Page 1

WELCOME TO

STAFFORDSHIRE K I N G F I S H E RV I S I TO R G U I D E S . CO M / STA F FO R D S H I R E

FOLLOW KINGFISHER VISITOR GUIDES

NOT FOR SALE PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE


MOORCROFT An Original Arts and Crafts Pottery Company... in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, the World Capital of Ceramics

Unicorn p Designer: Kerry Goodwin RRP: £595

t Flamingos Designer: Nicola Slaney RRP: £185

Wild Gladioli: vase & lamp p Designer: Nicola Slaney Vase: £1930; Lamp complete with shade: £2165

‘There is alchemy to our pottery. It is the secret recipe of materials, the quality of handmade detail, and the unending exploration of design. Our passion for making art pottery using only the finest ingredients and age-old methods has meant Moorcraft has withstood the test of time for over 100 years.’ – Elise Adams, Managing Director


Art Celebrating the Natural World New for 2018: The Art of Ornithology RSPB Collection Designer: Kerry Goodwin Prices start from £280 for pieces in this special Collection

READER OFFER WITH YOUR MOORCROFT FACTORY TOUR Special offer £50 off Moorcroft Pottery purchased at the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre, Sandbach Road, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST6 2DQ following a factory tour. Voucher must be used on day of tour. Not redeemable for cash. Quote ‘WTS18’ in the enquiry box when booking your factory tour at

www.moorcroft.com/factory tour

www.moorcroft.com Telephone: 01782 820500 • Email: enquiries@moorcroft.com Moorcroft Limited, Sandbach Road, Burslem Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST6 2DQ


at p s Bo ts u son a r se 8 pe 2 to

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Colin Cameron COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR

Ian Heads PRODUCTION MANAGER

Joanne James PRODUCTION

Georgia Baddeley Ashleigh Heald HEAD OF DESIGN

Howard Malone DESIGN

Becky Abdy Ashleigh Cook Lily Ray

Scheduled cruises run on Saturdays 12:00-14:00 & 15:00-17:00 and on Sundays 12:00-14:00 Limited weekday cruises are available 12:00-14:00 (check in on our website calendar for updates)

SALES

Shauna Dean Kevin Hepburn Sara Hopper Liz Hughes Theresa Mahoney Gemma Marrin Beverley Oakes Teresa Smurthwaite Dawn Tinkler Lynne Walls Siobhan Wilkinson

Booking is always essential to avoid disappointment, but last minute bookings are always welcome subject to availability.

SALES ENQUIRES: 0191 482 5799 WE’RE SUPPORTING:

We also offer: 2hr afternoon tea cruise (unlimited tea or coffee) // £19.95pp Children’s afternoon tea cruise // £14.95pp Prosecco & cocktail afternoon tea // £24.95pp Cheese & wine evenings // £24.95pp Fish & chips cruise dates // £16.50pp Gin & canapé evenings // £25pp

Published by Kingfisher Media Ltd

WWW.KINGFISHERVISITORGUIDES.COM PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This publication, its title and content, is wholly owned by and the copyright of Kingfisher Media Ltd. It is entirely independent and does not endorse, and is not supported or endorsed by, any official or private body or organisation. Reproduction in whole or in part by any means without written permission from the publisher is strictly forbidden. The publisher accepts no responsibility for errors, omissions or the consequences thereof. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for the views expressed by contributors, or for the accuracy of claims made by advertisements appearing in this publication.

Children’s parties also available including afternoon tea and a choice of the following packages: Cupcake workshops, jewellery making, biscuit making and mug decorating. These start from £24.95 per child (why not add a theme? Additional charges apply) Private hire is available for all your celebrations, including: Weddings, birthdays, christenings, baby showers, corporate events, team building days, hen & stag celebrations

www.georgiescanalcruises.co.uk

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

KVGWTS-72-0118-BB

Parkgate Lock, Teddesley, Penkridge ST19 5RH info@georgiescanalcruises.co.uk 01902 686094 // 07946 490203

4

Printed by Bell and Bain Ltd – www.bell-bain.com FRONT COVER IMAGES: ALTON TOWERS RESORT; JOE WAINWRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY/TRENTHAM ESTATE; SIMON FORSTER/TAYLOR GROTE/YUANBIN DU/UNSPLASH; STAFFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL

kingfishervisitorguides.com


CONTENTS

48 hours

Our weekend favourites out and about in Staffordshire... Page 36

Eating out

Find plenty of country pubs and upmarket eateries here... Page 40

10

28

26

CONTENTS Welcome...................................................................................... 09 Staffordshire is a county like no other!

History all around.......................................................................10 From buried treasure to bloody battlefields, stately homes to wartime relics, Staffordshire’s colourful past will fascinate you.

©NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/ANDREW BUTLER/NATIONALTRUST.ORG.UK; ADOBESTOCK; ALTON TOWERS RESORT; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITENGLAND/DIANA JARVIS

Let’s go there............................................................................... 12 Many of the county’s best features are in the great outdoors, so let’s head outside no matter what the weather.

Ten things you must do........................................................... 26 There are loads of things to do here – make sure you don’t miss these.

12

Like to shop? You’ll love it here............................................. 28 Don’t limit yourself to the high street chains – the independents and home-grown heroes here are just waiting to be discovered.

If you’re only here for 48 hours.............................................. 36 You can pack a lot into a couple of days – try this itinerary to make the most of it.

A taste of Staffordshire – and the world............................... 40 From down-to-earth local favourites to fine dining and international cuisine, this county has it all.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

5

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


CONTENTS

Business

Staffordshire’s pottery industry is currently enjoying a renaissance... Page 70

54

Nightlife

Expect the best of country pubs and buzzing clubs... Page 50

60

62 28

Ten reasons to love Staffordshire.......................................... 48 There are dozens of reasons to love it here – check out a few of our favourites.

Welcome to the night............................................................... 50 Staffordshire might not be able to offer all the thrills of big city life, but you’ll find plenty to keep you busy after dark.

A region at the heart of art....................................................... 54 From ceramics and literature to unique festivals and outdoor spectaculars, you will be surprised with the cultural offerings here.

Our sporting life......................................................................... 60 ADOBESTOCK; CARON BADKIN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; JOSEPHINE AMALIE PAYSEN/ UNSPLASH; VISITENGLAND/DIANA JARVIS/ENJOY STAFFORDSHIRE; WORLD OF WEDGWOOD

Whether you want to watch or take part, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in Staffordshire.

Getting here and getting around............................................ 62 Travellers from near and far will find this region an incredibly easy place to reach and travel around.

48

Let’s explore................................................................................ 66 Staffordshire is a fantastic base for exploring some of the surrounding counties and attractions.

If you’re planning to stay longer............................................ 68 You can get plenty of bang for your buck when it comes to property here, so have a look around and find your dream home.

We’re open for business........................................................... 70 With an industrial past famed for revolutionary pottery techniques, Staffordshire’s entrepreneurial flair for innovation is still burning bright today.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

7

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


Enjoy

South Staffordshire and the surrounding area • Weston Park • Moseley Old Hall • Boscobel House • Kinver Rock Houses • Wightwick Manor

Discover new and exciting places to visit for all the family to enjoy • Rodbaston Animal Zone • Quaint Villages • Rural Walks • Country Pubs and Tea Rooms • Events

www.enjoysouthstaffordshire.co.uk Follow us on:

enjoysouthstaffs

@enjoysstaffs


WELCOME

WELCOME

ADOBESTOCK; SIMON FORSTER/UNSPLASH

W

kingfishervisitorguides.com

elcome to Staffordshire, the county with something for everyone, whether it’s long family days outdoors, a walk in our fabulous countryside or maybe a history and heritage weekend, shopping spree or culture break. This is a county of contrasts. There are acres of impressive outdoor vistas, more lovely countryside than you can shake a stick at, and the more urban attractions with plenty of eating, drinking and general enjoyment on offer. We have an impressive and captivating history, and ancient castles and scenery which have inspired artists, photographers and those who simply want to stand and stare at our great landscapes. There is also ultra-modern shopping, eating out, arts and culture, bags of sporting activities, and some great hotels which will make you very welcome. You’ve picked a great time to visit our wonderful county, so please enjoy everything it has to offer, and come back and visit us soon! l

9

“THERE IS ULTRAMODERN SHOPPING, EATING OUT, ARTS AND CULTURE, BAGS OF SPORTING ACTIVITIES, AND SOME GREAT HOTELS WHICH WILL MAKE YOU VERY WELCOME”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


HISTORY & HERITAGE

HISTORY ALL AROUND! From buried treasure to bloody battlefields, stately homes to wartime relics, Staffordshire’s colourful past will fascinate you

