As the UK’s “Second City”, Birmingham has so much to offer – from an abundance of green space to world-class attractions and an unrivalled cultural scene.
Recently crowned “City of the Year” by Estates Gazette awards, Birmingham has flourished after substantial city-wide regeneration and a successful Commonwealth Games, improving quality of life in the city and elevating Birmingham to the world stage.
In 2019, Mercer ranked Birmingham among the 50 best cities in the world to live based on several factors including public transport, its cultural scene, the availability of housing and quality of schools in its annual Worldwide Quality of Living report; and with Birmingham set to reap more economic benefits from hosting the Games, the future is looking even brighter.
But with so many areas of the city continuing their individual growth on an upward trajectory, is there really just one best place to live in Birmingham?
Our Best Place to Live in Birmingham Shortlist
The heartbeat of the West Midlands and quite rightly the UK’s Second City, the multicultural city centre attracts those in need of retail therapy from far and wide. Boasting the world’s largest Primark, Selfridges, the Bullring Shopping Centre and even a historic Rag Market, there is truly something for everyone in the city centre.
Birmingham city centre is a foodies’ paradise, boasting over 300 restaurants bringing cuisines from over 27 countries – testament to Birmingham’s multiculturalism.
Demand for apartments for sale closer to the city centre increases year-on-year, and St Martin’s Place is the first property development in the city centre to bring superior hotel services to the residential sector. These include resident only access to a state-of-the-art gym, private cinema, private outdoor terrace and wifi-lounge, plus the option to order room service, ironing and dry cleaningfrom Park Regis Hotel. Read our St Martin’s Place case study, here.
An inviting neighbourhood with a diverse high street, this quaint suburban village offers a sanctuary away from the city centre traffic. The high street caters to everyone’s needs, with an impressive mix of high-end stores and quirky independents.
Harborne’s restaurants punch well above their weight for its size, with neighbourhood eateries like Harborne Kitchen and The Plough pub welcoming diners from across the city.
The £12m Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre further offers state of the art leisure facilities if you’re looking to push yourself with a fitness class or unwind with a dip in the pool.
You’ve probably heard by now, but Birmingham has more canals per mile than Venice, and the best place to see them in all their glory is Brindleyplace. Here, you’ll be rewarded with an array of quality restaurants and bars such as the popular Pitcher and Piano, The Alchemist and All Bar One, mixed with rich industrial history that Birmingham is famous for.
It’s established itself as one of Birmingham’s most desirable places for young professionals to live, socialise and work, with international powerhouses like Deloitte and Deutsche Bank situated here as well as smaller start-ups and tech companies. New Street Station just a 15-minute walk away, making it an ideal location for commuters.
Brindleyplace is also home to Utilita Arena Birmingham, the ICC and Symphony Hall, with each hosting an array of events across the year.
The large garden suburb of Bournville has long been reputed as one of the nicest places to live in the UK. Since it’s conception in 1900 by the chocolate magnate and philanthropist, John Cadbury, Bournville’s community spirit continues to live on. One glance over to Sycamore Road’s quaint wool shop, bakery, butcher, florist and independent cafe and that charm is wonderfully evident.
The village is a popular spot due to its strong community vibe, with the Bournville Village Trust being a driving force in creating and maintaining public spaces as well as building a community spirit that is huge draw for prospective homebuyers.
Digbeth and Smithfield
Our own ‘Baby Berlin’. A burgeoning community of creatives, digitally savvy entrepreneurs, dynamic food trucks, baristas and bar workers continue to imbue Digbeth with something it’s always had: character. It’s this eclectic mix things to do in the area that saw Digbeth crowned “Coolest Place to Live” by the Sunday Times in recent years, and the future is looking bright.
Set for huge regeneration projects in the coming decade, Digbeth could be on the cusp of exploding into life as more businesses, investors and residents turn their attention here.
The largest (and most exciting) regeneration project within Birmingham’s ‘Big City Plan’, the space between Digbeth high street and the Bullring will undergo an enormous makeover. Grounded in sustainability and zero carbon emissions, £1.9bn Smithfield development will transform large parts of Digbeth into a dynamic mix of new markets, retail spaces, hotels and cultural buildings. On top of the hugely valuable cultural offerings of Birmingham’s Chinese & Gay Quarter’s respectively, Smithfield looks set to bloom.
