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35 awesome things to do locally this July

Start of the summer holidays you cry? Don't worry there's plenty to do for big, little and all ages in-between in Warwickshire and the West Midlands. From immersive exhibitions to smash hit musicals and funky festivals, Muddy's got your back.

EXHIBITIONS

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 next art installation. This one, ‘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 from 19 July – 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.

In Cov, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is holding an exhibition celebrating teenage life and youth culture in Britain. Grown Up in Britain: 100 Years of Teenage Kicks runs from 1 July-12 Feb and is an immersive exhibition portraying home life and teenage bedrooms, first jobs and nights out, hang out spots and ‘must-have’ items – anyone else still can’t bear to throw away their old Tamagotchi and Gameboy? Just me then.

MUSIC

You can get your music fix in Brum this month where there’s a stellar line-up of old school rockers (don’t all the best people come to our patch anyway?) Roger Daltrey will be playing some of The Who’s biggest hits at the Symphony Hall on 4 July followed by Adam Ant on 6 July, and at the Town Hall there’s Gilbert O’Sullivan on 18 July.

Girls night out with mum long overdue? If you fancy some music in some magical surroundings head to Warwick Castle where Michael Buble is playing on 13 July and Tears for Fears on 15&16 July.

Grab your Harrington, Madness are coming to Shrewsbury on 15 July. Not only that, The Zutons and The Hoosiers are coming along too. Expect all their well-known hits and some new stuff too. Perfect if you’re a mega fan or just fancy a Friday night boogie.

Maybe leave mum and dad at home for this one. The Prodigy is performing at the O2 Academy on 16 July and over at the O2 Institute there’s The Struts on 13 July.

For something a little more low-key head to Bicester Village this week where its Extraordinary Sale cranks up a gear to 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.  

Pack your glow sticks and head to Ragley Hall in Alcester for Classic Ibiza on 1&2 July. There’s performances by Urban Soul Orchestra, which blend house and classical music and put their own spin on some of the biggest hits from the white isle. Shut your eyes and your could be dancing on a warm sandy beach.

In Telford at the QEII Arena there’s Tom Grennan on 2 July and Bryan Adams on 3 July. What a line-up.

THEATRE

There’s a host of live, free performances at The RSC’s outdoor stage The Dell throughout July. It’s in Avonbank Gardens, just next to Holy Trinity Church, with performances running from 2 July-28 Aug. They are all student, community and semi-professional productions and include The Tempest, Romeo & Juliet, and Hamlet. Here’s the full listings.

The worldwide smash hit musical We Will Rock You by Queen and Ben Elton is back in Brum at the Hippodrome from 4-30 July. There’s 24 of the band’s biggest hits featured in this show so expect a bit of a singalong, and I hear tickets are already selling fast (and have sold out some nights) so don’t leave it too long if you’re planning on booking.

After a sell-out success last summer, music theatre production The Allesley Silas is back in Cov at the Belgrade Theatre from 23-30 July. It’s based on Warwickshire-based author George Eliot’s novel Silas Marner – which tells the story of a linen weaver who was once an outsider but finds redemption, acceptance, respect and love in his community.

Also in the city is a comedy version of Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet – all on the same night. On 14 July the Albany Theatre will host theatre group ‘440’ for two hours worth of the Bard, in funny form. It’s gotta be seen to be believed, right!

Cov’s Assembly Garden also has loads of great shows on this month. If you still haven’t seen Choir of Man go, go go! It’s on until 31 July so this is your last chance – and it’s absolutely awesome. Singalong after toe-tapping singalong and great fun whether you take your girlfriends, husband, or parents for night out. Also on at the same place is Friendsical, a new parody musical inspired by the hit tv show. It’s on until 31 July.

In Wolverhampton, tv stars Jake Quickenden and Darren Day will take to the stage of the Wolverhampton Grand in Footloose. Expect to be dragged back to the 80s (I’ll leave you to make your own mind up if that’s a good or a bad thing…) for loads of classic hits from 4-9 July.

FESTIVALS

Fancy sipping a G&T in the grounds of a castle? Then don your stately festival gear and head to the Castle at Edgehill for its first gin festival on 2 July. There will be four local gin companies at the event including Muddy faves Warwickshire Gin Company, live music and food from the pub kitchen. See you at the bar – mine’s a double.

Looking for something a little different? Head to Also Festival – the boutique festival of ideas and immersive feasts set in a restorative 50-acre scenic lakeside/forest idyll. It runs from 8-10 July and there’s hundreds of experiences including Ted-style talks, new bands, artists, wine tastings, cocktail making, wild swimming, forest bathing and interesting workshops. 

Dancing shoes ready? Chris Brown, Dave and Cardi B headline Wireless Festival when it returns to Brum for the first time in eight years from 8-10 July. The city is the only place it’s being held outside London and tickets are available for between one and three days.

On the same weekend there’s Warwick’s ever popular Thai Festival on 9&10 July including Buddhist monks, ladyboys, eating competitions, massages, beer gardens and awesome food. Later in the month there’s the Folk Festival from 21-24 July and there’s some great acts on this year including BBC Radio 2 former folk singer of the year Nancy Kerr and local musician Will Pound (who has performed with the likes of Robbie Williams). It’s being held this year in stunning Castle Park, in the shadow of Warwick Castle.

Ever thought ‘I really need a festival for my dog’? Me too. Let me introduce you to one of the most dog-friendly places around – FarGo Village – and they are holding Dog Fest on 23 July for our four-legged furry friends. Obsessed. There’s a fun dog show raising money for Broken Souls Rescue, stalls, street food and a doggy agility course.

Every year organisers pull out the stops for Solihull Summer Music Fest at Tudor Grange Park. This year it’s being held on 23&24 July offering includes acts like Billy Ocean, Shaggy, Artful Dodger and Belinda Carlisle. For more live music head to MADE Festival in Wolverhampton on 30 July – its the West Mid’s biggest music and arts festival so expect live art displays, street food and a load of DJs at this veteran event.

FAMILY

The Lunt Roman Festival is back for the first time since 2019 and takes place on 16&17 July in Baginton. Expect re-enactments of Roman and Ice Age warriors, gladiator displays and chance to try out archery. There’s street food on offer too and a bar.

At Draycote Water in Rugby on 30&31 July there’s a weekend celebrating the Commonwealth Games. Pack up a picnic (fizz optional but recommended), watch the games on the big screen and take part in some retro sports day activities put on by local events company Eventurous.

Head to The Belgrade to catch The Gruffalo on 1&2 July for a musical adaptation of the classic picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

Think your days of enjoying live music are long gone now you’ve got kids? Think again. Check out Peppa Pig: My First Concert which introduces ages 18 months up to a live orchestra. Its at Birmingham Town Hall on 28&29 July.

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