SUE BURTON PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

S

World War. Watch out for overgrown brick foundations and practice trenches, as well as the abandoned village and military hospital at Brindley Heath, and while you’re on the Chase, don’t miss the Iron Age hill fort known as Castle Ring, once home to the Celtic Cornovii tribe. For historic sites with a bit more left to see, head for Tutbury Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned, or Moseley Old Hall, on the border with Wolverhampton, where Charles II hid in a priest-hole during his escape to France following defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. Continuing the royal theme, the Shugborough Estate, near Great Haywood, was the home of Patrick, Lord Lichfield, until his death in 2005. The Georgian mansion house, farm, walled garden and 900 acres of parkland are now run by the National Trust, and you can easily spend a day exploring all its nooks and crannies. Don’t forget to get a timed ticket for Lord Lichfield’s private apartments – it’s all arranged as if the celebrated photographer had just popped out for a minute. Staffordshire’s history is, of course, tightly bound up with centuries of industrial developments, so whether you’re interested in brewing, pottery, mining or canals you’ll be content. Head to the National Brewery Centre in Burton, the Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, the Apedale Heritage Centre in Chesterton or the Etruria Industrial Museum to get your fill. You won’t be able to stop Staffordshire’s history getting under your skin while it gets under your feet. l

taffordshire has its fair share of beautiful stately homes and atmospheric ruined castles – more on those later – but you need to look under the surface for some of its most intriguing history. Back in Anglo-Saxon times, the area we know as Staffordshire was the heart of the Kingdom of Mercia, which had its capital where Tamworth now stands. At some point in the 7th century AD and for reasons unknown, warriors buried a huge cache of more than 3,500 gold, silver and jewelled items in what is now Hammerwich, near Lichfield. Discovered by a metal detectorist in 2009 in a recentlyploughed field, the Staffordshire Hoard is the largest and most valuable collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found. Most of the pieces originally decorated swords, shields, helmets and other military gear, and are beautifully crafted with an astonishing degree of detail. You can view items from the Hoard in a permanent display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley. Over the centuries many bloody battles have been fought on Staffordshire soil, including the battle of Blore Heath, near Newcastle, in 1459, one of the first major clashes in the War of the Roses, and at Hopton Heath, near Stafford, in 1643 during the Civil War. You’ll also find haunting 20th-century wartime history just below your feet on Cannock Chase, which was home to thousands of soldiers in training camps during the First

“DISCOVERED BY A METAL DETECTORIST IN 2009 IN A RECENTLY-PLOUGHED FIELD, THE STAFFORDSHIRE HOARD IS THE LARGEST AND MOST VALUABLE COLLECTION OF ANGLO-SAXON TREASURE EVER FOUND”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

11

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


DAYS OUT

LET’S GO THERE! Many of Staffordshire’s best features are in the great outdoors, so let’s head outside no matter what the weather

NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM; VISITENGLAND/DIANA JARVIS

S

taffordshire is a real gem hidden in plain sight in the heart of England. With a fascinating mix of industrial heritage, screaminducing theme parks and beautiful countryside, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. You could spend a happy day walking on Cannock Chase, browsing the antique shops in Leek or visiting one of the county’s well-kept public spaces, such as Victoria Park in Stafford or Queen’s Park in Longton. But there are also plenty of attractions that showcase Staffordshire on a national and even international stage. The county’s central position made it the ideal location for a vitally important place of “pilgrimage” in the form of the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, between Lichfield and Burton. Described as “the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance”, the 150-acre Arboretum is home to more than 300 memorials to the armed forces, emergency services, civilian organisations and national charities as well as more than 30,000 trees which make up a living tribute. Planting began in 1997 and, 20 years on, a fresh programme of tree planting was started in 2017 to complement the new £15.7m remembrance centre, which includes three exhibition galleries, a restaurant, shop and coffee shop and a beautiful cloistered courtyard. Don’t miss the haunting Shot At Dawn memorial, remembering the men executed for “cowardice” in the First World War, the heart-breaking Sands garden, which pays tribute to babies lost before, during or shortly after birth, and the Millennium Chapel of Peace and Forgiveness, where the Last Post sounds every day at 11am. p17

“THE 150-ACRE ARBORETUM IS HOME TO MORE THAN 300 MEMORIALS TO THE ARMED FORCES, EMERGENCY SERVICES, CIVILIAN ORGANISATIONS AND NATIONAL CHARITIES”

13

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


Main image by Robert Falconer

www.e-v-r.com 01629 823076

Step on to our vintage trains from yesteryear and travel through the beautiful rural countryside.  Pullman Buffet at Wirksworth Station  On train dining (pre-book only)  Museum coach, Miniature Railway, Gift Shops and more… Wirksworth Station, Coldwell Street, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, DE4 4FB

excitinm’ bo

THE DOUBLE

coe als d

£11 PER PERSON

FAMILY 3 £33 - FAMILY 4 £44 - FAMILY 5 £55

THE BIG 3

£15 PER PERSON

FAMILY 3 £35 - FAMILY 4 £60 - FAMILY 5 £75

Uttoxeter’s Premium Entertainment Centre

3 GREAT ACTIVITIES - 1 GREAT PRICE

COMBO MEAL DEAL

O ABLE T AVAIL IN OR EAT WAY A TAKE

ANY 7” PIZZA, POTATO WEDGES & A REGULAR DRINK

FOR £5.00

CINEBOWL-ISKATE TOWN MEADOWS WAY,UTTOXETER, STAFFORDSHIRE, ST148AZ

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

14

kingfishervisitorguides.com


Something for everyone Kick back and relax in a stunning scenic setting, stimulate your senses at the internationally renowned Trentham Gardens and spend some quality family time in the great outdoors. Experience distinctively charming, inspirational shopping and seek out the perfect purchase or enjoy a tantalising treat for your taste buds, a sumptuous snack, lazy lunch, family feast or dinner date at Trentham Shopping Village. Roam free amongst the Barbary macaques at Trentham Monkey Forest. Satisfy your hunger for adventures and thirst for life. You’ll find something to please everyone, right here at The Trentham Estate. To discover what’s on or for special offers, visit

www.trentham.co.uk

SHOP EAT RELAX ENJOY Stone Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire 5 minutes from J15 M6, Sat Nav Post Code ST4 8JG Call 01782 646646 Email enquiry@trentham.co.uk

www.trentham.co.uk


Newcastle-under-Lyme If you’re looking for culture, a fun-packed day with friends and family, fantastic food and drink or you simply want to shop till you drop, Newcastle-under-Lyme has it all.

Located just minutes from Junction 15 of the M6, Newcastle under Lyme is a bustling market town in the heart of Staffordshire. The birthplace of Philip Astley, the founder of the modern circus, it’s no surprise that we know how to give visitors an enjoyable time! Newcastle is home to the award-winning New Vic Theatre, Europe’s first purpose-built theatre-in-the-round. The audience surround the performers on all sides, creating a spellbinding theatrical atmosphere. An eclectic mix of international-class drama, music and performance takes centre stage all year round. Set in beautiful parkland, the family-friendly Brampton Museum and Art Gallery has something for everyone, including a Victorian street scene, toys gallery, 1940s house and temporary exhibitions and galleries. The museum sits in Brampton Park with its stunning gardens, play area, café, mini steam train and animal enclosure. Trent Art Gallery specialises in original paintings and works on paper from modern British artists, including a significant body of work from Staffordshire. There are always over 100 original paintings on show. If you’re looking for family fun, then head for Lymelight Boulevard, where you can see the latest blockbusters at the Vue cinema. If you

fancy something a bit more energetic, head for the 10-pin bowling alley at Lymelight Lanes, or let off some steam at Laser Quest. Escape Room, meanwhile, is an interactive, real-life escape game where you’re locked in a themed room and have 60 minutes to solve challenging puzzles to get out! If you do manage to escape, you can take a break at one of Lymelight Boulevard’s cafes, bars and restaurants. At the nearby Jubilee 2, you can try your hand at the climbing wall, have a swim or simply relax in the sauna before heading back into the town centre again, refreshed and revitalised. Newcastle has an attractive, bustling town centre with everything for shopaholics, from big-name retailers to an impressive line-up of independent shops. Visit the Roebuck Shopping Centre or Astley Walk and, when you need a break, you’ll find lots of top-class bars, cafes and restaurants ready to look after you – or you can take the weight off your feet in Queen’s Gardens, right in the heart of the town centre. Look out for the monthly farmers’ market (third Friday in the month), where you can get your hands on the finest Staffordshire food and drink, and there’s an antiques market every Tuesday. The town centre also has a packed programme of events over the year, including the Lymelight music festival, Newcastle Jazz and Blues Festival and more.

