for all tastes.

But there are plenty of other things to do in Birmingham too...

The National Exhibition Centre is easily reached by a 10-minute train journey from Coventry station to Birmingham International Station. The NEC group put on a wide variety of events throughout the year, from pop concerts to exhibitions, and they also maintain the Symphony Hall in the city centre where world-class music is showcased.

There are also plenty of theatres to attend in Birmingham, including the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre which is home to the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Alexandra Theatre are also in the heart of the city. Art galleries and museums can also be found in abundance.

The Jewellery Quarter may also be worth a visit if you like anything that glitters - silver, gold or diamonds and the Custard Factory in Digbeth has some interesting outlets and is a den for arts and media types. For a day out, you might want to try the Sea-Life Centre or Cadbury World which is just outside the city centre - a chocolate-lovers heaven. If you are willing to travel even further afield for a day out, you could visit Alton Towers, Drayton Manor or West Midland Safari Park.


Shopping is excellent throughout Birmingham City Centre but the city is now most famous for the Bullring which was reopened in 2003 following a £500 million development. A 15 minute train journey from Coventry station to Birmingham New Street brings you to the door-step of the Bullring which now houses over 140 shops. The futuristic architecture of the Selfridges store is worth a look in itself, even if you don’t want to spend any money.

For more exclusive shopping, the Mailbox in the city centre has over 40 stores, restaurants, cafes and bars.

Historical Interest:

Birmingham has a reputation for being an industrial city, clouded by smog and factory towers - but it is quickly losing this image as people realise that the city has more to offer.

The development of industry has shaped Birmingham's history. In the 16th century the area became popular for metalwork and Birmingham became a market town, but the greatest period of development was in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Throughout the 19th century a vast number of factories were built in and around Birmingham, bringing thousands of industries to the town. Prominent among these industries was the manufacture of pens, brass, guns, jewellery, and coins.

Access to Birmingham was vastly improved throughout the 18th and 19th centuries linking Birmingham to London with the building of the Grand Union canal in 1790, and laying a railway between these two industrial centres in 1835. Other canals built in the 18th century also link Birmingham to a great many other parts of the country.

In 1838 Birmingham was made a parliamentary borough, and in 1889 it received city status. Birmingham has grown from being a rural town to England’s 2nd city in a short space of time.

Access from University:

By car: Birmingham city centre and Birmingham International Airport can be reached by travelling on the A45 from the University. It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive to the airport, and anything from 30-60 minutes to reach the city centre, depending on the time of day.

By train: Because Coventry Station is on the main-line between London and Birmingham, trains travel between Coventry station and Birmingham International (for the airport and NEC) and Birmingham New Street (city centre) at least twice an hour. The journey takes around 10 minutes to Birmingham International and 15-20 minutes to Birmingham New Street.

Pictures courtesty of

Birmingham Canals
Selfridges, Birmingham
Birmingham Mailbox
Arcadian Centre, Birmingham
Birmingham Cathedral
The Council House, Birmingham City Centre
Birmingham City Centre, Chinese Pagoda