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53 awesome things to do in August

There's a certain sporting event taking place on our patch this month, and the Muddy diary is more packed than ever. Here's everything you can't afford to miss.

Muddy pick: Commonwealth festival events

Incase you haven’t heard, the Commonwealth Games are here – in the West bloody Midlands (here’s my insider guide to our patch!) And not only does that mean loads of awesome sports for us to get our mitts on, there’s also plenty of top events taking place all over our patch. There’s way too many to list so take a look for yourself, but some we can’t wait for are catching a performance by local circus dance act Motionhouse, and heading to all-age inclusive (yes I’m 33 and defo going) play space Abundance – both in Brum.

FOODIES

The Belgrade in Cov may be known for its stand-out theatre – but how about food? On 20 Aug its hosting a pop-up restaurant in newly refurbished Nineteen 58 bar with chefs Sarah Jenkins (who heads things up at FarGo’s Commonground) and Joel Gore bringing a six-course menu including wild mushroom ravioli in parmesan broth and olive oil ice cream. I’ll be there so say hi!

Chicken wings your thing? You’re not gonna miss this. The brains behind Digbeth Dining Club are hosting WingFest on 13&14 Aug on Fazeley Street in Brum. There’s more than 20 different traders so expect flavours from the spicy to the weird and wonderful.

Scone m’lady? For a few select days this year Lady Herbert’s Garden in Coventry is opening to serve afternoon tea. The garden was developed in the 1930s by local philanthropist Sir Alfred Herbert. He designed it for his wife Florence, ‘Lady Herbert’, to be a ‘haven of peace and floral beauty’ in the busy city centre. Food’s being served by local faves Esquires coffee. The next event is on 28 Aug.

THEATRE

We love a bit of outdoor theatre here at Muddy and National Trust is putting on a play about everyones favourite cutesy bunny Peter Rabbit. It’s on at Packwood House and there’s no seating so pack a blanket, camping chair and a picnic hamper full of treats and make a day of it on 5 Aug.

There’s also Tread the Boards who are taking their adaptation of The Three Musketeers to various sites across the region from Henley in Arden Cricket Club to Aston Hall this month. Here’s the full list of dates.

Birmingham Hippodrome is staging new musical The Cher Show, full of absolute banging singalong tunes. It’s on from 2-6 Aug and I’m as excited for the outfits as I am the music. Choreography is by Strictly judge Oti Mabuse and it’s directed by former judge Arlene Phillips. And not content with one massive musical, the Hippodrome is putting on Les Miserables from 9-27 Aug. Talk about spoilt for choice.

Elsewhere in the city there’s Fame at the Alexandra Theatre from 25-27 Aug. I’ll also be checking out new musical To The Streets which is inspired by the Bristol Bus Boycott – a pivotal moment in the UK’s civil rights movement. It’s cast are all from the West Mids and its on at Handsworth Park in the city, Warwick Arts Centre and Wolverhampton’s West Park from 9-28 Aug.

In Stratford-upon-Avon there’s two great shows on at the RSC with Richard III still running and All’s Well That Ends Well starting from 16 Aug. If you go (which I defo recommend you do) then make sure you book in for dinner at the RSC’s Rooftop Restaurant – it’s one of my favourite places to eat in the town.

In Cov the Assembly Garden is still open so now’s your chance to go – theatre, streetfood and drinks all in one place! There’s a new show called Havana Rumba bringing a dose of summer to the city. It’s on from 3-29 Aug and is all about the black music of Cuba. If you get a taste for the music there’s chance to take part in a dance class with the musicians in Havana Dance Party from 4-28 Aug. Arriba!

OUTDOOR CINEMA

If you’re more about the movies than the shows then head to National Trust’s Baddesley Clinton in Solihull where West Side Story is on the big screen on 12 Aug, Mamma Mia! on 13 Aug and Rocky Horror Picture Show on 14 Aug. Picnic optional, fizz and singing loudly and out of tune is obligatory.

In the grounds of Cov’s stunning Coombe Abbey there’s a host of outdoor movie nights too. They start on Aug 26 with Spice World, Aug 27 is Encanto in the afternoon and Mamma Mia! in the evening, Aug 28 sees Harry Potter at 2pm and Bohemian Rhapsody at 8pm. Well, I think that’s everyone covered.

FESTIVALS

Birmingham’s annual Tilt Festival is returning to the city from 1-12 Aug. There’s heaps on from live performances and masterclasses. Here’s the full list of events.

One of the UK’s largest family music festivals is being held in the West Mids for the first time this year – and the line-up is good. At Camp Festival Shopshire between 18-21 Aug there’s Fatboy Slim, Faithless and Mr Scruff among the acts and loads of theatre, activities and talks too.

In Leamington’s Pump Room Gardens there’s the annual Warwickshire Pride Festival which is always great fun. Expect stalls, live performances, a dog show and all round fabulousness. It’s on 20 Aug. The weekend before in Leam’s Jephson and Mill Close Gardens there’s the ever-interesting Art in the Park Festival on 13&14 Aug. There will be plenty of displays, loads of one-off pieces to buy and it’s just a great all-round chilled day in one of the prettiest parts of the town. Make sure you drop in and see our friends at Warwickshire Gin Company too – their new vodka is bloody delicious and we’ve bagged a 10% off code off a 70ck bottle if you quote MuddyVodka (it works online too – go, go, go!)

You’ve never seen Ragley Hall like this before. The fields of the stately home are transformed into a huge festival site from 26-28 Aug for family-friendly Camper Calling. There’s music from the likes of Basement Jaxx, James, and Del Amitri (what a blast from the past!) Make sure you check out the Mindfulness Field for all things zen.

