News Story

Exterior front view of a Tudor timber-framed house and garden
Three story eighteenth century house

Update 5 May 2023:

Due to a problem with drainage in the cellar and basement areas of Soho House, the building will not reopen as planned on Thursday, June 1.

The Soho House visitor centre, including the Vanley Burke photography exhibition, and the grounds, are unaffected and will be open as planned for any events in those areas.

  • Blakesley Hall and Soho House to re-open from 1st June 2023 as part of a summer of activities for all at Birmingham Museums
  • Blakesley Hall and Soho House to re-open three days a week for the summer season from 1st June 2023
  • May half-term activities at Birmingham Museums include an Urban Nature Day, interactive story telling and kids jewellery workshop
  • Plus look forward to a busy summer of events, workshops and performances across Birmingham Museums

Blakesley Hall and Soho House will reopen to the public from 1st June 2023 for the summer season. Both venues will open three days week, and schools visits, weddings and venue hires will continue as normal.

The re-opening is timed to coincide with the May half-term holiday (27 May – 4 June) meaning that families will be able to explore these important buildings whilst also enjoying a host of special events across Birmingham Museums.

Families can meet real live animals at the Urban Nature Day with ZooLabs at Blakesley Hall, and learn about the animals that Tudor people would have had in their homes, farms and gardens. The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter host a Kids Jewellery Workshop, whilst Aston Hall are offering an interactive storytelling experience inspired by Beauty and the Beast. There are crafting days at Aston Hall, Soho House and Blakesley Hall, Nature Explorers at Sarehole Mill and a guided tour of Weoley Castle.

Back by popular demand, the photographic exhibition Blood and Fire: Our Journey Through Vanley Burke’s History will re-open at Soho House from 1 June. First shown as part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, the exhibition takes visitors through a journey through the artist’s archives and the Black British experience.

A person standing looking at large photograph on the wall.

Sara Wajid, Joint CEO of Birmingham Musesums Trust, explains,

“Birmingham Museums Trust is a registered charity and as with all other organisations, the cost of running the charity has been increasing. As a result, we sadly could not afford to fully open Blakesley Hall and Soho House as we normally would at Easter. We’re delighted to now reopen them in time for the May half-term holidays, and there is an exciting programme of events for our visitors to enjoy.”

Looking further ahead to summer, a busy programme of events is planned across Birmingham Museums.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the action-packed romp Mansion Mystery at Aston Hall in August, experience a pizza and wine evening at Sarehole Mill and be part of a Medieval Open Day at Weoley Castle. The Crescent Theatre present The Taming of the Shew at Blakesley Hall, plus special events are planned to mark South Asian History Month and Windrush Day 75.

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter will undergo essential roof repairs over the summer. A date for reopening later in the year will be confirmed as soon as possible.

Blakesley Hall is a timber-framed Tudor house, situated just a few miles from the centre of Birmingham. The beautiful Elizabethan house is one of the city’s oldest and most historically significant buildings. It was built over 430 years ago in 1590 by Richard Smalbroke, a member of one of Birmingham’s leading merchant families.

Soho House was the home of the industrialist and entrepreneur Matthew Boulton from 1766 to 1809, and became a favourite meeting place of the Lunar Society. This group of free thinking scientists and industrialists included Joseph Priestley, Erasmus Darwin, Josiah Wedgwood, James Watt and William Withering. Today, it stands as a beautifully restored monument that reflects the fashions and tastes of the late Georgian period.

A young child with an adult curiously examining the vegetation

May half-term and summer highlight events at Birmingham Museums are listed below.

Admission charges apply.

May Half-Term at Birmingham Museums

Nature Explorers

Wednesday 31st May, Sarehole Mill

Nature Explorers encourages children and their grown up to get hands on with nature in the grounds of Sarehole Mill and the wider area. Join our Learning Officer in exploring the natural world on your doorstep. The week we’ll be making maps and learning basic orienteering skills.

Family Craft

Thursday 1st June, Soho House

Drop-in for a relaxed family arts and craft activity.

Crafty Thursday

Thursday 1st June, Blakesley Hall

Join us in the Barn for Crafty Thursdays at Blakesley Hall! A fun craft activity suitable for all children

Kids Jewellery Workshop

Thursday 1st June, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter

Have a go at making your own piece of jewellery with the help of our friendly learning officers in this special children’s jewellery workshop.

Urban Nature Day with ZooLab

Friday 2nd June, Blakesley Hall

Join the ZooLabs team to get up close and hands-on with some real live animals! Learn about the animals the Tudors would have had in their homes, farms and gardens. We’ll also have a range of activities in the Blakesley Gardens to discover more about Urban Nature and what you can do to protect it!

Tall Tales from Around the World: Beauty and the Beast

Friday 2nd June, Aston Hall

Join our interactive storytelling experience for families. Smell the spices traded by Beauty’s merchant father, help search for the Prince in Beauty’s dreams, and find out why roses are so important to Beauty and the Beast.

First Saturday Guided Tour

Saturday 3rd June, Weoley Castle

Explore Weoley Castle with our experienced guides and see real finds from the site back on display for the first time in over 10 years!

Aston Arts Club

Saturday 3rd June, Aston Hall

Join us to make something inspired by Aston Hall and its incredible history. A completely free, drop-in club open to all to relax and create together.

