Birmingham, being the second largest city in the United Kingdom, boasts a rich cultural scene in various interests ranging from food to the arts and entertainment, while still being much cheaper to live in than London, and other cities like Bath and Oxford. In addition to numerous theatres and musical halls, Birmingham also has two major art galleries and many museums, making it ideal for students invested in the arts.
More than other cities, Birmingham is frequently lauded as a culinary capital of the UK, having more Michelin starred restaurants than any city other than London, as well as being the origin of Balti curry, a local dish first created in Kashmiri restaurants within the city.
Birmingham is also home to one of the UK’s most prestigious and globally recognised universities, the University of Birmingham, which is ranked 81st in the World by QS World University Rankings 2020. Particularly strong is their School of Computer Science, which is frequently ranked as being in the top 5 in the UK, and their Department of Philosophy, which is ranked 3rd by Guardian University League Tables, just below the University of Oxford and above the University of Cambridge.
Here are some affordable food options near Birmingham's city centre.
Cafe Opus - The bright and spacious Cafe Opus is well known for its unique, affordable offerings with its all day breakfasts ranging from £5 to £9, offered with salads such as roasted sweet potato and caramelised peach dressed with maple thyme. A two course meal containing food like cod with spiced orzo pasta or beer-braised beef with bacon, peas and creamed potatoes will only cost you £9.95 here.
40 23 Mediterranean Food - This cafe aptly named after its map coordinates and cuisine specialty places a focus on on grilled meats, served as parts of salads or wrapped in fresh pitta. A wrap here can be as cheap as £3.34, and the short menu also includes many great daily specials such as the baked pasta dish, pastitsio.
Minmin Noodle Bar - This fusion restaurant, drawing influences from Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, serves a variety of noodles, the spiciest of which being perfectly tuned to the palate of a Malaysian student. They serve bowls as cheap as £6.65.
Tiger Bites Pig - This tiny cafe specialises in bao steamed buns, serving pork belly buns for as low as £4.50. Their bao dishes draw influence from all over the east, and are served with anything from char siew to braised beef and shiitake mushrooms. They also offer rice bowls, which all come under £10.
Kings Heath farmer market - Close to the city centre, this monthly market is famous for its choice of gluten-free, vegan and environmentally-friendly products, with everything from veggies, fruits, cakes and fresh street food being available here in one form or another.
Birmingham Wholesale market - The largest wholesale market in Europe, this market offers a variety of fresh fruit, vegetable, fish, meat and other products, fueling the many prestigious restaurants and hotels throughout the city. It opens from 3:30AM till early in the morning, meaning an early visit will be needed to secure the freshest of the bunch.
While Birmingham boasts a fantastic network of trains, trams and buses, walking and cycling is still popular amongst students in the city, as there are many sights to see throughout the various routes.
Birmingham has eight local rail lines that provide quick links to all attractions and venues throughout the city. In addition, the stations at Birmingham also provide fast access to Birmingham International, the station of Birmingham Airport, providing convenience to anyone looking to fly to and from the city.
Instagrammable Places in Birmingham
Places to take amazing photos in Birmingham
Catch some beautiful of shots of Birmingham’s famous historical canal network!
Image credit: Instagram @birmingham.live
Moseley Bog was supposedly an inspiration for the ancient forests of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and looks beautiful in the Winter morning.
Black Sabbath Bridge
Snap a picture at one of the many memorials to the numerous heavy metal bands that started right here in Birmingham.
This house built in the 1600s makes for great photos, especially in the evening and early morning.
The Birmingham Symphony hall is the perfect place to attend a concert with world class acoustics, and snap some pictures of stunning architectural design.
Go on a Road Trip
Travel further outside Birmingham for graduation trips or mini-vacations.
Alton Towers - Indulge in childlike wonder as you visit this amusement park with numerous rollercoasters, rides and a water park to choose from. Only an hour drive from Brum city centre, and entry is £33 per adult.
Warwick Castle - This castle, which has been open for visitors since the 17th century, has a huge selection of activities to choose from, including Flight of the Eagles, a raptor show featuring various owls, eagles and hawks, the Bowman Show with the castle’s resident archer, and a walk through the Horrible Histories Maze.
Stratford-upon-Avon - This quaint little town is the perfect destination for students who love history and literature. The proud birthplace of William Shakespeare holds many rows of well-maintained Tudor era Houses, theatre performances hosted by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the beautiful River Avon.