Home to two both Aston & Birmingham City University, Eastside’s thriving student population keeps driving the city’s ‘knowledge hub’ forward. Pioneering, experimental and underpinned by a culture of technology-led learning, Eastside also houses Thinktank, Birmingham’s award-winning science museum. Subsequently, the above is capturing the attention of international investors looking to capitalise on the expertise of our home-grown thinkers.
Eastside is also home to the upcoming HS2 train station, which will further elevate the area and allow faster access to key areas of the UK, particularly the capital.
The birthplace of the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, Edgbaston has always been one of Birmingham’s more affluent suburbs. Today, it remains one of the city’s most popular residential areas thanks to a wide variety of attractions. Catch one of England’s test matches at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, play 18-holes at Edgbaston Golf Course, wander around the flora and fauna at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens or Cannon Hill Park and sit down to a Michelin-starred dinner at Simpsons.
Edgbaston Village boasts a whole host of quality pubs such as The Highfield and local favourite The Physician, as well as plenty of shops and cafes to enjoy. There is also a regular and hugely popular artisan market which hosts over 60 stalls of handmade arts & crafts and artisan food & drink.
A Mecca for the UK’s jewellery trade with over 500 jewellery businesses, as well as over 200 listed buildings, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter is steeped in history and still produces over 40% of the UK’s jewellery.
Residential regeneration projects and the green spaces at St. Paul’s Square have created enviable living quarters here in recent years. The Jewellery Quarter’s great independent pub scene (1000 Trades, Button Factory, The Clifden et al) might also play a small part in why so many of Birmingham’s young professionals now reside here.
Kings Heath and Moseley
Live venues with regular gigs have crowned Kings Heath and Moseley the unofficial home for music lovers in Birmingham. Pubs like The Hare & Hounds have an eclectic listing, with anything from techno to disco going on until the early hours. Moseley also plays host to several music festivals each summer, including the popular Moseley Folk Festival.
Aside from the bustling independent bars and cafes lining their respective high streets, both Moseley and Kings Heath have an abundance of green spaces for residents to enjoy, including Cannon Hill Park, Moseley Bog (famed for its influence on Lord of the Rings’ J.R.R Tolkien) and Kings Heath Park.
Like Harborne, Moseley was once voted the “Best Place to Live” by The Sunday Times and it’s soon to be reopened train station has only increased interest in property in the area.
From the shadows that Harborne used to cast over it, Bearwood is coming to the fore with a flurry of new, independent shops, cafes and bars, such as Tamu Café and The Craft Inn, making the high street their home.
Bearwood is also home to Lightwoods Park, a large area of green space which includes a revamped children’s playground, outdoor gym and a skateboard park; as well as the historic 18th century Lightwoods House which now hosts community events and activities.
A Sunday Times survey touted Bearwood as one of the best places for first-time buyers, coming second only to Reading, based on its excellent transport links to the city centre as well as affordable property prices.
As one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Birmingham and located just a stone’s through from the picturesque canals, is a great place some luxury shopping. From its high-end Harvey Nichols department store to Nicky Clarke’s premium hair salon and its plush Everyman cinema, Mailbox isn’t just a place. It’s a destination.
Situated just minutes from the city centre, The Mailbox offers easy connectivity to the most popular areas of Birmingham, making it a cultural hub.
Solihull BID claims it’s ‘one of the best places to live and work in England’. It’s not hard to see why: in addition to the energetic ‘evening economy’ of theatres, cinemas and restaurants, excellent primary and secondary schools make it a prime neighbourhood for families. Two of Birmingham’s most affluent streets are situated here (with average house prices over £1m), too. Solihull also offers close proximity to Resorts World – one of Birmingham’s largest entertainment complexes, providing fine bars, restaurants and designer retail outlets.
Officially The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, this suburban town lays claim to the city’s most expensive property, with a hefty £7.5m price tag. The largest attraction in Sutton Coldfield and Four Oaks is undoubtedly it’s beautiful park, a 2,400 acre nature reserve with bike paths and a lake, drawing people out of Birmingham’s concrete jungle to detox in rich greenery.
One to Watch
Perry Bar & Great Bar
With Birmingham recently hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Perry Barr and Great Barr have received over £700 million in investment focusing on enhancing infrastructure and creating new community spaces.
The largest of the Commonwealth Games venues was Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, which was renovated in preparation for hosting the opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletics events, with an increase of its capacity to 50,000. It now acts as a community and event space which is sure to see a whole host of important sporting events in the future.
With the development of a masterplan to help build on this regeneration, the council’s “Perry Barr 2040: A Vision for Legacy” means there is plenty of good things in the pipeline for the area.