Birmingham’s Essential Entertainment Guide
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With half term almost upon us, we've selected some great events taking place in Birmingham and its surrounding areas that you and your little ones can enjoy throughout the school holidays.
Jurassic Kingdom - Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Sat 20 May - Sun 4 Jun
Jurassic Kingdom, is a spectacular outdoor dinosaur experience aimed at family audiences with over 30 impressive installations of animated dinosaurs with electronic moving parts. Animatronics include arms moving up and down, tails swaying side-to-side, heads moving up and down, eyes blinking and jaws opening wide with roaring sound effects. Making for a truly awesome educational and entertaining Jurassic experience!
This is the first outdoor dinosaur experience of its kind in the UK and a truly entertaining and educational experience for children of all ages. Visitors will explore the gardens and parklands and uncover epic life-sized replica dinosaurs from everybody’s favorite, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops to flying reptiles like pterosaurs.
20% discount for all What's On readers with the code WHATSON20
Big Howard’s LOL-tastic Yukfest - mac, Sat 27 May
Howard Read (aka Big Howard) last appeared at mac with his animated CBBC pal Little Howard, who was busily attempting to avoid being tragically rubbed out by ‘the pencil of death’.
Big H has now hit the road with another hour’s-worth of mirth. Suitable for youngsters aged five-plus, the show brings together stand-up comedy, interactive digital animation, sound effects and jokes.
And - we’re warned - it may also contain the word ‘elk’. Best brace yourself!...
Oliver! The Musical - Crescent Theatre, Sat 27 May - Sat 3 Jun
Bringing vividly to life Dicken's timeless characters with it's ever-popular story of the boy who asked for more, Lionel Bart's sensational score includes: Food Glorious Food, Consider Yourself, You've Got To Pick-A-Pocket Or Two, I'd Do Anything, Oom Pah Pah, As Long As He Needs Me and many more.
The Great British Food Festival - Weston Park, Sat 27 May - Mon 29 May
Expect to see chef demos, challenge stage (man v cake) top acts on the stage, atisan market, walks, kids activities, great british bake off contestants take over the stage to give talks, plus festival goers can visit the house for just £3!
During the weekend there will be Chef Demos from local retaurants showing off thier skills and making some wonderfuldishes on stage. Offering advice and tips to recreate your own dishes. Chefs include Chris Burt and also Suree Coates from The King and Thai.
There will be a Men V Food event - are you man (or woman) enough to take it on?!
Cake Off - Over 500 cakes have been cut, tasted and deliberated… but only one can be crowned winner!
It’s a GBFF institution and the competition is fierce…don’t forget all cake off entries will get free entry for one adult to the festival!
There will be a Bake Stage where a top baker from a certin baking TV show hosting demos throughout the day.
Artisan Talk - The story of produce with lots of free tasters given away.
Foraging guided walk at various times. It’s an easy stroll, suitable for all ages and abilities (including children), taking in the many varieties of plants and fungi that are edible, medicinal or which can even be used for cosmetic purposes. In addition, our foragers are experts on garden plants which can also be eaten. These taster walks are a real eye-opener; you’ll see your surroundings in a completely different light, even in such a short space of time.
Kids Cookery Lesson - Fancy the little ones being entertained for around 30 mins, having the chance to get their hands dirty whilst learning how to cook up a fabulous treat, they can take home and eat -while you can stand back, watch & relax & best of all, leave us to clean up!
Pirate Week - National Sea Life Centre, Sat 27 May - Sun 4 Jun
They need your help to find the buried treasure, hidden somewhere within the aquarium! Will you be fearsome enough to find the gold?
Lads and lasses are encouraged to come dressed in pirate garb. AHOY ME MATIES!
Tudor Weekend - Blakesley Hall, Sun 28 May - Mon 29 May
Visitors to Blakesley Hall get the chance to participate in Tudor games and dancing, or try their hand at writing with a quill pen, at this family-friendly event.
Tudor reenactors entertain and educate throughout the weekend, presenting Shakespeare's Richard III and battle scenes from Henry V, as well as demonstrating a range of sure-to-be-impressive sword-fighting techniques. Tudor-style cooking is also on the agenda, while a number of Tudor characters will be showing off their textile skills.
Sounds like a step back in time that could be well worth taking...
Picture This - Family Drawing Tour - Aston Hall, Wed 31 May
Find out about some of the people who lived and visited Aston Hall in the past and the secrets hidden in their portraits. Awaken your creativity by having a go at some of the drawing challenges!
An active way to explore the house and portraits inside, this event is suitable for children aged 6 – 12 and accompanying adults. This experience is not suitable for adults not accompanying children. This event will continue for approximately 45min – 1 hour and you will be venturing upstairs together.
Animal Mania - Blakesley Hall, Wed 31 May
Animal Mania, the mobile zoo comes to Blakesley Hall. The animals include lizards, snakes, chinchillas, hedgehogs, giant bunnies, tortoises, creepy crawlies and much more!
