The countdown to the new BIMM academic year has now begun… which means that BIMM Birmingham’s second-ever Freshers is imminent! To give our new students a taste of life at BIMM Birmingham, Songwriting second year student (and Birmingham local) Felix Shepherd has put together a useful guide to getting to know Birmingham for all our freshers-to-be.
As I’m from Birmingham, you’d think I’d pretty much know every possible inch of the city, wouldn’t you? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong! Even as a local I constantly find new bits of culture popping up all over the city. But great places to start are the legendary Library of Birmingham, with a top floor secret garden that shouldn’t be missed, the Ikon Gallery, which is one of my personal favourites, and creative arts hub the Custard Factory, which is located just five minutes’ from BIMM. There’s also the Bullring Markets, both indoor and out, which are great for a good bargain and a barter, and if you’re into vintage fashion I’d recommend taking a look at all the thrift-type stores like We Are Cow and the Thrifty Store.
Finding live music
Birmingham is a city full of venues and I can guarantee that if you wander the streets surrounding BIMM you’re bound to find some live music! Some of my favourite places are The Sunflower Lounge, the O2 Institute Birmingham and, of course, The Flapper. But you don’t have to find music inside venues – there are so many opportunities to busk or enjoy buskers in the city that you’ll never be short of good music wherever you go.
I’m a big fan of clothes shopping, in particular, and here in Birmingham we have the Bullring Shopping Centre – with its famous ‘milk bottle exterior’ packed with every shop you’d ever need, from high street fashion to Nandos. My favourites are the vintage shops because not only is vintage ‘in’, but if you do it right, you could save yourself (and your student budget) a lot of money in the long run! Music-wise, if vinyl is your thing, check out the Oasis market (right by The Square Peg pub) and The Diskery on Bristol Street, which claims to be England’s oldest record store.
My top five things to do in Birmingham would be:
- Go to a show at The Flapper
- See a band perform live at The Sunflower Lounge
- Check out the Ikon Gallery
- Explore Digbeth on foot
- Go busking with some fellow BIMM Birmingham students