A-Z Guide of Birmingham

We can’t wait to welcome you to our city. You will be studying right in the heart of Birmingham, a forward looking and vibrant city with plenty to see and do just a few minutes’ walk from campus. If you’re moving to Birmingham, you’ll find out there’s so much to explore, just use our handy A-Z to find out what we’ve got to offer!

A is for Alright Bab

A warm Brummie greeting. Bab is generally a term of endearment meant for people you know quite well. Kind of like saying ‘hun’ or ‘babe’.

Test your Brummie slang

B is for Birmingham's Libraries

With four libraries across our campuses and access to more than 65 million full text items, you may wonder why we would mention Birmingham’s city centre library. Apart from being one of the city’s cutting edge, architectural gems, it happens to be the largest regional library in Europe and is one of the most visited attractions in the UK.

C is for Commonwealth Games

Birmingham proudly hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2022. The games provided thousands of work opportunities for locals, and the newly developed Alexander Stadium has seen improved pedestrian routes and accessibility throughout the area.

Alexander Stadium

D is for Digbeth

Just a stone’s throw away from our City Centre Campus, Digbeth is full of Instagrammable street art, with plenty of fun and new things to do. Want to throw an axe at something? Check. Want to grab some drinks in a bar made out of shipping containers? Check. Want to shop sustainable, one-of-a-kind vintage clothing? There are several shops to choose from. If you’re heading to Birmingham, visiting Digbeth is a must!

Six spots to visit in Digbeth

E is for Edgbaston

Edgbaston is a leafy area of Birmingham, with parks and tree-lined streets, some B of which lead to the doors of the famous Botanical Gardens. If you’re a fan of beautiful landscapes and tropical houses, it’s a must-see being one of Birmingham’s blooming attractions. You’ll also discover our very own City South Campus in Edgbaston, the student hub for our health, education, and life science courses.

Guide to Edgbaston

F is for Floozie in the Jacuzzi

The fountain in Victoria Square is home to ‘The River’ sculpture, affectionately named the Floozie in the Jacuzzi by pretty much everyone. The Floozie is a key landmark in a beautiful part of Birmingham. The Floozie lost her Jacuzzi when the fountain was turned into a flower bed in 2016, but the good news is the fountain is set to flow again very soon. Make sure to check out this Brummie landmark next time you venture into the city centre. 

G is for Getting Around the City

There are plenty of ways to get around, both locally and further afield. With everything being close by, most journeys can be taken by foot. West Midlands Metro is also an option. The trams cover much of the city and stop in convenient places such as the Library of Birmingham and Town Hall, which is perfect for those not familiar with the city just yet. 

H is for Harborne

A chic hotspot of the city, Harborne is a 15-minute bus ride from the city centre and a short walk from our City South Campus. The area is home to a range of things to do, including a monthly farmers market which is held on the second Saturday of each month, and Harborne Walkway, a trail that follows an old railway track all the way into town; perfect for a quiet escape on your doorstep

Things to do in Harborne

I is for Independents

Birmingham is a thriving hub for over 100 unique independent retailers, with more popping up all the time. You will find independents sprawled all over the city, often tucked away down side streets, but be sure to head to independent hotspots such as Great Western Arcade, Piccadilly Arcade, Bennetts Hill and John Bright Street to discover a range of hidden gems. To find out more and support our wonderful independents across the city, visit Independent Birmingham for the latest openings, events and discounts. 

Independent Birmingham

J is for Jewellery Quarter

Nestled just outside of the city centre, the Jewellery Quarter is a great place to spend the afternoon, dine out, or even an excellent option for somewhere to live during your studies or after graduating. The area has a brilliant balance of everything you need in an ideal city centre location.

Things to do in Jewellery Quarter

K is for Kings Heath

Kings Heath is a treasure trove of hidden gems with an urban village feel. You can head to a gig at the Hare and Hounds, poke around for one-off finds in indie shops or sip your favourite coffee in one of the many heavenly brunch places like Gorilla Cafe or the Early Bird Bakery. Be sure to check out local favourite York Road, home to some of the best pizza the city has to offer at Poli, craft beer and street food at The Juke and a fine and wide selection of cheese and wine at Grace + James. 

Reasons to visit Kings Heath

L is for Love Brum

Want to discover more of what Birmingham has to offer? LoveBrum is a registered charity that supports hidden gem projects across Birmingham that are often volunteer led and that deliver real change, with outcomes that can be seen, measured, enjoyed, and loved.

