Despite the University of Birmingham having a campus in Edgbaston, it borders Selly Oak where a lot of second and third years choose to live. The area has been inhabited since at least Neolithic times but grew to the suburb you see today during the Victorian era. The main residential area for students is really called Bournbrook after the brook that acted as a boundary years ago. However the name Selly Oak has come to encompass much of surrounding area. The original ‘oak’ was up near the corner of Oak Tree Lane and the Bristol Road but was cut down decades ago.

It is a great place to live with everything you need on your doorstep. There are shops, bars, cafes and takeaways a plenty! These reflect the diverse population which includes local families and students from around the world. The majority of the local shop, bars and takeaways are to be found on the main road, called the Bristol Road. This is not quite so busy now the Selly by pass is in use. Here you’ll find small supermarkets and food and drink places. There are more local shops if you venture onto Raddlebarn Road. These include hairdressers, charity shops, off licenses and general groceries. Larger shops can be accessed nearby at the two shopping parks. Here you can find Next, Halfords, Food Warehouse, Poundland, Sports Direct, TK Maxx, Sainsbury’s, Wilkinson, Superdrug, The works, and several others shops. Check out our blog on shopping and eateries for more information.

The majority of the houses in the area are Victorian terraces that have been extended and redesigned to student life. They generally range from 3 – 6 bedrooms, and there are also purpose built halls of residence. The most popular roads are the ones at right angles to the Bristol Road, including, Dale Road, North Road and Grange Road which are very close to the university campus and thus command a higher rent. On the other side of the Bristol Road you have Heeley Road, Hubert Road, Tiverton Road and Dawlish Road along with the smaller interconnecting road in between. Whichever road you choose you will be close to the university, amenities and public transport. You also have parks nearby and if you want some culture you can walk or take one stop on the train to Bournville. Here you can visit the historic village complete with its own museum called Selly Manor. Or get your chocolate fix at Cadbury World. It is also only a short trip on the bus or train into Birmingham (or a long walk!) where there is an abundance of shops and great nightlife.

Unfortunately with such as high population of students all with multiple expensive gadgets Selly Oak can be a temptation to people wanting to take those devices from you. Top tips are to make sure you don’t leave things on display that might catch the eye of a burglar. Whether you put things away or close curtains this can help. Also make sure that you do not leave windows open and doors unlocked as this is an invitation to an opportunist. West Midlands Police say that laptops are the most stolen items in Selly Oak, as they are easy to carry away and sell on. There are a few muggings but mainly focusing on lone students so try, particularly at night, to stay in groups or with someone else. Don’t plug in and have your music distracting you from what is happening around you.

Wherever you live though, we hope you’ll enjoy your time in Selly Oak and look back with fond memories, I know I do.