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Being in Birmingham

Birmingham is constantly changing and evolving. Recent changes from a mainly industrial to hospitality industry provides opportunities for students both in their leisure time and for part-time work.

Birmingham has countless ways to spend your free time whatever your interests. Many of our graduates choose to stay in Birmingham when their studies have finished, which is a testament to the appeal of the UK's second city.

Birmingham lies at the heart of the motorway system, with well-developed bus and coach services, a metropolitan rail network which is attracting massive investment, and the fastest expanding international airport in the country. With so much to do and so much to see, our city is the ideal place to live and study.

Food and Drink

Birmingham offers everything from pavement cafes to stylish restaurants and traditional pubs to superclubs. So if you are looking for a wide variety of entertainment, Birmingham is hard to beat.

Birmingham has three Michelin-starred restaurants amongst over 500 others offering both British and world wide cuisine and many of them are within walking distance of the both UCB and our halls of residence. We also have our own restaurants open to students, staff and the public; The Atrium for fine dining and The Brasserie for more relaxed eating and daily specials.

There are stylish restaurants and café bars at the Mailbox and Brindley Place and a whole range of pubs, bars and restaurants along Broad Street. The Chinese Quarter, with its array of restaurants and specialist supermarkets, is just a short walk away and the legendary Balti restaurants can be found all over the city most famously in the Balti Triangle.

There is something to suit everyone in Birmingham no matter what your taste or budget.

If you are looking for lively bars and clubs then Broad Street and the Water's Edge provide some of the most popular venues in the city. You will find everything from traditional pubs to lively theme bars including sports bars, Irish bars and 1980's bars.

Summer Row, right next to UCB, is a popular area with two stylish late night bars and The Shakespeare, loved by students for many decades.

There is plenty of choice for clubbers and music enthusiasts with many of Birmingham's newest and biggest clubs within easy reach. There are also many student nights with cheap entry and drinks promotions.

Not forgetting BarOne, our very own student club which can be found at The Maltings halls of residence, where the Student Guild run events almost every night of the week.


The city is steeped in history with a range of heritage sites to discover. You can visit the Jacobean Aston Hall, Matthew Boulton's 18th century home, Soho House and Sarehole Mill, a working watermill built in the 18th century and much more. Exploring the world famous Jewellery Quarter, you will experience unique surroundings that have been in operation for over 250 years.

If you would like to explore one of the city's literary connections, J R Tolkien lived in Birmingham and the Tolkien Trail will allow you discover the mysterious Moseley Bog, Sarehole Mill, Perrott's Folly and Waterworks Tower, which were inspirations for his Lord of the Rings trilogy.

If contemporary attractions are more your thing then Birmingham's Thinktank, the city's museum of science and discovery, is within walking distance from UCB and if you take a short bus ride to Cadbury World you can discover the delights of Bournville and chocolate.

The city has a thriving Chinese Quarter where you will find specialist Chinese restaurants, shops and grocery stores, excellent examples of modern Chinese architecture and some of Birmingham's nightlife hotspots. Chinese New Year celebrations here are well worth a visit.

Experience Birmingham's Asian culture when you visit the famous Balti Triangle with its multitude of Balti restaurants serving delicious spicy food. Browse amongst the fascinating array of Asian food and sweet shops, outlets for exotic fabrics and textiles and traditional Asian jewellery shops.

Birmingham is now one of the UK's top three gay destinations with a range of bars, cafe's and energetic nightclubs centred around its Gay Village area in the south of the city centre. Over 100,000 revellers attend the annual Gay Pride event held over the last bank holiday weekend of May.

For those who are interested in the visual arts, Birmingham has a great deal to offer. Within a few minutes walk from UCB you will find the internationally acclaimed Ikon Gallery for the contemporary arts and the magnificent Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery with its excellent collection of paintings, including one of the world's finest collections of Pre-Raphaelite art, collections of silver, glass and ceramics amongst other things. There is also the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists gallery on the edge of the Jewellery Quarter.

Just a short bus ride away you will find the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), set in the beautiful surroundings of Cannon Hill Park, which will be re-opening in 2010 after a complete refurbishment, The Custard Factory, which is expanding into one of the largest media and arts centres in Europe, and The Drum , Europe's first arts centre dedicated to developing and promoting African, Asian and Caribbean Arts and Culture. Birmingham University's Barber Institute houses an outstanding collection of old masters and modern paintings, drawings and sculptures.

Cinema and Theatre

If you enjoy watching movies then Birmingham is the place to be. There are two modern multi-screen cinemas all within the city centre, showing everything from the latest Hollywood blockbusters to European, Japanese and Bollywood films. Broadway Plaza and Cineworld Broad Street are just five minutes walk from The Maltings, our halls of residence. Birmingham also has the UK's oldest working cinema, The Electric which shows independent and international films with old-fashioned glamour. If you wish to take a short bus ride you can spend an evening at Star City, the Warner Village complex which contains the UK's largest multiplex including six Bollywood screens, restaurants, bars, a megabowl, casino, shops and a health and fitness club.