For more information about Newcastle under Lyme, visit www.visitcastle.co.uk


ALTON TOWERS RESORT; ING IMAGE

DAYS OUT

And, of course, the centrepiece of the whole site is the stunning Armed Forces Memorial, its Portland stone walls inscribed with the names of the 16,000 servicemen and women of the British armed forces killed on duty or through terrorist action since the Second World War. New names are painstakingly chiselled every year and, poignantly, there is plenty of space left for future additions. Despite its subject matter, the Arboretum – the winner of Enjoy Staffordshire’s Large Visitor Attraction of the Year award in 2017 – is not a depressing place to come to. Visitors of all ages can explore, discover and remember, and there are plenty of memorials that will appeal to children, such as the giant polar bear tribute to the 49th Infantry West Riding Division, the first monument ever to be installed on the site. Speaking of children, if you have any in your party you are unlikely to be able to leave Staffordshire without a request to go to Alton Towers, one of the most popular theme parks in the country. Located in the Staffordshire Moorlands near the village of Alton, the park combines major white-knuckle rollercoasters like Nemesis and Oblivion with the calmer charms of pre-school favourite CBeebies Land.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

The park is built on the former estate belonging to now ruined Alton Towers stately home, which today contains a terrifying “walk-through dark ride” based on a local legend. Queues are long throughout the park at peak times so try to go mid-week if possible, and if it all gets too much, enjoy a stroll in the gardens or take a cable car ride for a bird’s view of the entire site. Perhaps less well-known but still as thrilling is Drayton Manor in Drayton Bassett, near Tamworth. It has its share of nail-biting rides, including Shockwave, Europe’s only stand-up rollercoaster, but the big draw is Thomas Land, a hugely popular multimillionpound attraction for fans of the lovable tank engine. There’s even a zoo on site that’s home to more than 100 animals from around the world, from majestic tigers to cute guinea pigs. Or if you prefer your animals to be of the prehistoric variety, there’s a Dinotrail with life-size model dinosaurs to excite or terrify your children. For a tamer but no less enjoyable ride, board the Foxfield Light Railway for a five-mile round trip on a historic steam train. Departing from its station at Blythe Bridge, the railway celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017 as a volunteer-run tourist attraction. It was originally p20

17

“THE PARK COMBINES WHITE-KNUCKLE ROLLERCOASTERS LIKE NEMESIS AND OBLIVION WITH CALMER CHARMS LIKE CBEEBIES LAND”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


STOKE-ON-TRENT Stoke-on-Trent is a unique city affectionately known as The Potteries. With its rich industrial heritage it has respectfully claimed the title of World Capital of Ceramics. The city boasts a host of award-winning ceramic attractions, museums, and factory shops as well as outstanding family attractions and beautiful gardens. For information about great places to visit, things to see and do, fantastic events and accommodation in the area... Call 01782 236000 Email stoke.tic@stoke.gov.uk or go to visitstoke.co.uk

VISITSTOKE.CO.UK


Stoke-on-Trent

C

onveniently positioned between Junctions 15 and 16 of the M6, Stoke-on-Trent is a city built on a history of industrial greatness and creative artistic flair. Stoke-on-Trent has seen a resurgence of all things that made the city great. From pottery to performing arts and everything in between, it’s home to world-class attractions, incredible talents and creative businesses. The city boasts many ceramic visitor centres, award winning museums, authentic factory tours, over 20 pottery shops, exciting family attractions, beautiful gardens and the exclusive Staffordshire Hoard. The World of Wedgwood is a new visitor experience in Stoke-on-Trent. This latest City landmark is the fruition of a £34 million development programme at Wedgwood’s headquarters in Barlaston. The all-new state-ofthe-art visitor experience features an interactive hands-on factory tour, and the chance to spend time in the Wedgwood Museum, buy fine china and ceramics in the flagship store, and dine in the elegant Wedgwood Tearoom or Restaurant. World-famous backstamps such as Wedgwood, Moorcroft, Spode, Aynsley and Portmeirion, along with world-class designers, are the obvious reasons why almost everyone in the world will have already heard of Stoke-on-Trent. But even if the behindthe-scenes factory visits, and the opportunity to purchase some of the nation’s finest pottery and bone china remain a key reason for wanting to “make it” to The Potteries in the first place, it is still worthwhile delving a little deeper to discover what else there is on offer.

The history and heritage of the area, of course, is well preserved at numerous locations across the city including at Middleport Pottery, which opened in July 2014 following a £9 million restoration bythe Prince’s Regeneration Trust; and the award winning Gladstone Pottery Museum, the most complete Victorian pottery factory in the UK, boasting interactive exhibitions and a “Flushed with Pride” tribute to toilets past, present and future! For the complete pottery experience follow the Ceramics Trail and discover, learn, try and buy! www.ceramicstrail.co.uk. Enjoy a great day out at the Trentham Estate for shopping and eating out, peace and quiet, fun and action! Visit the award-winning Trentham Gardens, which have matured into some of the finest gardens in Britain. Indulge yourself in some retail therapy at the Trentham Shopping Village with shops, cafés, restaurants and the vast Trentham Garden Centre. Walk with 140 Barbary macaques at the Trentham Monkey Forest or take a high rope adventure at Aerial Extreme. The Trentham Estate

has a great events programme throughout the year to suit everyone – from nature lovers, to the green fingered and active kids to music lovers – all set in a truly stunning setting. Elsewhere – in a Cultural Quarter which also boasts The Regent Theatre and The Victoria Hall – The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is famous for housing the finest collection of Staffordshire ceramics in the world. These days, however, it is also ‘home’ to the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest ever ‘find’ of Anglo-Saxon gold treasure in the UK – valued by the British Museum at £3.285-million. Not only does Stoke-on-Trent have a proud industrial history but also a sporting one. Stokeon-Trent is home to two professional football clubs – Premier League’s Stoke City and League 2’s Port Vale. Come and experience the thrill and excitement of a match day at first hand at the Bet365 Stadium or Vale Park and see some of the biggest names in the world of football. For further details, head to www.visitstoke.co.uk and www.ceramicstrail.co.uk.


JOE WAINWRIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY/TRENTHAM ESTATE; VISITENGLAND/VISIT STOKE ON TRENT

DAYS OUT

built in 1893 to link the Foxfield Colliery in the nearby village Dilhorne to the North Staffordshire Railway line in Blythe Bridge, but takes a circuitous route because it had to be constructed as far away from Dilhorne Hall as possible. The Foxfield Light Railway Society now has more than 30 locomotives as well as a purpose-built miniature railway used to train up the next generation of volunteer engineers. Keen steam enthusiasts will also enjoy the Churnet Valley Railway, which departs from Froghall Wharf, about seven miles away from Blythe Bridge. For the ultimate relaxing trip you can explore the county’s waterways with a two-hour canal cruise on the recently restored Georgie Kate. Setting sail from Penkridge, the 70ft narrow boat takes you along the tranquil Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal to Acton Trussell and back, while you enjoy an afternoon tea of home-made sandwiches and cakes and plentiful teas and coffees. You can also take to the water at the Trentham Estate, as a cruise on the lake aboard the catamaran Miss Elizabeth is just one of the many activities on offer. Your ticket takes you one-way across the one-mile Capability Brown-designed lake and drops you at the café on the far side, from where you can

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

“DON’T MISS THE AMAZING GARDENS, WHICH ARE ONE OF THE BIGGEST HORTICULTURAL SUCCESS STORIES OF RECENT YEARS”

20

walk back to the gardens either way along the lakeside path. Allow a full day for a visit to the estate because there’s just so much to do – as more than three million visitors each year discover! Retail fans will love the garden centre and shopping village, with its mix of well-known names, quirky independents and a variety of eateries. But don’t miss the amazing gardens, which are one of the biggest horticultural success stories of recent years. Originally the grounds of Trentham Hall, most of which was demolished in the early 20th century, the award-winning gardens have been restored to their former glory and beyond in a revival led by renowned designer Tom Stuart-Smith. Start in the Italian Gardens, which are based on Sir Charles Barry’s original 19th-century plan. Stroll along the wide paths enjoying the flower borders, 100-metre trellis walk, seven impressive fountains and the majestic remains of one of Trentham Hall’s loggias. And down by the lake you’ll find the iconic bronze sculpture of Perseus holding aloft Medusa’s severed head, a 19th-century replica of Benvenuto Cellini’s original 16th-century masterpiece. Far less gruesomely, the estate is also home p25

kingfishervisitorguides.com


Explore the

fascinating world...

Trentham Monkey Forest

a4l0k W 1 gst

g

in ams o r y ee nke

n

amo

fr

mo

Walk amongst monkeys at Trentham Monkey Forest and enjoy a unique experience. Enter the home of 140 free-roaming Barbary macaques, living in an ancient Staffordshire woodland. Wander along the ¾-mile visitor path and watch the monkeys’ antics unfold in front of you. Listen to hourly feedings talks, visit The Jungle Shop and have a bite to eat in The Banana Café. There are also multiple play areas for your little monkeys! Monkey Forest is the perfect day out for all the family to enjoy. See website for seasonal opening times, dates and prices.

Sat Nav ST12 9HR

…of the endangered

Barbary macaque!

www.monkey-forest.com

M 6 – E X IT 15

Steam trains for all ages...

Blythe Bridge, Stoke-on-Trent ST11 9BG – www.foxfieldrailway.co.uk

kingfishervisitorguides.com

21

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


LEEK & RUDYARD RAILWAY Leek and Rudyard railway is a narrow gauge railway offering a wonderful three-mile round journey alongside the historic Rudyard Lake

Silver Trees is a quiet park located on Cannock Chase with holiday homes to rent or buy. Deer graze on our nature reserve, swap the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a more leisurely pace. Enjoy a walk through the Chase, burn some energy on our all-weather tennis court, or swim in our indoor heated pool during a totally private session.

Trains run from Rudyard Station to Hunthouse Wood, with an intermediate stop at The Dam, giving access to the lake visitor centre.