One to keep the kids and the dog busy? We’re in. This was rearranged from July (remember that heatwave) FarGo Village is holding Dog Fest on 27 Aug for our four-legged furry friends. There’s a fun dog show raising money for Broken Souls Rescue, stalls, street food and a doggy agility course.

MUSIC

Honey-voiced Jack Savoretti is heading to Tamworth Castle for a gig on 12 Aug and being supported by Sporty Spice – soz – Mel C.

Catch Jamie T‘s set at Glasto? If not you’re missing out. Fear not, he’s playing in Cov on 2 Aug to launch his new album. Expect loads of new songs and old classics. Can’t. Wait.

Just gimme the light? Seana-Paul is on at The Forum in Brum on 26 Aug if you fancy a singalong of some old school classics. On the same date there’s fellow blast from the past Ocean Colour Scene who are playing at the New Irish Centre just down the road in Kings Heath.

Elsewhere in Birmingham there’s Flogging Molly on 17 Aug at the O2 Institute and in Cov at FarGo Village there’s Jazz Jam featuring Tom Lindsay on 4 Aug.

EXHIBITIONS

At The Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry there’s two new exhibitions launching from 12 Aug and running until next year. Brought to Light reflects over six decades of collecting at the Herbert – with some unseen artwork; while If you prick us, do we not bleed? is by the National Gallery’s artist-in-residence Ali Cherri.

Compton Verney just won the Muddy award for best art gallery (check out our other winners here) so obviously I’d recommend hotfooting it to their current installation. ‘Luke Jerram: Crossings‘ is an immersive experience where you row out onto the lake while listening to some incredible stories from around the world. It’s on until 4 Sept so pick a sunny day, pack a picnic and make the most of the beautiful grounds afterwards. Inside the gallery there’s David Batchelor: Colour Is which runs until 2 Oct and is definitely worth stopping by. It looks at his work with colour and includes sculpture, installations, drawing, painting, photography, and animation.

FEEL GOOD FASHION

Hello dopamine dressing! Bicester Village has teamed up with Smiley® to launch a collection of beach-ready sliders, hats, t-shirts and more with all proceeds donated to BV’s DO GOOD charity partners. Visit the pop-up shop at the village (the collection is super-reasonable, with most pieces around £25), plus keep your eyes peeled for the bright yellow installations around the village – perfect Instagram fodder. 

Bicester Village’s Extraordinary Sale is also running until 14 Aug with up to 70% off normal Village prices – and that includes many SS22 current season items. PLUS the Summer Evenings programme has started with live music, cocktail happy hours and 10pm opening every Thursday until 25 Aug.  

KIDS

St Mary’s Guildhall in Cov has just opened after (deep breath) – £6m of extensive refurbishments. If you want to be one of the first ones for a peek around it’s a great family day out bringing 700 years of local history to life. Head down on the 11, 18 or 25 Aug where there’s extra craft activities taking place.

At beautiful Compton Verney there’s chance to let their imaginations run wild at Woodland Tribe – where kids and families work together to create magical structures and play spaces. Between 3-14 Aug children can get hands on with the team using real tools to build a wooden structure on site – think a bridge, tower or even a castle. Also at Compton Verney is the Big Art Holiday Club from 23-26 Aug. It’s a whopper four day event of making inspired by amazing outdoor artwork in the meadow and the current sculptural colour exhibition. That should keep them busy for a bit. 

Fancy meeting some ‘real life’ dinos? Europe’s largest walking dinosaurs will be on show at Hatton Adventure World until 4 Sept including the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex, towering Brontosaurus and ferocious Raptors, feeling brave? The beasts will be brought back to life using state-of-the-art animatronics, puppetry and SFX.

Warwick Castle is back with its Dragon Slayer night-time spectacular from 12-21 Aug. If you haven’t been before it’s got a bit of everything – live battles, fire-breathing dragons and awesome special effects along the side of the castle. If you fancy making a night of it book into the Knights Village for glamping or stop in a lodge. If castles are your thing head to Kenilworth from 27-29 Aug where there’s the Knight’s Tournament and the chance to see life in a medieval encampment and watch warriors do battle.

For something less medieval swing by the grounds of Tamworth Castle on 28 Aug for Funtopia, when the grounds will be taken over by bouncy castles, obstacle courses, inflatable slides and sumo suits and circus skills to name a few. If you’re looking to tire them out, this is the one. It’s suitable for kids up to ten-years-old but for little ones there’s a designated play zone for under 5s. Funtopia is also at Nuneaton’s Riversley Park on 6 Aug.

Ohh now this is something different to keep them entertained. How about a journey on vintage steam train The Shakespeare Express? On 7 Aug you can book in on one of the trains with extra entertainment the Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties. Sign us up!

WORKSHOPS

Dogs Trust Kenilworth is holding free workshops to help families understand dogs – whether they are pet owners or not. Expect lots of games and activities to help little ones learn safe and kind ways to show dogs love and help understand their body language. Sessions are about 90 minutes and take place at Dogs Trust Kenilworth on 3 & 24 Aug, Dickens Heath Library on 4 Aug and Shirley Library on 11 Aug. Email becky.short@dogstrust.org.uk for more information. 

Yoga, smoothie bikes and all around wellness are the focus of this clean-living session at Market Hall Museum in Warwick (sounds blissful, right?) The Race Ready workshops are for ages 2 up and are being held on 2 Aug throughout the day. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Oh well, if you insist. 

Also at Market Hall Museum little ones can customise their bikes on 6 Aug by creating their own handlebar streamers. It’s a drop-in session between 10am and midday so just turn up.

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