The Big Sleuth

How the biggest-ever art trail captured the imagination of kids and adults alike

If you’ve been in Birmingham these past few weeks and haven’t noticed this little lot, well, you must have been walking around with a blindfold on! The Big Sleuth bears have been the talk of the city, and a magnet for kids and their parents on school summer hols.

The bear sculptures – more than 100 in total – form the region’s largest-ever free public art trail stretching out from the city centre to surrounding areas of Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Sandwell and Resorts World. And we’ve picked out some of the best and brightest to feature just in case you missed them…

Creative designs using an array of colours, textures and ideas have come from celebrities and artists, including Temper and Reuben Colley, boy band and Birmingham Living cover star Bradley Simpson from The Vamps, actor Adil Ray (aka Citizen Khan), Birmingham Bears and England cricketer Chris Woakes, adventurer Bear Grylls, and a special Peaky Blinders bear endorsed by the show’s writer Steven Knight.


Each striking sculpture tells a different story, whether it is raising awareness of the children’s hospital, the plight of the sun bear, celebrating a community, the city’s industrial heritage or a famous film character or artist.

The Big Sleuth is a joint project between Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Wild in Art, and has proved even more popular than last year’s Big Hoot trail which featured decorated owls. At the end of the 10-week-long trail, the large bears together with special celebrity bear cubs will be auctioned off in October to raise funds for the hospital. The Big Hoot, raised more than £500,000 for the hospital at auction – so fingers crossed that the Big Sleuth matches and beats that target.

The Big Sleuth Bears will come together for a Farewell Weekend on 6 to 8 October before being sold at the Big Sleuth Auction on 12 October. More details: