‘Alright Bab’. A Student’s guide to Birmingham.

It’s tough to be a media and socials officer. You wouldn’t believe that my schedule is now so busy that I have to book in my boyfriend’s visits. So I thought, enough was enough. With a spare few days planned we decided to catch the train and have a city break in  Birmingham. With its collections of clubs, hotels and shopping malls it can be confusing on where to go and what to do.

So to help you out, here’s a little travel guide to help you get the most fabulous city break in Birmingham.

Hotels:

Placed just a 10 minute walk from Birmingham New Street and the Bullring (with just a road crossing away from the fun and frolics of Gay Village), the IBIS Budget hotel is perfect for a quick get away at great price.

IBIS BUDGET ZÜRICH CITY WEST-3184
Picture Source: http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-5678-ibis-budget-birmingham-centre/index.shtml
Image source: http://www.ahstatic.com/photos/5678_ro_00_p_346x260.jpg

At £38.50 for two people, the room is a very good size with everything you desire. Be warned, you will spend at least 10 minutes playing with the light switches. Breakfast is an unlimited buffet for just £5.50 per person. Think cereal, pastries, cold meats, cheeses and more! All for a reasonable price.

However, if you’re looking for a more quiet city break, the Cobden Hotel is perfect. With the cricket ground and Birmingham Convention Centre just up the road, this is ideal if you don’t fancy being plonked in the middle of the city while still getting all the attractions via a bus ride (or you can uber it like we did). For an additional £6 per person you get a day’s entry to their leisure centre which includes a 12m swimming pool (the ultimate giant bathtub!) a compact gym, steam room, sauna and spa! Great for a relaxing night from traveling or for the chance to switch off from the outside world.

Top tip: when looking at hotel prices go on comparison sites like Trivago rather than the hotels own site for a good deal. For example, the hotels website quoted us £65 when we found the same room being advertised for £50 on a comparison site.

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Picture Source: https://www.reservation-booking-system.com/view/search?hotelid=15254&lang=en-us&scroll=true&checkin=2016-08-02&checkout=2016-08-03&adults=2&children=0&pid=eaaf1ff03fd07eef
Image Link: https://cdn1.buuteeq.com/upload/15254/d3s-6161-lowrez1.jpg.400×200.jpg

The night life:

If you want a good night out, then I recommend two options. The first is GAY- VILLAGE, which has a wide variety of gay bars and clubs from a casual cocktail to karaoke bars. Since it’s only a 5-10 minute walk away from the IBIS Hotel and the city centre it is perfectly convenient for a good night out without having to go out of your way for it. If you have to choose one venue, then I would choose The Village Inn. Why? Because of their outstanding entertainment and drag-queen cabaret.

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Picture Source: http://www.villagebirmingham.co.uk/#!untitled/zoom/chvo/dataItem-in7fnmhj
Image link: https://static.wixstatic.com/media/3b263e_046de6b5b71a4e50a2047e5e1c221d29.jpg/v1/fill/w_710,h_397,al_c,q_90,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/3b263e_046de6b5b71a4e50a2047e5e1c221d29.jpg

We visited on a Tuesday and had the joy of watching Miss Penny’s version of ‘Play Your Cards Right’. With a variety of prizes from free shots up to cash jackpots (at the time of writing a giant £300). I was lucky enough to partake and won a £20 bar tab, all of which was very quickly consumed (although in my defence, I did buy Miss Penny a shot or two). I must warn you though, she will rip you to shreds so don’t visit here if you can’t laugh at yourself.

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Picture Source: https://media2.giphy.com/media/KOv9HWHnVepeU/200_s.gif

The second option I recommend is Broad Street. Nearly every night out guides recommend Broad Street to students and for good reasons:

  1. Cheap drinks.
  2. Good clubs/bars.

If you’re like me and prefer Steps to Dubstep, then Popworld is your best port of call. With themed nights such as ‘Hanky Panky’ which has £1.50 drinks, giveaways and (wait for it) Bouncy Castles you are guaranteed to have a great night. Meanwhile their ‘Can’t imagine life without Pop’ night has free booths and Jäger to groups of 15 or more all with the closing at time set at 3am.

Days out (or where to go the morning after the night before).

After downing some water, taking a couple of painkillers and making full use of the buffet breakfast, it’s time to enjoy a day of exploring the local attractions. For the chocoholics amongst you, then a trip to Cadbury’s World is a must.

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Picture Source: http://www.edgemagazine.org/cadbury-world-attraction-unveils-adventurous-new-zone.html
Images link: http://www.edgemagazine.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/4d-chocolate-adventure-at-cadbury-world-680×382.jpg

If you attend on a weekday during term time after 1pm, entry is only £9. Moreover there are loads of free chocolate, free samples and even a pot of melted chocolate (try it with marshmallows sprinkled with Crunchie pieces. It’s heaven in a pot). There are also a couple of rides/ simulator experiences which are a complete and utter hoot.

If you are staying at the Cobden or fancy a cheaper day out then the Birmingham Conservation Park is perfect.

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Picture Source: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/naturecentre
Image link: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobkey=id&blobnocache=false&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1223552240047&ssbinary=true

Entry for students is only £4.80 and is easily accessible via bus. The park is of a very good size and you can easily spend a good morning/ afternoon there visiting the animals and watching the feeding times.

Alternatively if you have some money in the bank then it is worth checking out the famous Bullring for a little bit of retail therapy.

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Picture Source: http://giphy.com/search/jessica-simpson
Image Link: https://media.giphy.com/media/xCVR1V080USmk/giphy.gif

Don’t forget to check out Selfridges, it’s like another world and their food court is AMAZING!

I hope my travel guide helps you to enjoy a city break in Brum. Now if you don’t mind me, I’m off convince the rest of the committee that Birmingham is a good place for a city break.

Kelly Davies

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