Explore the Mill

Saturday 3rd June, Sarehole Mill

Explore Sarehole Mill at your leisure without the need for a guided tour!

Family group walking along the path by Blakesley Hall.

Summer Highlight Events at Birmingham Museums

Sonia Sabri Presents: Mughal Miniatures for South Asian Heritage Month

Saturday 29th July, Aston Hall

Sonia Sabri company show their latest dance and music performance, ‘Mughal Miniatures’. Expect a vibrant performance event for all the family, using the gardens and Long Gallery, which celebrates and takes inspiration from the exquisite traditional art of Indian and Persian miniature painting. As well as the performances, families can take part in themed craft activities and enjoy exploring the rest of the Hall and grounds.

Part of South Asian Heritage Month, July 18 - August 17.

Talk: The Art of Indian and Persian Miniature Painting

Saturday 29th July, Aston Hall

Sonia Sabri Company's latest new dance and music performance 'Mughal Miniatures' takes inspiration from the splendour and beauty of this traditional painting style, originating from the Mughal courts of 9th and 10th century, but still practiced today.

Join Artistic Director Sonia and leading academic experts, as they discuss the cultural significance of these amazing works, their multi-cultural roots, and modern debates around the representation of women in and decolonisation of such works.

Part of South Asian Heritage Month, July 18 - August 17.

Rusticus Presents: Mansion Mystery

Saturday 26th August, Aston Hall

Mansion Mystery is an action-packed romp which evokes the world of childhood adventure stories!

Audiences join Edward and Kitty on a summer holiday to Aston Hall, where things are not as they seem… Aunt Penny goes missing and soon everyone is caught up in solving an exciting mystery whilst taking part in a whole range of games and activities!

Join us on an interactive walking adventure which makes the most of the outdoor spaces at Aston.

Dress for the weather – shows will go on! All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Booking essential. Book tickets.

Perfectly paired pizza and wine evening

Saturday 26th June, 5.30pm, Sarehole Mill

Join us for an evening of Italian themed deliciousness! Throughout the evening you’ll be treated to two of our favourite things : pizza and wine. Our stone baked pizzas are prepared and baked on site by our baker, who uses the finest ingredients to create authentic Italian pizza.

In addition to great food and great company, we’ll need some great wine. Enjoy a brief introduction to the basics of wine tasting and enjoy informal and fun tasting during the event. You’ll be treated to five wonderful wines from Italy, and find out about the regions they come from, and what it is that makes pizza and wine the perfect match.

Tickets for this event includes pizza tasters with each of the five expertly paired wines.

Pre-booking is essential. Age 18+. Full details visit Sarehole Mill what's On.

Windrush 75

Saturday 10th June, Thursday 22nd June, Saturday 24th June, Soho House

Soho House presents a programme of activity to celebrate and commemorate the 75th Anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush’s arrival in Britain. The Windrush Generation and their descendants have had a huge impact on the cultural identity of Birmingham. This programme celebrates the food, stories, music and history of our vital, vibrate and important African Caribbean community.

Programme highlights include:

  • Saturday 10th June - A Taste of Handsworth Walking Tour Windrush Special
  • Thursday 22nd June - Windrush Day 75: Laura Ige ‘My Father, His Journey’ performance and Lunch
  • Saturday 24th June - Windrush Day 75: Family Storytelling with Jane Blake and Crafts by Black Arts Forum

Medieval Open Day

Saturday 1st July, Weoley Castle

Join us for a special event where you learn what life was like in medieval Birmingham with re-enactors, battle displays, storytelling, guided tours, craft activities and much more!

Festival of Archaeology Open Day

Friday 28th July, Weoley Castle

Join us for a special open day as part of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology 2022. Learn about the archaeology of Weoley Castle and see some of the archaeological finds discovered at Weoley. Expect guided tours of the Ruins throughout the day and more fun activities!

Crescent Theatre presents The Taming of the Shrew

Saturday 8th July and Sunday 9th July 2023 5.00pm-8.00pm, Blakesley Hall

The Crescent Theatre visit Blakesley Hall to perform William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Performances will take place outdoors in the peaceful Blakesley gardens on a (hopefully) warm July summers evening.

Ticketing details visit Blakesley Hall what's on.

Shiver Me Timbers! Pirate Day

Thursday 27th July 2023 11.30am, 1.00pm, 2.30pm, Blakesley Hall

£4 per person

Join our Pirate Captain for an exciting one hour pirate show in the Gallery at Blakesley Hall. Learn all about pirate ships, the jobs and tasks on board, and you will even get a chance to walk the plank! Whoever finds the treasure on the island will win a special prize! Why not come along dressed as a Pirate too?!

A fun, interactive show suitable for all the family. There will also be a Pirate Treasure Hunt activity trail in the grounds that families can do before or after their visit to the Pirate Show.

Please pre-book your ticket to avoid disappointment as tickets will not be available on the door.

Blakesley Hall gardens, Herb Garden Café and Shop are all open from 11.00am to 4.00pm so you can enjoy yourselves before or after the show.

Teddy Bear Zip Wire!

Thursday 3rd August 2023 11.30am-3.30pm, Blakesley Hall

Join in the fun on National Play Day! Have your teddy bear zip wire from the top of Blakesley Hall down to the gardens. Make a badge to mark their achievement, follow our themed garden trail and play our garden games. Why not make a day of it and bring a picnic too?

More more details of events and booking information visit Blakesley Hall what's on.