The Commonwealth Games will dominate most thoughts at the start of the month. For good reason too. But there are plenty of other great things happening throughout Birmingham in August as well. From devouring as many menus as possible for Birmingham’s restaurant festival to sparking your competitive side with cook-off challenges and pinball tournaments, here’s our guide to the best things to do in Birmingham this August.
1. Get involved with the Commonwealth Games
The party has well and truly started, and the Commonwealth Games have kicked off in style – the opening ceremony’s mechanical bull has become an instant local celebrity. But there are still plenty of other ways to get involved. A myriad of sporting events are taking place until August 8. So there’s plenty of chances to catch an event or two. In fact, many of the outdoor running and cycling events are completely free to attend. But you can just as easily join a local sports club or have a watching party from the comfort of your own home. There’s no excuse to not get wrapped up in it.
2. Catch some local art for Birmingham Festival 22
To coincide with the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham is running a six-month celebration of artistic events to uplift the creative spirit. Not everything is sport related, but Jaskirt Boora’s People, Place and Sport exhibition is definitely worth checking out and runs until August 31. Through a series of portraits and recordings, she explores gender roles and ethnicity at eight local sites across Birmingham and Sandwell. Other exhibitions include a look at how the British empire has shaped Birmingham’s past and future, the city’s unique history with cinema, and a celebration of local transport.
3. Play some Badminton in a pop-up blossom garden
More than 70 young trees have been planted at the Smithfield Festival Site by the National Trust, as part of the ongoing Birmingham 2022 Festival. The pop-up garden will provide a natural refuge from concrete surroundings and a place to cool down in the heat. Visitors can relax among apple, cherry and plum trees – with colourful benches, hammocks and badminton kits also provided. Care for a rally?
4. Show off your culinary skills at Hampton Manor’s cook-off
Hampton Manor will open its gates again on August 21 for its monthly Sunday Sessions. For the third event in the series, the estate will set a series of cook-off challenges, hosted by former MasterChef: The Professionals Stuart Deeley. Teams of pairs will be put to the test in a taste test, a technical ability challenge and an opportunity to get creative with a chef’s mystery box. Fancy yourself a bit of a hotshot with your knife skills? Time to show off.
5. Get your game on in activity bars
There are a lot of activity bars in Birmingham to bring out your competitive side. Be it darts, board games, or Street Fighter II, there’s enough entertainment to challenge all of your mates and while away those warm august nights. We don’t expect your hand-eye coordination to be perfect, but you never know. The right balance of booze might transform you into a pinball wizard. Just remember it’s the taking part that counts, not the winning…
6. Cool off with Ice-Cream
While the weather cooled slightly at the end of July, more heatwaves are expected this month. What better way is there to cool down than by helping yourself to an ice cream? In fact, any dessert will do. In this heat, you’re going to need to treat yourself as much and as often you like. No judgment from us. Luckily, we’ve rounded up the very best places for that sugar fix you crave.
7. Have a cocktail from this TV-themed menu
Couch in Stirchley has combined two of our favourite pastimes: drinking cocktails and watching TV. Taking inspiration from some of the nation’s most beloved television shows, you can sip on drinks inspired by everything from The Simpsons to Sopranos, Blackadder and Ugly Betty, and more. The menu does change every six months, with Couch’s previous theme focused on matching cocktails to iconic women in music, such as Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox. Get down before they are gone.
8. Eat to your heart’s content at this inaugural restaurant festival
Over 40 restaurants have signed up to this year’s Birmingham Restaurant Festival. Each one has created an exclusive menu for the event too, so there are plenty of reasons to explore Brum’s flourishing restaurant scene. If you prefer seafood, Tex-Mex, a traditional British meal or a proper Brummie curry, the festival will display the range and breadth of Birmingham’s culinary talents. There is no need for a ticket either, just book a table at one of the many eateries involved and enjoy. Yum.
9. Take a Tolkien day trip out
Are you as excited for Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
television show as we are? Yes, of course you are. Then why not hype yourself further by taking a Tolkien-inspired day trip to Worcester. A new major exhibition that celebrates the fantasy world of Tolkien will be showing at the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum. If you want something a little closer to home, however, then try Moseley Bog – near where Tolkien grew-up and which served as inspiration for his pastoral, epic fantasy. It is a wonder of flora and fauna, gnarled trees and carpets of bluebells. As close to visiting Mirkwood as anyone’s likely to come.