See our website for details and our video presentation, or better still call in and see in person!

www.silvertreesholidaypark.co.uk 01889 582185

info@silvertreesholidaypark.co.uk

T. 01538 306 704

Stafford Brook Road | Penkridge Bank | Rugeley | WS15 2TX

Rudyard Station | Rudyard | Leek | ST13 8PF

WWW.RLSR.ORG

Quiet family run country holiday park, on Shropshire Staffordshire border, New & Used Caravans for sale. Web: www.oaklandholidaypark.co.uk Call: 01902 851302

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

22

kingfishervisitorguides.com


Sudbury Hall and the National Trust Museum of Childhood Explore the historic home of the Vernon family and get to know some of the amazing characters who have moulded Sudbury over the centuries. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage we’ll be telling women’s stories from Sudbury’s past, from humble housekeepers to influential wives, giving a snapshot into what makes Sudbury what it is today. Stories brought to life by a display of art and media, created by the Students of Derby College, in the Hall’s most iconic spaces from the Long Gallery to the depths of the basements. The Museum of Childhood situated in the Hall’s old service wing is a delight for all ages, discover something new, or relive nostalgic memories. Explore childhoods of times gone by, play with toys and share stories. Try your hand as a chimney sweep, a scullion or a Victorian school pupil, and be captivated by our archive film and interactive displays. Telephone: 01283 585337 Email: sudburyhall@nationaltrust.org.uk Website: www.nationaltrust.org.uk Facebook: @SudburyHall

VISIT A PL ACE OF

PURE BE AUT Y Come and visit Lichfield Cathedral, the only medieval three-spired Cathedral in England. The Cathedral has been welcoming visitors for 1,300 years and is home to treasures including the Lichfield Angel and St Chad Gospels. The Cathedral also hosts a range of exciting special events, concerts and exhibitions throughout the year. Join our mailing list and stay up to date with what’s coming up.

www.lichfield-cathedral.org Tel: 01543 306100 Email: enquiries@lichfield-cathedral.org Like us on Facebook

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

Follow us on twitter @LichfieldCath

24

kingfishervisitorguides.com


SUE BURTON PHOTOGRAPHY LTD/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; TRENTHAM MONKEY FOREST; WORLD OF WEDGWOOD

DAYS OUT

to an enchanting collection of 15 fairies, hidden throughout the gardens, woods and lakeside. Created by local artist Robin Wight, each one is different and they are surprisingly full of personality, despite being made from galvanised and stainless steel wire. Keep your eyes peeled though, because some are very hard to find. While you’re in a spotting mood, head for the neighbouring Monkey Forest, a unique attraction where 140 endangered Barbary macaques live freely among the trees. It’s a delight to watch them swinging in the branches and playing together – and sometimes warning each other off – as they go about their everyday lives in front of you. Don’t miss the hourly feeding talks to learn more about the monkey society unfolding before your eyes. The knowledgeable guides know each monkey personally, and can tell you everything you might want to discover about them. Eagle-eyed garden lovers might find a primate of a different sort at Biddulph Grange Garden close to Staffordshire’s border with Cheshire, where a stone ape lurks in the Egyptian section inside a temple guarded by two sphinxes. Watch out, too, for a giant stone frog and a shining golden water buffalo in the Chinese garden, which is designed to echo a willow pattern plate.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“WANDER FOR HOURS AROUND THE NARROW PATHWAYS, TUNNELS AND INTRIGUING VISTAS – BUT BE WARNED, THERE ARE MORE THAN 400 STEPS TO NAVIGATE”

25

You can wander for hours around the narrow pathways, tunnels and intriguing vistas in this Grade 1-listed Victorian garden – but be warned, there are more than 400 steps to navigate. Hopefully you have brought your raincoat with you and are equipped to tackle Staffordshire in all weathers, but if you need an indoor activity you won’t go wrong with World of Wedgwood in Barlaston. You can explore 250 years of innovation and design as well as learning about the hugely influential Josiah Wedgwood and his impact on society. He wasn’t only a potter and industrialist – he invented a pyrometer to measure extremely high temperatures in kilns, for example, and was a passionate slavery abolitionist. The museum displays a UNESCO-protected ceramics collection on long-term loan from the V&A, including a “first day vase” thrown by Josiah Wedgwood himself to mark the successful opening of the Etruria factory on 13 June, 1769. You can tour the modern-day factory and see the production of world famous Jasperware pieces – the blue and white pottery synonymous with the Wedgwood brand – as well as having a go on a potter’s wheel yourself. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll find there’s so much here in Staffordshire – it’s easy to get to, but oh so hard to leave. l

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


10

THINGS YOU MUST DO!

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

26

kingfishervisitorguides.com


10 THINGS

[01] WALK WITH THE ANIMALS AT THE MONKEY FOREST

Trentham is the unlikely home of 140 free-roaming Barbary macaques, who wander around as if oblivious to the human interlopers watching them. If you visit in late spring look out for tiny black-haired babies clinging to their monkey parents’ chests.

MARTIN CHRISTOPHER PARKER/MK JONES/SUE BURTON PHOTOGRAPHY LTD/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; THE POTTERIES MUSEUM & ART GALLERY; TRENTHAM ESTATE; TRENTHAM MONKEY FOREST

[02] ATTEND EVENSONG AT LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL With its three spires, Lichfield is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the land. Make time to attend a Choral Evensong service, which take place every day except Saturday, for a truly unforgettable and transcendent experience. [03] WATCH OUT FOR ROYAL GHOSTS AT TUTBURY CASTLE It’s said that Mary, Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at the castle, is among a number of ghosts haunting this atmospheric ruin. You might also spot a spectral man in a suit of armour or a little boy and girl. [04] STEP BACK IN TIME AT MIDDLEPORT POTTERY The home of Burleigh Pottery and the BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down, Middleport is a hub for contemporary crafts as well as a historic factory complete with Grade 2-listed bottle kiln. Book a tour in advance and see pottery being made using the same methods as in the 1880s. [05] TRY AN OATCAKE Not to be confused with its dry biscuity Scottish namesake, the humble oatcake is a true Staffordshire delicacy. It’s best described

kingfishervisitorguides.com

as a savoury pancake but it’s so much more than that. Tickle your tastebuds with traditional favourites cheese, bacon, sausage or a combination of the three, and prepare to be astonished. [06] GET LOST IN BIDDULPH GRANGE GARDEN There’s something new to see around every corner in this masterpiece of Victorian horticultural design, from an Egyptian court to the memorable China Garden with its pagoda, bridges and gilded water buffalo. See if you can find the giant stone frog!

“YOU’LL BE HUMBLED AND UPLIFTED BY A VISIT TO THE UK’S NATIONAL CENTRE FOR REMEMBRANCE, WHICH PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE ARMED FORCES, EMERGENCY SERVICES, NATIONAL CHARITIES AND CIVILIAN ORGANISATIONS”

[09] BE AMAZED AT THE POTTERIES MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY Items from the world famous Staffordshire Hoard are on display at this Hanley museum, and other treasures include a collection of 667 cow-shaped cream jugs and Ozzy the Owl, a 17th-century slipware jug “discovered” on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow in 1990. [10] WRAP UP WARM AT TAMWORTH SNOWDOME Even in the height of summer you’ll need your woollies on because there’s winter fun for all the family on real snow, including skiing, tobogganing and skating. l

[07] CRACK THE CODE AT SHUGBOROUGH Even Bletchley Park’s finest code-breakers couldn’t solve the puzzle of the mysterious Shepherd’s Monument on the Shugborough Estate. Explore the Georgian mansion house, working farm, walled garden and 900 acres of parkland while you try to figure it out. [08] REMEMBER THE FALLEN AT THE NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM You’ll be humbled and uplifted by a visit to the UK’s national centre for remembrance, which pays tribute to the armed forces, emergency services, national charities and civilian organisations. A two-minute silence is held every day in the Millennium Chapel.

