Enjoy exclusive events, festivals and destinations ‘Only Here’ during summer and autumn.
From music extravaganzas to culturally-enriched exhibitions, the West Midlands will host a feast of unique events before the year is out.
Only Here is a selection of exciting festivals, shows and destinations, which have been handpicked for visitors to highlight the region’s varied arts, culture and science offer. They range from a headbanging homage to heavy metal music to a ‘first-glass’ international festival of glassmaking.
Details of the West Midlands events and venues celebrated in Only Here can be found using #OnlyWM on social media, or by visiting Only Here. They include:
§ Home of Metal: Black Sabbath – 50 Years
Until 29th September, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
An exhibition devoted to the music that was born in and around Birmingham, Black Sabbath – 50 Years celebrates the impact and cultural legacy of the band as pioneers of heavy metal.
§ International Festival of Glass
23rd-26th August, Stourbridge
Since its inception in 2004, the Festival aims to celebrate and showcase the skill and innovation of the glass industry and makers – historic and contemporary, local and international.
§ British Science Festival
10th-13th September, University of Warwick/Coventry
Taking place in the region for the first time in its 188-year history, the event is one of Europe’s longest-established science festivals, with a vast array of performances and installations with a scientific twist.
§ Fierce Festival
15th-20th October, Birmingham
Fierce Festival embraces theatre, dance, music, installations, activism, digital practices and parties, filling the city with performances in theatres, galleries and other out-of-the-ordinary spaces.
§ Edgbaston Village
Edgbaston is renowned for its elegant homes, internationally-recognised sports venues and a tempting array of places to eat, drink and stay – including Michelin-starred Simpsons, The Town House and The Edgbaston boutique hotel and cocktail lounge.
§ Jewellery Quarter
An estimated 40% of British jewellery is made in Birmingham’s unique Jewellery Quarter, where you can visit specialist retailers; two heritage museums celebrating the city’s jewellery and pen trade; and independent art galleries and restaurants.
Nicola Hewitt, Commercial Director of the West Midlands Growth Company – which aims to attract visitors to the region – said: “Whether it’s a ground-breaking programme of performances or ambitious art installations, the West Midlands is bursting with cultural gems that attract visitors from far and wide.
“The region has a reputation for innovation and creativity, which is demonstrated by the events taking place here in the coming months. We want our visitors to experience for themselves why the West Midlands has made its mark as a must-see tourism destination.”
UK rail passenger journeys have more than doubled in the last 20 years – and with rail travel producing less carbon emissions than trips by car, visitors are encouraged to enjoy the West Midlands by using London Northwestern Railway services.
Penny Allen, Head of Sales and Marketing at West Midlands Trains, which operates the London Northwestern Railway brand, added: “Fans of art, music and heritage can use our services to enjoy the diverse experiences that can only be found in the West Midlands.
“We are committed to supporting culture lovers to travel easily and in comfort to even more destinations across our network. With earlier and later trains now operating on many routes, with more capacity on many of our services, there has never been a better time to leave the car at home.”
This summer, Birmingham has already had a unique taste of the Wild West with a spectacular, UK-first production of Deadtown at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. A cast of 20 acrobats, dancers, singers and musicians performed using a mixture of film, live action and magic.
To make the West Midlands’ cultural scene even more accessible, tour operator Compass Holidays has created VIP short-break packages offering the ultimate exclusive experience. The packages include tickets for one of the West Midlands’ Only Her’ events, the opportunity to enjoy a meal within the region’s world-renowned culinary scene and an overnight stay at a top hotel.