Theatre-goers will also love the many plays and productions which take place on the stages of Birmingham. The city is home to three outstanding theatres, including the Birmingham Hippodrome, which regularly attracts major touring companies and international stars and houses the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Repertory Theatre, with its national reputation for producing innovative and distinctive major productions of both new and classical works. The Alexandra Theatre, a beautiful Edwardian venue, presents a wide range of touring productions and the new Crescent Theatre offers a variety of drama, dance and music productions throughout the year. If you are looking for comedy try the Glee Club, Cheeky Monkey or Jongleurs.


If music is your thing then Birmingham can offer you world class experience. The live music scene stages everything from rock and pop through to classical, world music and jazz. Top class venues like the Genting Arena, the Barclaycard Arena and Symphony Hall, which boasts the best acoustics in the world, attract international recording artists, performers and orchestras.

Try Birmingham's O2 Academy for the latest bands, the Jam House or The Drum for jazz and African, Asian and Afro Caribbean music. If you enjoy classical music, the internationally acclaimed City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is on your doorstep.

Birmingham's Town Hall was first opened in 1834 and was regarded as the finest music hall in the country. After a £350,000,000 renovation it re-opened in 2007 and has again taken its place as a premier music venue hosting an eclectic mix of artists.

Birmingham also plays host to a number of music festivals including the Moseley Folk Festival, Gigbeth and the Birmingham International Jazz Festival.

Over the years, Birmingham has been the home of major recording bands such as Ocean Colour Scene, UB40, Duran Duran and Ozzy Osbourne's Black Sabbath. More recent acts including Bentley Rhythm Ace, The Streets and The Twang. If you are looking for live music you will find it in many venues, bars and clubs throughout the area.


Sport and International-grade sporting venues feature highly on the list of Birmingham attractions. Villa Park, the home of Aston Villa, is one of the foremost stadiums in the Premier League. It has played host to England International matches and FA Cup semi-finals. Add to this fellow Birmingham side Birmingham City, and the area is well represented at the highest standard of English Football.

Edgbaston is the home of Warwickshire County Cricket, and also a venue for England International Test matches. Warwickshire currently compete in the top division of cricket in both the one-day and county championships.

Birmingham has one of the World's leading golf venues, The Belfry. Many international tournaments have been hosted here including the Ryder Cup.

Within a short walk from the college campus is the UK's leading indoor sporting venue, the Barclaycard Arena. This has been the venue for a number of high class sporting events including the Indoor World Athletics Finals and the World Squash and Badminton Tournaments. For outdoor competition, The Alexander Stadium is a leading venue for international class athletics.

University College Birmingham also has a number of student sports teams, organised through the Guild of Students. These include football, netball, jitsu, basketball and hockey.

University College Birmingham's Spa Fitness Club in Richmond House includes a fully equipped gym, dance studio, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, spa pool and solarium. A full range of classes are available to students including aerobics, circuit training, step classes and self defence.

The sports hall, situated at The Maltings, is suitable for a wide range of activities including table tennis, badminton, tennis, volleyball, basketball, 5-a-side football and indoor cricket. Equipment for all these activities is available.

The fitness room, within the sports hall, provides a training facility for those wanting to train for general health, fitness and sports performance. In addition, a programme of fitness classes adds to the wide variety of leisure activities on offer at the sports hall.


If retail therapy is your thing, Birmingham city centre is the place to be. With its modern shopping malls, streets and arcades lined with small specialist shops, department stores and indoor and outdoor markets, there is something for everyone.

The city's main shopping area is within easy walking distance of UCB. It is lively, full of interest and mainly pedestrianised. With more than 700 shops to choose from and 7 days a week trading, the city has a great deal to offer. Throughout the city centre there are top branded stores such as Diesel, French Connection, Gap, Jigsaw, MUJI, Zara and Levi. You are able to browse amongst interesting specialist shops in the picturesque Great Western and Burlington Arcades and explore the numerous outlets in modern shopping centres such as Pavilion Central and City Plaza.

If you are looking for designer shopping the place to head for is the Mailbox, which includes exclusive stores such as Harvey Nichols, Hugo Boss, Rock Couture and Emporio Armani. For popular high street names such as Gap and H&M, try New Street, Corporation Street and Martineau Place. You can also find plenty of coffee shops and places to eat if you need a break. Birmingham's department stores include House of Fraser, a Debenhams flagship store and Selfridges, with its famous curving shape and exterior covered in 15,000 aluminium disks.

Birmingham also offers the Bullring and Grand Central with exciting shopping and a range of casual dining options.

Just across the road from the Bullring you will find two of the city's most vibrant markets, the Indoor Market and The Rag Market, where you can buy everything from household goods and fresh fruit to electrical goods and vintage clothing.

If you are looking for something different, a few metres around the corner you will find Birmingham's Chinese Quarter, selling exotic foods in its many restaurants and supermarkets.

For a special treat, Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter is only a five minute walk from UCB. If you are looking for a special gift or something for yourself why not visit some of the numerous shops and workshops selling both classic and contemporary jewellery at below high street prices?

With all this available and within easy walking distance of the University College, Birmingham can give you an amazing retail experience.

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University College Birmingham, Summer Row, Birmingham, B3 1JB, United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)121 604 1000