27

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


SHOPPING

LIKE TO SHOP? YOU’LL LOVE IT HERE! Don’t limit yourself to the high street chains – Staffordshire’s independents and home-grown heroes are just waiting to be discovered


CHAMELION STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; INTU POTTERIES; STAFFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL

S

wide selection of lifestyle, home and garden products as well as a choice of three restaurants, Terrazzo del Giardino, Caffé Bello and the Six Arches Restaurant. But for a real retail treat turn left at the mini-roundabout, grab yourself a space on the large free car park and head straight for the 78 timber lodges that make up the shopping village. There’s an eclectic mix of stores with many names you’ll recognise and many you won’t – but will definitely want to explore! Falling broadly into eight categories – art and ceramics, craft and hobby, fashion and accessories, food and snacks, gifts and collectables, homeware, health and beauty, and outdoors and leisure – the stores are attractively laid out along a wide shopping street and offer a unique experience to tempt even the most jaded shopper. Big brand names include Antler, Cotton Traders, L’Occitane and Whittard of Chelsea, while the area’s pottery connections are well-represented by local favourites Steelite International, Portmeirion, Spode and Royal Worcester. You can even decorate a piece of pottery yourself at The Potters Barn, p30

avvy shoppers will be spoilt for choice in Staffordshire, with a wealth of market towns, retail villages and factory shops to tempt every shopaholic. While it’s true that many high streets around the country have grown almost indistinguishable, here in Staffordshire you’ll easily find places oozing with local charm where you can wander for hours and pick up some goodies to take home. A good starting point on your retail journey is the recently extended shopping village on the Trentham Estate, off the A34 between Newcastle and Stone. The estate is one of the country’s top leisure destinations, attracting more than 3.2 million visitors a year to its formal gardens, lake, woodland, treetop rope adventure course Aerial Extreme and unique Monkey Forest with its free-roaming Barbary macaques, so make sure you leave plenty of time for its other attractions as well as some retail therapy. When you pull onto the estate you’ll notice the enormous Trentham Garden Centre on your right. It’s designed to reflect the adjacent Italian Gardens and offers an enticingly

“THE STORES AT TRENTHAM SHOPPING VILLAGE ARE ATTRACTIVELY LAID OUT ALONG A WIDE SHOPPING STREET AND OFFER A UNIQUE EXPERIENCE TO TEMPT EVEN THE MOST JADED SHOPPER”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

29

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


ADOBESTOCK; JAMES CLARKE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

SHOPPING

“HERE YOU’LL FIND COLLECTABLE TEDDIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD, INCLUDING CHARLIE BEARS, ISABELLE LEE BEARS, STEIFF AND HERMAN”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

which will be glazed and fired in their kiln, ready to collect seven to 10 days later. There are plenty of independent retailers at Trentham too. If you’re a musician you’ll find A Major Music Supplies hits the right note with its extensive sheet music collection, as well as stocking keyboards, woodwind, brass and stringed instruments. For a more cuddly keepsake head to One More Bear, where you’ll find collectable teddies from around the world, including Charlie Bears, Isabelle Lee Bears, Steiff and Herman. Apparently the collective noun for teddies is appropriately a “hug”, and you’ll certainly want to give One More Bear’s range of super-soft Jellycat animals a good squeeze, before moving on to their magical section which houses fairy doors, fairy accessories and unicorns. It’s possible that you might even find a fairy costume for your canine companion at Doggie Fashions, which offers an astonishing array of toys, outfits and accessories to suits all dogs from teeny to huge. They even have their own pet bakery producing personalised dog birthday cakes, ice cream, canine cookies and cupcakes, all completely dog-safe and made with no artificial colourings or flavourings and no added sugar or salt. Don’t feel you need to snack on the dog treats, though. For human fare look no further than Brown and Green, which brings together local, artisan and ethical produce from small and distinctive producers. They stock a delicious range of fruit, vegetables, meat, pies, dairy, bread, preserves,

30

cheeses, meals, wholefoods and drinks so why not pack yourself a picnic before exploring the wonderful gardens next to the shopping village? If you can tear yourself away from Trentham, around 15 miles north east you’ll find the historic market town of Leek, known as the Queen of the Moorlands for its superb location on the southern edge of the Peak District National Park. Now renowned as a hotspot for antiques lovers, the town’s market was established way back in 1207 by Royal Charter and there are still a number of thriving traditional and specialist markets held regularly throughout the town, including a fine food market on the third Saturday of every month and an intriguing craft and collectibles market held in the indoor Trestle Market every Friday. There’s also an indoor market with more than 50 stalls in the Victorian Butter Market building just off the Market Place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, along with a general outdoor market for life’s essential bargains on Wednesdays. Antiques fans will be particularly keen on Leek and will easily be able to spend a day searching for unusual treasures to take home. Come on a Saturday and start your hunt in the cobbled Market Place which will be filled with antique stalls for its weekly collectors’ market. From there take a two minute walk to St Edward Street, which is packed with fine buildings full of beautiful objects. The half-timbered Grade 2-listed Odeon Antiques and Interiors, for example, has four p32

kingfishervisitorguides.com


EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR ALL THE FAMILY

WITH UP TO 60% OFF EVERY DAY

OVER 48 OUTLET STORES WITH ESTABLISHED BRANDS

AND PLENTY OF PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK

freeport-talke.com Off A34 Talke exit A500, Stoke ST7 1XD

OUTLET SHOPPING


floors and 12 rooms of antiques, collectables, vintage lighting and furniture, as well as their nearby Victorian warehouse which is open to the public and trade by appointment only. Keep your eyes open on Sheep Market and Stanley Street for some lovely gift shops full of contemporary souvenirs too. Bibelot, for example, has three floors of goodies including bags, accessories, toys, homeware and haberdashery, and even holds workshops teaching crafts like crochet, needle felting and teddy bear making. Leek was once a major manufacturing

“BUILT IN THE EARLY 19TH CENTURY, IT WAS ORIGINALLY HOME TO LODGING HOUSES, COTTAGES AND STABLES FOR THE POOR BUT NOW HOSTS A COMMUNITY OF ELEGANT BOUTIQUES, YUMMY EATERIES AND QUIRKY GIFT SHOPS”

centre for textiles, and you can explore huge former Victorian silk mills now housing antique and reproduction pine centres. There are also numerous galleries, independent boutiques and bookshops, and speciality food and drinks retailers to peruse, making a refreshing change from the modern identical high street shopping experience. Make sure you don’t miss vibrant Getliffes Yard, a hidden treasure tucked away off Derby Street. Built in the early 19th century, it was originally home to lodging houses, cottages and stables for the poor but now hosts a community of elegant boutiques, yummy eateries and quirky gift shops on its original cobbles under a magnificent glass dome. Watch out for silversmith Jacqueline Harold’s studio for fine jewellery, Misco’s for delicious hand-made chocolate and truffles and the charming Little Wolf for a range of delightful gifts and homeware designed by illustrator Rachel Lovatt. Now you’ve had your fill of antiques and gifts, it’s time to get down to the business at the heart of north Staffordshire – ceramics. Head back west from Leek along the A53 to reach the six towns making up Stoke-on-

info@highpeakbookstore.co.uk www.highpeakbookstore.co.uk

Tel: 01298 71017 Ashbourne Road, Buxton. SK17 9PY • An extensive and eclectic range of fiction and non-fiction titles, with a dedicated children’s room. • Traditional and contemporary greeting cards. • Fresh food in a friendly atmosphere. • Fairtrade coffee and award-winning loose leaf teas. • Large, free car park. • Dogs welcome throughout the bookstore. • Outdoor seating area for fine weather. • Great mix of blues, jazz, classical, folk & big band CDs.

book browsing heaven with a welcoming café in the heart of the peak WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

• Extensive range of local area interest books. • Bird feeders and food for your feathered friends.

Open daily: 9.30am-5.30pm Sundays: 10.30am-5.00pm

32

kingfishervisitorguides.com


ADOBESTOCK; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITENGLAND/ VISIT STOKE ON TRENT; WORLD OF WEDGWOOD

SHOPPING

Trent, known collectively as The Potteries thanks to its rich industrial history – and its resurgent present. This area became the home of the pottery industry more than 300 years ago due to its abundance of clay and coal, and flourished thanks to innovative manufacturing techniques developed by the likes of Wedgwood and Spode. In recent years new designers and manufacturers have set up home in the city, benefitting from the area’s heritage and expertise as well as its excellent transport links, ensuring that Stoke-on-Trent remains the world capital of ceramics. There are more than 25 factory shops in and around the city so whether you want to take home a few original pieces from an upcoming designer or a complete dinner service from a world-famous brand, you’ll be able to find exactly the right ceramics for you. One of the biggest names in the pottery industry for centuries, Wedgwood, has two factory shops to choose from. Its flagship store is based at World of Wedgwood in Barlaston – where you can also see all aspects of ceramic production on a self-guided or hour-long guided factory tour – and is the largest Wedgwood retail space in the world. Alongside displays of Wedgwood’s iconic designs, you’ll get a preview of new collections before they are widely available around the UK

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“ITS FLAGSHIP STORE IS BASED AT WORLD OF WEDGWOOD – WHERE YOU CAN ALSO SEE ALL ASPECTS OF CERAMIC PRODUCTION ON AN HOURLONG GUIDED FACTORY TOUR – AND IS THE LARGEST WEDGWOOD RETAIL SPACE IN THE WORLD”

33

and can pick up a special “Made in England” piece from collections crafted on site that are not available elsewhere in Europe. And for big name bargains with up to 75 per cent off retail prices, head for the outlet store in Forge Lane in Etruria, near Hanley, the area’s largest stockist of Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Minton, Waterford Crystal, Coalport, Johnson Bros, Edinburgh Crystal and Royal Albert. Fans of Emma Bridgewater’s popular spotty hand-made designs won’t want to miss the gift shop and outlet at her factory in Lichfield Street, Hanley, which is housed in a traditional Victorian potbank beside the Caldon Canal. The gift shop stocks all the current pottery range – and there’s much, much more than just spots! – as well as other homeware, while the outlet is a treasure trove of items with slight imperfections or discontinued lines. Travelling from Hanley to Longton, you’ll find the Ayshford Street studio, shop and showroom of Reiko Kaneko, who moved her company from London to Stoke-on-Trent in 2012 after working with the city’s ceramicists to tap into centuries of knowledge in fine bone china production. Her elegantly simple designs are inspired by her Japanese childhood and her range features tableware, glassware, terracotta and unique jewellery, including “chiming” pendants made from two or more handfinished glazed china hoops. p35

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


GET THE FULL PICTURE!

