There are incredible art and sculpture trails across the West Midlands.
Offering something for everyone, these beautiful walks include everything from century-old works of art to modern graffiti, and there’s plenty for the kids to explore, too.
Toddlers will love Gruffalo and dinosaur spotting in Cannock and Coventry, looking for a mermaid in Edgbaston and finding a bear in Handsworth and Icarus in the Lickey Hills.
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There is a conker seat, a giant acorn cup, a pyramid tower, and a stairway to heaven carved out of an old tree trunk.
Best of all, these trails are free and don’t require pre-booking. Simply download the maps using the links provided, print them out at home, or view them on your phone as you walk around. Have a good exploration!
University of Birmingham Sculpture Trail
There is a sculpture trail at the University of Birmingham which has 13 fascinating statues, some of which date back to the 18th century.
Birmingham’s oldest sculpture, the Equestrian Statue of King George I (1722) by John Nost, stands guard outside the Barber Institute, and at the west gate you’ll find the colossal statue of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi in honor of the principal scientist Michael Faraday carried out in 2000 to mark the University’s first centenary.
Look for the Mermaid Fountain, King Edward VII in marble, heraldic shields and the bust of medical pioneer Dame Hilda Lloyd among many others. The university park is freely accessible on foot. You can download a Guide to the Sculpture Trail here
It is well worth visiting the Barber Institute of Fine Arts while you are staying here as well. It’s free but booking may be required depending on Covid rules.
Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
Handsworth Park Arts Trail
Do you remember the Big Sleuth Bear Trail in 2017? The magnificent Sun Guardian Bear has found his forever home in Handsworth Park!
There’s also a feather carved tree trunk seat, a Victorian drinking fountain canopy, and an interactive keepsake chest.
Look for a pyramid tower, a Sons of Rest mosaic to commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI in 2018, as well as the “ship’s bow” and anchor from the SS Journey.
This public art trail is worth the detour. It started as a temporary art trail in 2015 and was so popular that it has become a permanent fixture. Learn more about the route here
Stop by the Boathouse Cafe for a cup of tea to make it an afternoon.
Holly Road, Handsworth, Birmingham B20 2BY
The Dinosaur Trail at the University of Warwick
The University of Warwick Sculpture Park has a lot to see and is open to the public.
Ideal for families, check out “The Highway Robber Trail” which is 1.5 miles long and takes about 30 minutes to walk, and “The Dinosaur Trail” which is just under a mile and takes about 20 minutes and includes two huge corten steel dinosaurs!
Field logs are available for both routes, providing plenty of trail-related kids activities and plenty of room to draw. Maps can be downloaded here to print at home, as part of Coventry Rocks, or pick up a flyer at the Warwick Arts Center box office.
Also on the courses, discover the Obelisk of the Needle of Knowledge, a Pollen Bomb and the Don’t Be Stupid sculptures by Richard Deacon.
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL
Digbeth Graffiti Trail
The Digbeth Graffiti Art Trail is a blaze of color, humor and energy with over 40 murals on the walls of the Custard Factory, under the arches of the railway tracks, in the hidden streets and on the palisades.
You’ll find multi-story artwork, small portraits, eyes, and cartoons designed just to encourage people to stop and smile.
There are actors, politicians and musicians immortalized in spray paint, animals, words and flowers – look for Winston Churchill, Muhammed Ali, David Bowie and more.
The walk starts and ends at Moor Street station and is about three miles long, with plenty of cafes and bars to stop for a refreshment along the way. The bullring and Selfridges are also nearby.
Some works of art are hidden, so it’s best to download the trail guide here to find them all.
Moor Street Station, Birmingham B4 7UL
Lickey Hills Sculpture Trail
There is music and mythology to be discovered on the Lickey Hills Sculpture Trail, which has grown since its launch in 1991.
Favorites include the wood carvings of Icarus and the spirit of the woods depicting Hermaphrodite, the bird man and the green man, which symbolize fertility and rebirth.