Visit LoveBrum

M is for Multicultural

Birmingham is the most culturally mixed city in the UK, being even more ethnically diverse than London. This is something us Brummies take great pride in, as the fusion of cultures continues to shape our city. Our university alone is home to students from more than 100 different countries. You’ll be warmly welcomed here, no matter who you are. 

International study information

N is for Nightlife

Being a city of arts and music, you can find a nightlife spot for anything your heart desires. Like to support independent musicians? Head over to The Sunflower Lounge in the city centre or The Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath. Want to dance your heart away to Northern Soul and decades tunes? Try The Night Owl in Digbeth, which hosts Kaleidoscope Birmingham once a month, a live music and crafts event. If you simply prefer to go to a club or pub, Broad Street boasts dozens of spots for you to choose from.

O is for Outdoor Spaces

Being outdoors is well-known to aid your mental health and physical wellbeing. Birmingham has 8,000 acres of green space and over 500 parks, including Cannon Hill Park and Manor Hill Park, which are both short distances away on public transport.

P is for Peaky Blinders

Award-winning TV drama Peaky Blinders is set in Birmingham, with the show being said to be popular with celebrities from Brad Pitt to Snoop Dogg and more. The locals take great pride in this, and throughout the city you will find small homages to the show; from street art in the Custard Factory, to walking tours taking you around the famous spots from the show. 

Q is for Quieter Tourist Spots

If you want to enjoy the history of Birmingham from a more peaceful point of view, there are plenty of spots to explore around the city. You may not know that Birmingham was the inspiration for many of the settings in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, with J.R.R. Tolkien having studied in the city from the age of eight. You can immerse yourself in the world of Middle Earth by taking the Tolkien Trail, an excursion that will take you around the natural sights and buildings that inspired the films. 

R is for Rock Music

Birmingham is said to be the home of heavy metal, with the likes of Black Sabbath and Judas Priest. You can find many spots around the city that pay homage to our musical roots, including bars that revolve around the rock genre such as Subside and Scruffy Murphy’s. Making a trip to Oasis Market, situated in the heart of the city centre, will complete your experience; you can update your vinyl record collection or grab a new band t-shirt. You may also want to take a walk down the Birmingham Walk of Fame, where you can spot musical stars and more. 

S is for Shopping

It’s fair to say Birmingham’s got you covered when it comes to shopping, from high street stores to restored Victorian arcades, markets that pop-up throughout the week to top-notch thrift shops for those second-hand bargains.

Alumni gift guide

T is for Tarra-A-Bit

Pronounced TA-RAH-A-BIT. Tara-a-bit means goodbye. It can be shortened to just ‘ta-rah’ and is probably one of the more popularly used Birminghamisms. 

U is for Us of Course

We are the university for Birmingham. Our students are the future of our city: its engineers, and its health care professionals; its accountants and lawyers; its teachers and its artists. We are Birmingham to our core.

V is for Vegan

Brum is quickly becoming a vegan hotbed. Be it the obvious speciality restaurants you want to dip your toe in or have as your new local, to supermarkets or vegan only clothing, Birmingham is in the middle of a vegan boom.

W is for Water

Birmingham has one of the most intricate canal networks in the world. The whole Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) system adds up to 100 miles of canals (it’s said to be more than Venice), meaning there’s plenty of space for you to enjoy the waterways. Take a step off the pavement and onto a towpath or park and enjoy a rejuvenating walk, jog or cycle.

X is for Xmas Market

Europe’s largest German Christmas Market outside of Germany, consisting of lots of open air stalls selling everything from Bratwursts to locally-made arts and crafts. Grab a Gluhwein and get into the festive spirit!

Y is for Yam Yam

The general term for someone who sounds like they’re from the Black Country, characterised by a tendency for speakers to replace the word ‘are’ with ‘am’ i.e. ‘How am ya?’

Z is for Zoo and Safari Park

Birmingham is home to the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, which originally began its life as Birmingham Zoo in 1974. It’s a much loved destination for anybody wild about wildlife and is home to lemurs, wallabies and the must-see red pandas. The park is based a short bus ride from BCU in Cannon Hill Park, just south of the city. 

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When possible, the best way to explore what's on offer is to come and see us in person, and we host a number of Open Days throughout the year. Come and be taught by our trailblazing academics and study in our innovative £400m facilities.

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