If you’re planning your next trip, or you want some reminders of this one, view our full portfolio of visitor guides to the UK and Ireland at:

KINGFISHERVISITORGUIDES.COM

Search Kingfisher Visitor Guides


CARON BADKIN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITENGLAND/TRENTHAM ESTATE

SHOPPING

And for a more local souvenir to remind you of your visit, try Moorland Pottery in Moorland Road, Burslem, who produce “Stokieware” – mugs and teapots with popular phrases, terms and imagery that celebrates the rich history of the Potteries and its people. Their factory shop is open on weekdays. Of course, one cannot live on pottery alone and if you do need to pick up some more everyday bits and pieces, you’ll find shopping centres and out-of-town retail parks throughout the county. One of the largest is Tamworth’s Ventura Retail Park, which includes favourite brands like John Lewis At Home, Matalan, Toys R Us, Boots and Next, just outside the town centre. Other notable shopping centres include intu Potteries in Hanley, the Octagon in Burton and Three Spires in Lichfield, all of which are in the heart of town. But let’s continue our tour of some more unusual retail destinations. Around two miles south of Lichfield in Swinfen, you’ll find the family-run Heart of the Country shopping village. The village grew out of just one farm shop, and now independent boutiques, top quality clothing stores like Rohan and the Seasalt Sale Shop, homeware retailers and a beauty salon are housed in converted farm buildings, along with the cosy Barns Restaurant and the Pear Tree Crêperie for a scrumptious bite to eat.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

The first shop to open – in the farm’s old tractor shed – was Paul Martyn Furniture, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. A specialist manufacturer and retailer of pine and oak furniture in traditional and contemporary designs, Paul Martyn also offers a bespoke service and stocks a range of quirky homeware and gifts in five extensive showrooms. At the smaller end of the scale, Hunnypot Cottage Deli & Crafts is a truly local gem where all the suppliers come from within 30 miles of the shop. Sometimes you’ll even meet the makers or designers in store when you pop in. You’ll find jewellery, paper crafts and knitted goodies, as well as a delicious range of artisan breads including beetroot and apple, fig and walnut, Stilton and onion and sundried tomato. And for a whimsical end to your trip to the shopping village, don’t miss the Green Fairy Trail which is set out in the on-site enchanted woodland. It’s made from recycled materials to make people think about waste – and your little ones will love stretching their legs, finding all the miniature doors and tableaux, and maybe, just maybe, spotting a fairy or goblin going about their business. But whether or not you find any mystical creatures while you’re here, you can be sure that a shopping trip in Staffordshire will be a magical experience. l

35

“FOR A WHIMSICAL END TO YOUR TRIP TO THE SHOPPING VILLAGE, DON’T MISS THE GREEN FAIRY TRAIL WHICH IS SET OUT IN THE ONSITE ENCHANTED WOODLAND”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


48 HOURS

IF YOU’RE ONLY HERE FOR 48 HOURS… You can pack a lot into a couple of days – try this itinerary to make the most of it

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

36

kingfishervisitorguides.com


CARON BADKIN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; JENNIFER PALLIAN/UNSPLASH; VISITENGLAND/ENJOY STAFFORDSHIRE

T

here’s so much to do in Staffordshire but if you’ve only got time to scratch the surface, try these highlights to help you see as much of the county as possible.

DAY ONE MORNING Start your trip in the industrial north west of the county with a visit to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley, one of the six towns making up Stoke-on-Trent. You’ll see world-class collections of ceramics, items from the Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire Hoard and even an original Spitfire aeroplane, invented by local lad, Reginald Mitchell.

“SEE ANGLO-SAXON ITEMS FROM THE STAFFORDSHIRE HOARD AND AN ORIGINAL SPITFIRE AEROPLANE INVENTED BY LOCAL LAD, REGINALD MITCHELL”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

visit to the Grade 2-listed Stafford Castle two miles west of town – you can still see its 14th-century keep, although the castle was partially rebuilt in the Victorian Gothic Revival style. There’s a fantastic 360-degree vista across Staffordshire from the top of the hill. DINNER Just south of Stafford on the A449 you’ll find the 14th-century Moat House Hotel at Acton Trussell with its award-winning Orangery Restaurant, which offers a fixed price dinner, à la carte dishes and a five-course tasting menu. Highlights include braised venison saddle served with parsnip, pickled pear and blue cheese. p39

LUNCH Head south towards Stone on the A34, stopping for lunch at the Wayfarer Country Pub and Restaurant. It’s part of a Staffordshire-based group of quality pub-restaurants and food is served from 12pm to 10pm every day. Indulge yourselves with the sumptuous sweet sharer for two, featuring sticky toffee pudding, orange and milk chocolate torte, passion fruit cheesecake, chocolate truffles, elderflower panna cotta and sorbet. AFTERNOON Continue south on the A34 to reach Stafford and soak up the history of the county town. Pay a quick

37

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


Fostering You can help them, whatever they’re going through. And we’ll help you.

Change a life by fostering a child. Visit barnardos.org. uk/fostering or call us today on:

0800 027 7280 Registered Charity Nos. 216250 and SC037605 17468nc16


48 HOURS

CHRIS GRENHOW/UNSPLASH; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

DAY TWO MORNING Work off last night’s dinner with a walk on Cannock Chase. If you prefer a gentle stroll, start at the Marquis Drive visitor centre and explore the site of the former RAF Hednesford. For a wilder experience, park on Chase Road close to the glacial boulder – transported from Scotland to Staffordshire in the last ice age – and stride out across the open heath and woodland, watching out for the deer. LUNCH Head east from Cannock along the A5 until you reach Wall and the remains of the Roman settlement Letocetum. The Trooper pub is renowned for its “bottomless lunch”, so the non-drivers in your party

kingfishervisitorguides.com

can get stuck into a three-course meal with unlimited cocktails or prosecco by the glass over a two-hour sitting. AFTERNOON Ancient Lichfield is just up the road so enjoy a wander around one of the smallest cathedral cities in England. Visit the homes of lexicographer Samuel Johnson and poet and physician Erasmus Darwin, or enjoy the tranquillity of Stowe Pool and the splendour of the cathedral. DINNER Take the A38 north to Barton Marina and enjoy a movie and a meal at the independent Red Carpet Cinema. It has two small and cosy screens showing current releases and offers a “film and food” deal for a perfect night out. l

39

“FOR A WILDER EXPERIENCE, STRIDE OUT ACROSS THE OPEN HEATH, WATCHING OUT FOR DEER”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


EATING OUT

A TASTE OF STAFFORDSHIRE – AND THE WORLD! From down-to-earth local favourites to fine dining and international cuisine, this county has it all

SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; TAYLOR KISER/UNSPLASH

W

ingredients, each oatcake shop claims its own secret recipe so try out a few and find your favourite. Castle Oatcakes in London Road, Newcastle, and Foley Oatcakes in King Street, Longton, are highly recommended, as are Povey’s Oatcakes, which can be found in Biddulph and Knypersley, and High Lane Oatcakes in Burslem, who will both mail freshly-baked oatcakes around the world to Staffordshire expats needing a taste of home. You should also keep an eye out for the Oatcake Boat, which can often be found on the canal near Westport Lake in Tunstall and moors up close to Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium on home match days. There’s even a song in its honour on YouTube, such is its local repute. Further south in the county you can visit Oatcakes and Milkshakes in Stone or Stafford and combine North Staffordshire’s speciality with a decadent dessert or huge “monster shake”. Less well-known outside the area but almost as beloved in Stoke-on-Trent is lobby, a meat stew traditionally eaten by poorly paid potters who couldn’t afford to let any food go to waste. Made with cheaper cuts of meat or leftovers from a joint, root vegetables, potatoes and pearl barley, lobby is a warming dish which is easy to make at home, although it does sometimes appear on the menu in North Staffordshire tea rooms and pubs – and of course, oatcake shops. Staffordshire also has two rather famous foodstuffs to its name. Branston Pickle was invented in 1922 in the village of Branston, p42

hether you’re interested in a quick snack, traditional pub lunch, afternoon tea or a special evening out, Staffordshire can cater for all tastes. Wherever you find yourself, you’ll have a range of coffee shops, country pubs and more upmarket urban eateries within easy reach. But first, no visit to Staffordshire would be complete without trying our beloved local delicacy, the oatcake. Not to be confused with the Scottish biscuit of the same name, the Staffordshire oatcake is a soft, savoury pancake made from oatmeal, flour and yeast. Cooked on a griddle, oatcakes are usually eaten with fillings such as cheese, bacon, sausage, egg, tomato and onion although, controversially, some radicals may also serve them sweet with the likes of golden syrup, bananas and jam. Especially popular in Stoke-on-Trent and the wider North Staffordshire area, they were traditionally the go-to lunch for the region’s miners and pottery workers, who didn’t need cutlery to eat this inexpensive complete meal rolled up in an oatcake, packed with slow-release energy. They were historically sold through house windows directly to customers on the street, although the last “hole in the wall” oatcake shop closed in 2012. Nowadays you can buy your oatcakes either filled and ready to eat or packed in batches of six or 12 to take home with you. While they all share the same basic