There is also a solar / wind harp, particularly popular with children, activated by the wind and the sun. It has been featured on local television shows. Pick up a trail map at the Visitor Center, which serves light snacks. Learn more here
During your stay, you can also enjoy the Tri Golf for families and the adventure playground.
Warren Lane, Lickey, Birmingham, B45 8ER
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Gruffalo Watchers Trail in Cannock Chase Forest
If you have Julia Donaldson fans, you must visit Cannock Chase!
Simply download a free app before you visit, then watch The Gruffalo characters come to life in the dark, deep woods using augmented reality technology, which lets you interact with them.
And, if you want more, you can buy a specially designed activity pack for £ 3.50 at the cafe, visitor center or Go Ape.
The trail begins at the Birches Valley Forest Center. For more information, click here
Cannock Chase Forest, Birches Valley, Rugeley, WS15 2UQ
Lichfield Sculpture Trail
The Lichfield Sculpture Trail is fun because it has an audio guide that you can download from the City of Sculpture app to listen to it as you walk.
It’s best to start with the Cathedral, which has over 100 sculptures outside, but you can pick it up at any time.
The trail takes you through the garden of the Erasmus Darwin Museum, to the Lichfield War Memorial on Bird Street and into Beacon Park, which has a large adventure playground.
Look for Noah and the Dove on St John Street, the Samuel Johnson monument in Market Square and The Reading Girl by Antonio Rossetti which is inside St Marys Library. Learn more here
Lichfield Cathedral, The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD
Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail
There are 16 works of art to explore on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, all of which have been inspired by the unique heritage of the forest.
They have been intentionally left behind by the forest over time, naturally eroding from time, animals, plant growth, and public traffic.
The trail is about 4.5 miles long and takes two to three hours. You can download a map or just follow the purple markers. There are shortcuts if you only want to walk for an hour.
Visit the ‘cathedral’ stained glass sculpture suspended in a peaceful avenue of trees, a ‘train line’ carved from 20 railway ties, a huge acorn cup and a pine cone carved in stone and ‘rings of fire ”high in the treetops.
You can also pick up a card for £ 1 at the Beechenhurst Visitor Center, where you can grab a bite to eat. There is also a Gruffalo Spotters trail, a playground, and a Go Ape treetop adventure. Learn more here
Beechenhurst Forest, Speech House Road, Coleford GL16 7EJ
Stoke on Trent Sculpture Trail
This is a huge path, which runs through the city center and its suburbs, passing through the gardens of Tunstall, Burslem, Fenton, Longton and Trentham, where you can find a carbon copy of the original 16th century statue of Perseus of Cellini with the head of Medusa.
Look for “Golden – The Flame That Never Dies”, the Pottery Pyramid, Tunstall Shard, the Angel of Victory, Josiah Wedgewood and Stoke’s football legend Sir Stanley Matthews.
You can download a map here or pick up a leaflet at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, where there is a cafe – although there are also plenty of cafes and pubs to stop by along the way.
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3DW
Saltwells Nature Reserve Sculpture Trail
Saltwells National Nature Reserve is said to be one of the largest urban nature reserves in the UK.
Here you will find ancient woods of bluebells, geology of national significance, wetlands filled with dragonflies, and meadows covered with orchids.
There are four self-guided trails, including a sculpture trail, just over a mile long and marked with posts and signs along the way.
Find out more and download the routes here
Discover other great family activities to do in your area here:
Ellesmere Sculpture Trail
There is a maze to explore in Ellesmere in Shropshire, with an oak ‘Sshhh’ sculpture, a staircase leading to Heaven carved from a hollowed-out tree trunk and a conker seat.
The trail takes you through formal gardens, woodland, along the Ellesmere Canal, past Town Hall and onto The Mere with its Victorian gardens and historic castle.
The carvings vary from wood, steel and stoneware to ceramic, granite and engraved zinc. Learn more here
Meres Visitor Center, Ellesmere SY12 0PA
If you like exploring the trails, check out the Treasure Trail guides here. There’s one for Birmingham, Bournville, Sutton Coldfield, Solihull, Tipton, Stourbridge, Wolverhampton, Droitwich Spa and more.
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