If you're visiting Aston for an Open Day, training course or meeting, why not make a full day or weekend out of it and spend some time getting to know the fantastic city of Birmingham. Have a look at our suggestions:
During the day | In the evening | Special events & festivals | Where to eat | Where to stay | Maps & directions
If you want to get your bearings, take our walking tour of Birmingham (PDF) or try the BBC's historical walking tour of Birmingham which takes you through the city from the Ice Age to the Digital Age!
There are plenty of guided tours on offer too, ranging from the Real Ale Trail to an after-dark Ghost Walk, or you could take things easy and go on a canal boat tour.
Museums & galleries
The ThinkTank science and technology museum is located just across the road from campus. There are over 200 hands-on displays as well as a state-of-the-art Planetarium and IMAX Cinema.
At the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery you can see art and objects spanning seven centuries of European and World history and culture. Find out more about Birmingham’s history or see the Egyptian mummies. The museum is particularly famous for its collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Admission is free.
The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is based in the premises of an old jewellery making firm. The museum tells the story of Birmingham’s renowned jewellery and metalworking heritage and you can see live demonstrations of traditional jewellery-making skills.
Aston Hall is a Jacobean-style mansion close to Birmingham city centre. It boasts a series of period rooms which have furniture, paintings, textiles and metalwork from the collections of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Admission is free.
The Birmingham Back to Backs are a carefully restored, 19th-century courtyard of working people's houses. Inside you see what life was like for people who lives and worked there. Admission free to National Trust members
Head to Cadbury World to find out about the history of chocolate, see how it's made and try a few free samples!
Visit the National Sea Life Centre which has over 60 displays of freshwater and marine life. Its one-million-litre ocean tank houses giant green sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks and tropical reef fish, with a fully transparent underwater tunnel.
Birmingham is a shoppers paradise, and it's all within walking distance of Aston. Head to the The Bullring for high street shops and Selfridges or The Mailbox for your designer boutiques. In November and December the German Christmas market is in town.
Parks & gardens
There're many parks and gardens in Birmingham for you to relax in and enjoy and many host special events through the year. You could visit Cannon Hill Park, an attractive Victorian park, or head to the fantastic Botanical Gardens. More on Birmingham's parks and open spaces.
There are three multi-screen cinemas in the city centre showing all the current releases (See what's on at the Odeon, Cineworld and AMC in Birmingham). If you fancy something a bit different head to the state-of-the-art IMAX cinema just across the road from campus, or the the Electric, the UK's oldest working cinema, where you watch a film from the comfort of a sofa and enjoy waiter service!
See a show
With six theatres within walking distance of Aston, you'll have a lot of choice, from major touring west-end shows, to small independent theatre productions. See what's on in Birmingham's theatres.
There's something for everyone every night in Birmingham. Maybe a classical concert at the spectatular Town Hall, a big name band at the O2 Academy or a touring act at the NEC Arena.
Out for drinks
There are literally hundreds of places in Birmingham city centre for you to enjoy a drink, ranging from traditional pubs to canalside bars. If you're looking for ideas, you could head to the Arcadian, Brindley Place or the Mailbox - each home to many drinking establishments!
There's something going on every month in Birmingham. Take a look at our month-by-month guide to special events and festivals in Birmingham.
As always in Birmingham, you'll be spoilt for choice. Head out for a famous Birmingham Balti, try the Chinese Quarter, or splash at out one of our Michelin starred restaurants. Again, you can head to the Arcadian (in the centre of the Chinese Quarter), Brindley Place or the Mailbox - each has many restaurants, so you can book your table or see what you fancy when you get there.
If you want to plan where to eat in advance, you'll find listings, suggestions and reviews online:
You can stay in our on-campus hotel in the Aston Conference Centre - prices start from just £35 per night. For others ideas take a look at the Visit Birmingham site or read reviews of Birmingham hotels. If you're on a tight budget, Birmingham also has several youth hostels.