“WHEREVER YOU FIND YOURSELF, YOU’LL HAVE A RANGE OF COFFEE SHOPS, COUNTRY PUBS AND MORE UPMARKET URBAN EATERIES WITHIN EASY REACH”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

41

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


CARON BADKIN/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

EATING OUT

“YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT THE WORLD’S SUPPLY OF LOVE-IT-ORHATE-IT YEAST SPREAD MARMITE IS MADE IN THIS COUNTY”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

and you might be surprised to learn that the world’s supply of love-it-or-hate-it yeast spread Marmite – some 50 million jars per year – is made in the county as a by-product of Burton-on-Trent’s brewing industry. Breweries large and small abound in Burton due to part to the quality of the local water, and you can find major manufacturers like Coors and Marstons as well as numerous microbreweries. For a traditional real ale pub within walking distance of the town centre try the 17th-century Burton Bridge Inn in Bridge Street, which is linked to the award-winning Burton Bridge Brewery and serves five regular cask ales as well as guest beers and an unusually wide range of speciality fruit wines. Traditional pub food is served at lunchtimes on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays and there’s an upstairs skittle alley to keep drinkers entertained. Elsewhere, Burslem-based Titanic Brewery has six pubs in the county, including The Sun Inn in Stafford which won the Pub of the Year title in 2017’s Taste of Staffordshire awards. Stone’s Lymestone Brewery took home the Brewery of the Year gong, and has two brewery taps – The Borehole in Stone and The Lymestone Vaults in Newcastle, serving the whole range of six Lymestone cask ales on tap as well as two guest ales and eight real ciders. It’s not all about beer though – wine lovers can enjoy vineyard tours with locally-sourced lunches at Buzzard’s Valley in Drayton Bassett, near Tamworth, and Halfpenny Green, which is in Bobbington in the far south of the county.

42

If you prefer your pubs to be more food-focused, try The Yorkshireman in Rugeley, The Stafford Arms in Bagnall or The Holly Bush Inn at Salt, near Stafford. At the dog-friendly Yorkshireman, which is very close to Rugeley’s Trent Valley railway station, guests can enjoy regularly updated lunchtime bistro menus or restaurant fare in the evenings, with dishes like prosciutto-wrapped pork fillet, chicken cacciatore and pan-fried sea bass fillet to tempt your taste buds washed down with locally-brewed beer and lager. The restaurant is managed by Rachael Dynda, who joined the team on their opening night in 2007 as a 16-year-old trainee waitress. The recently refurbished Stafford Arms, in front of Bagnall’s village green, dates back to the 16th century and has been in the hands of its current owners for the past 20 years. Diners can choose from a range of traditional and contemporary cuisine – you might even find Staffordshire lobby topped with cheddar cheese dumplings on the menu – in front of open fires and surrounded by historic photographs of Bagnall life on the walls. Even more ancient is the thatched Holly Bush, tucked away in Salt just off the A51 near Stafford, which claims its origins reach back to 1190. Dishes like Greek lamb rub shoulders on the menu with more traditional pub grub, and the team pride themselves on their locally-sourced ingredients from the likes of the Staffordshire Cheese Company in Cheddleton, near Leek, Red Lion Farm ice cream from Haughton, near Stafford, and Needwood p44

kingfishervisitorguides.com


THE PLACE TO BE...

Situated in the heart of the inland waterway network between the A38 Burton-on-Trent to Lichfield trunk road and Barton-under-Needwood village. This privately owned, purpose built marina is set amongst 90 acres of lakes and woodland with pleasant walks and a range of wildlife to watch and enjoy.

• SHOPS • RESTAURANTS & CAFÉS • ART GALLERY • CINEMA

2 FOR 1 PIZZAS 4-6pm Sunday-Friday

ALL FOOD FRESHLY COOKED TO ORDER

Tel: 01283 711 500

Served: 12noon-9.30pm Monday to Saturday and to 8pm on Sunday

Home-made pizzas 12noon-10pm

*Excluding bank holiday weekends

WATERFRONTBARTON.CO.UK


EATING OUT

“YOU’LL FIND ALL YOUR FAVOURITE TRADITIONAL ITALIAN DISHES LIKE PIZZA AND LASAGNE ON THE MENU”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

Farm eggs from Burton. The venison in the slow cooked venison casserole even comes “free range” from nearby Cannock Chase whenever possible. If you’re celebrating or looking for somewhere more special to eat, look no further than the winner of the 2017 Taste of Staffordshire Independent Restaurant of the Year title, The Four Seasons at Swinfen Hall Hotel, near Lichfield. Open to non-residents, the restaurant was awarded three rosettes by the AA in 2015 and offers tasting menus for meat-eaters and vegetarians, with five courses for £59 and nine courses for £80 (or £50 and £65 for vegetarian dishes), as well as an à la carte menu. Head chef Ryan Shilton was born and raised in Staffordshire, and despite being only in his mid-20s he has carved out an admirable reputation for flair and creativity using top-quality ingredients, many of which are sourced directly from the 100-acre Swinfen Hall estate, including fruit, vegetables and herbs from the Victorian walled garden, venison from the hall’s own deer park and lamb from a small flock of rare-breed Manx Loagthan sheep. For “fine English cuisine with a twist of France” head to Pascal’s at the Old Vicarage, in Branston, near Burton-on-Trent. Run by Pascal and Karen Arnoux since 1999, with Egon Ronay star awardwinner Colin Ansell on board as head chef since 2006, the restaurant changes its table d’hôte menu every month to keep things seasonal, as well as

44

hosting regular themed gourmet evenings and French rustic nights. Guests are invited to finish their meal in the Georgian former vicarage with a cosy coffee and brandy in front of the fire. If you fancy an Italian meal, Roberto’s in Hanley is the ideal choice. Perfectly located for a pre-theatre dinner, this small family-run business has been serving up delicious home-made recipes since 1981. You’ll find all your favourite traditional Italian dishes like pizza and lasagne on the menu, along with more unusual fare like lobster agnellotti (large ravioli filled with lobster and ricotta cheese served in a salmon sauce). The walls are lined with photographs of stars who have dined there while performing in Stoke-on-Trent and it’s fun to spot the famous faces while you eat. For something more spicy in a grand setting, try Thornbury Hall in Kingsley Holt, near Cheadle. Dating back to Elizabethan times, the hall has been home to three Members of Parliament and an archdeacon of Stoke. Since 1990 it has been owned by Mohammed and Parveen Siddique, who converted it into a restaurant specialising in Pakistani cuisine, with exotic eastern décor, historic artefacts and sparkling crystal chandeliers. At the more down-to-earth end of the eating out spectrum, the award-winning Birmingham street food extravaganza Digbeth Dining Club hosts regular spin-offs in south Staffordshire at Village Coffee, Bakery and Kitchen in Codsall – which is a great spot for lunch or cake in its own right. p47

kingfishervisitorguides.com


TITANIC BREWERY Pubs & CafE Bars Brewery Shop

Brewery Tours

Award Winning Beers

ADOBESTOCK; FOTOLIA; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITENGLAND/DIANA JARVIS

Welcoming Pubs & Café Bars

Come and see what we have brewing for you! w w w. t i t a n i c b re w e r y. c o . u k

kingfishervisitorguides.com

45

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


AREK ADEOYE/JOHN CANELIS/LAUREN LESTER/UNSPLASH; JAMES CLARKE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

EATING OUT

Everything is baked fresh on the premises and you can buy your own artisan bread from their bakery to take home. Try the baked brie with garlic bread and cranberry or the sourdough bruschetta topped with sunblush tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive salad, or call in before midday for a delicious start to the day like eggs royale (toasted muffin, smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce) or a vegetarian breakfast with fried halloumi cheese. You’ll also find top quality breakfasts at The Glost House Café Bar at the historic Phoenix Works in Longton, the former home of Forester and Sons, one of the best-known names in Victorian majolica pottery. This Grade 2-listed site still boasts two of the enormous coal-fired bottle ovens which once dotted the Stoke-on-Trent landscape, and is also home to the Portmeirion Pottery factory shop. The Glost House – which is named after the glost or glazing process for ceramic ware – opens at 7am on weekdays to help Stoke-on-Trent’s residents kickstart their day and offers a varied lunch menu and cakes and sweet treats made daily on site. Try their innovative deli boards with your choice of up to eight items from a tasty list including smoked salmon, home-made guacamole, hand-cut crisps and apple slices to build a lunch platter that’s perfect for you. There’s another historic spot for coffee in the centre of Stafford, tucked away down Church Lane close to St Mary’s Church. The 16th-century Soup Kitchen has been run by the Sandy family for more than 30 years and prides itself on its motto “children welcome, grannies adored”.