£2 per person to see the animals or free with entry to the Hall.
Animal Mania usually consists of around 8 to 12 small animals that children can see and interact with in slots of 20 minutes.
Since opening on Broadway in 1972 and the smash-hit movie starring John Travolta and Olivia Netown-John, Grease’s place has been firmly established in the cultural Hall of Fame, having seduced the hearts of millions with its back-to-back sizzling tunes. It’s the original high-school musical featuring everyone’s favourite characters - Sandy, Danny, the groovy T Birds, the sassy Pink Ladies and the whole gang at Rydell High - and all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You’re The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights, Hopelessly Devoted to You, Sandy, Greased Lightnin’ and many more.
Jimmy Osmond will reprise his acclaimed role as Teen Angel having previously played the role in the West End and will join the previously announced Tom Parker (The Wanted) who makes his musical theatre debut playing Danny Zuko, Danielle Hope (Over the Rainbow) who plays Sandy and Louisa Lytton (Strictly Come Dancing, EastEnders) who plays Rizzo in the hit touring production.
Grease visits Birmingham Hippodrome from Mon 29 May – Sat 3 June.
For tickets visit birminghamhippodrome.com
Spring Walks in Birmingham
After what’s felt like an eternally long winter, warmer days are now finally on the horizon. With that in mind, What’s On has put together a list of its favourite spring walks in and around Birmingham. Breathe in the fresh air, bask in the sunshine and revel in the beauty of the lush greenery surrounding Britain’s second city - it’s not all concrete and high-rises!
Kings Heath Park
Take a look at the beautiful plants and flowers around this family-friendly urban park - the first to achieve Green Flag status in Birmingham. The 35 acres of green space have colourful seasonal bedding schemes, herbaceous borders and a refurbished pool area. You can extend your walk to cover both Kings Heath Park and the nearby historic Highbury Park.
Vicarage Rd, Kings Heath, B14 7TQ
This walkway follows the route of a disused railway which was closed in 1963. The route runs from Harborne to Summerfield Park, which is also a beautiful spot for a spring walk. From there, you can visit Edgbaston Reservoir or join the canal network and walk into Birmingham city centre.
Park Hill Rd / Forrest Drive, Birmingham, B17 9HW
New Hall Valley Country Park
This stunning nature reserve, located in between Wylde Green and Walmley, consists of ancient woodland, historic wetland grazing meadows, part of Plants Brook stream and a working 17th century corn mill. Officially opened in 2005, this 200-acre ‘hidden gem’ boasts a large network of paths, making it ideal for casual walkers, keen cyclists and families alike.
Wylde Green Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B76 1NL
Lickey Hills Country Park
One of Birmingham’s most varied and treasured parks, Lickey Hills covers more than 500 acres and is located just 10 miles south west of Birmingham. Walk to the top of Beacon Hill, the park’s most famous viewpoint, and enjoy panoramic views of Birmingham, the Black Country, the Malvern Hills and beyond.
Warren Ln, Lickey, B45 8ER
Sandwell Valley Country Park
There are plenty of accessible routes to take through this vast nature reserve. Attractions include more than 660 acres of beautiful country park, a fully restored and working Victorian farm, a museum and award-winning tearooms.
Salter's Ln, West Bromwich, B71 4BG
Covering more than 2,400 acres, Sutton Park is the seventh largest urban park in Europe and offers seven beautiful lakes, extensive ancient woodlands, marshes, wildlife and more. There are many well-signposted routes to take throughout the former medieval deer park, allowing you to experience the best of the picturesque nature reserve.
Park Rd, Sutton Coldfield, B74 2YT
Kingsbury Water Park
With 15 stunning lakes located within more than 600 acres of lush green space, Kingsbury Water Park is a popular waterside attraction. Start your walk at the Dog & Doublet pub and make your way north along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal before entering and exploring the park.
Dog Ln, Sutton Coldfield, B76 9JD
This beautiful park in the heart of Lichfield features gardens with stunning floral displays, avenues of trees and historic statues. With play areas for children, a boating pool, woodlands, a pond and a bluebell wood, Beacon Park has something for everyone.
Swan Road, Lichfield, WS13 6QZ
Located just 10 miles away from Birmingham, Clent Hills is one of the most popular hill-walking sites in the country. The National Trust-protected park offers a delightful haven away from the hustle and bustle and comes complete with spectacular hilltop views and stunning woodland walks.
Hagley Wood Ln, Stourbridge, DY9 9JR
Cannon Hill Park
Birmingham’s most popular park, located less than two miles from the city centre, is home to a boating lake, beautiful surrounding walks and popular arts multiplex mac Birmingham. With lots for the kids to do, it’s a great choice for a fun family day out.
2 Russell Rd, Birmingham, B13 8RD
Posted on Wed 24 May
Posted on Tue 23 May