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“YOU’LL FIND SUPERFOOD SALAD BOWLS FOR VEGANS, VEGGIES AND MEATEATERS, AS WELL AS SANDWICHES, WRAPS AND A SUPERB RANGE OF JUICE, SMOOTHIES AND SHAKES”

47

It’s deceptively large and can seat more than 300 guests in its maze of cosy rooms – and there’s even a roof garden where you can while away the hours. Everything is home-made and freshly-cooked, and you can stay for a full three-course meal or just a quick coffee and cake. In contrast, Bygones Tea Room in Newcastle’s High Street may lack an ancient exterior, but inside it’s a time capsule recreating the best of the past. Packed with restored furniture and memorabilia from the 1930s to the 1970s, it will transport you down memory lane back to your grandparents’ front room. Everywhere you turn you’ll find something to remark on. There’s even a classic red telephone box and a vintage kitchen set up along one wall. They serve themed afternoon teas (some of which require advance booking) to complete the experience, offer a dedicated slimmers’ menu, and are open in the evening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you feel like you need a detox or a healthy treat after all that cake, call in to Rawr in Hanley’s Cultural Quarter or their newest branch on the Trentham Estate. With a largely plant-based menu designed to boost your well-being and make you feel good, you’ll find superfood salad bowls for vegans, veggies and meat-eaters, as well as sandwiches, wraps and a superb range of juice, smoothies and shakes. So whether you try out one of our traditional specialities, a top quality gourmet menu, scrumptious cake or hearty pub lunch, we’re sure you’ll find Staffordshire completely to your taste. l

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


10

REASONS TO LOVE THIS REGION!

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

48

kingfishervisitorguides.com


10 REASONS

[01] CERAMICS

Act like a Staffordshire native by turning over crockery and squealing with delight when you find a local backstamp. Fans of the region’s most famous export can stock up on bargains at factory shops including Emma Bridgewater, Wedgwood, Portmeirion and Royal Stafford.

[02] CANALS We are spoilt for choice when it comes to canals in Staffordshire, so take a stroll along the towpaths through the Potteries or enjoy a slower pace of life at marinas in Aston (Stone), Barton-under-Needwood and Fradley.

ALTON TOWERS RESORT; CARON BADKIN/CHRISTOPHER ELWELL/J. SIMUNEK/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; GLADSTONE POTTERY MUSEUM; VISITENGLAND/VISIT STOKE ON TRENT

[03] THEME PARKS Thrill-seekers will be at home in Staffordshire, whether they are riding the rollercoasters at Alton Towers, one of the country’s most popular theme park resorts, enjoying the more sedate delights of Thomas Land at Drayton Manor or splashing around at Waterworld in Hanley. [04] GREEN SPACES There’s plenty of room to get back to nature, from the striking rocky outcrops of The Roaches in the Moorlands to the wild open heath and woodland of Cannock Chase. And industrial Stoke-on-Trent is one of the greenest cities in the UK, with more than 100km of cycle lanes, 90 parks, numerous canals and walkways and over 3,000 allotments. [05] MUSEUMS From the delicate filigree of the Staffordshire Hoard at the Potteries Museum in Hanley to the story of beer at Burton’s National Brewery Centre and the history of the toilet at Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, the

kingfishervisitorguides.com

county’s wide range of museums will inspire and entertain you. [06] MILITARY HISTORY You can still stumble across remnants of the First World War training camps that housed thousands of troops on Cannock Chase, which is also home to the Commonwealth and German War Cemeteries. You can also view a replica World War One trench at the Staffordshire Regiment Museum, near Lichfield. [07] LITERARY CONNECTIONS JRR Tolkien was one of those Staffordshirebased Great War soldiers and you can follow a trail around his old haunts in the Great Haywood area. Prolific writer Arnold Bennett was influenced throughout his life by his Potteries birthplace, and you can spot modern day Stoke-on-Trent in the gritty crime novels of Mel Sherratt.

“JRR TOLKIEN WAS ONE OF THOSE STAFFORDSHIRE-BASED GREAT WAR SOLDIERS AND YOU CAN FOLLOW A TRAIL AROUND HIS OLD HAUNTS IN THE GREAT HAYWOOD AREA”

[09] CULTURE Not for nothing is Staffordshire dubbed “the Creative County”. As well as the aforementioned ceramics, the county boasts an outstanding arts scene with galleries, theatres, large-scale outdoor performances and festivals celebrating everything from circus skills in Newcastle to international pop superstars at Weston Park. [10] QUIRKY CUSTOMS Where else can you see a folk dance dating back to the Middle Ages featuring reindeer antlers, a hobby horse, Maid Marian and a Fool? Don’t miss the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance if you’re here in early September. l

[08] PEOPLE Staffordshire folk are passionate about their county – think Robbie Williams! – and have a reputation for being friendly and welcoming. If you fancy trying a bit of Potteries dialect, have a go at the classic “Cost kick a bo agen a wo an yed it til it bosts?”, which means “Can you kick a ball against a wall and head it until it bursts?”

49

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


NIGHTLIFE

WELCOME TO THE NIGHT! Staffordshire might not be able to offer all the thrills of big city life, but you’ll find plenty to keep you busy after dark

JENS THEESS/UNSPLASH

W

e’re going to take a guess and say that you haven’t come to Staffordshire for its wild nightlife. True, in the late 1960s and early 1970s Stoke-on-Trent was dubbed “Soul-on-Trent” by fans who gathered at The Golden Torch in Tunstall for Northern Soul all-nighters. And back in the early 1990s the city was at the heart of the country’s rave scene, with clubbers from around the UK flocking to the likes of Golden and Shelley’s Lazerdome for DJ sets from Sasha and Carl Cox. But nowadays nights out in the county don’t quite have that national profile, although popular Northern Soul allnighters do still take place at the King’s Hall in Stoke. What Staffordshire can still offer is a range of theatres, live music venues, nightclubs, cinemas, pubs and bars which will keep you entertained every night of your stay. You’ll be spoilt for choice with country pubs across the county if you fancy a decent pint in front of an open fire, but for a bigger night out head for Newcastle-under-Lyme. Newcastle is home to thousands of Keele University students but there are plenty of town centre pubs and bars without that cheap and cheerful studenty vibe.

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

Start at the family-run Ten Green Bottles in Merrial Street, which sells a wide range of artisan beers and gin brands from around the world. Their signature tipple is the Poppy Rose, a mix of Poppies gin and rose lemonade with fresh pomegranate and pink grapefruit. If you prefer a traditional real ale bar head for the Lymestone Vaults just down the road in Pepper Street. There’s been a pub on the site for hundreds of years, but in 2012 it became the first brewery tap for Lymestone Brewery, based in Stone. You’ll be able to choose from at least eight real ales on tap and eight traditional ciders or perries. You’ll find another proper real ale establishment a couple of minutes walk away in the form of the Bridge Street Ale House, a micro-pub with an ever-changing line up of cask ale and cider. Don’t go in there expecting to party – they pride themselves on their relaxed atmosphere and are renowned for friendly and knowledgeable service. Just across the road in Bridge Street is the Hopwater Cellar. Described as “a sweet shop for grown-ups”, it sells a vast range of bottled beers and ciders from local, national and worldwide breweries, which are also available to take away. They even offer low alcohol, non-alcoholic, p52

50

kingfishervisitorguides.com


kingfishervisitorguides.com

51

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


gluten-free and vegan beers so there’s sure to be something for everyone. And if you carry on down Bridge Street you’ll come to the Old Brown Jug, a longstanding Newcastle favourite which hosts live music most weekends and has a regular jazz night on Tuesdays. Staffordshire on the whole isn’t short of music venues and while the biggest names generally only visit the county to play the annual V Festival at Weston Park – which has welcomed top international

“YOU’LL BE SPOILT FOR CHOICE WITH COUNTRY PUBS ACROSS THE COUNTY IF YOU FANCY A DECENT PINT IN FRONT OF AN OPEN FIRE, BUT FOR A BIGGER NIGHT OUT HEAD FOR NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

artists like Beyoncé, Kylie Minogue and Radiohead over the past 22 years and will have a new sponsor and name in 2018 – there are still opportunities to go to some decent gigs. Big name concerts at Keele University’s Students’ Union are often open to the public and recent shows have included Embrace, Liam Fray and Primal Scream. And if you’re here in late June, you won’t want miss the outdoor festival-style Forest Live concerts, which take place in the heart of beautiful Cannock Chase near Rugeley. Acts in previous years have included Tom Jones, Rick Astley, Elbow and Kaiser Chiefs, so you can be sure of a great night out as the sun sets over the trees. There are also many smaller venues welcoming well-known acts in more intimate settings. The historic Guildhall in Lichfield tends to be popular with folk fans – the likes of Lindisfarne and Kate Rusby have played there over the years – while you’ll find a range of singers, bands, comedians and tribute acts on the bill at the Victoria Hall in Hanley, built in 1888 as part of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Recent acts include Jason Manford, Ken Dodd, Shed Seven, Elkie Brooks

52

and Jools Holland, as well as classical concerts and prom events featuring the venue’s magnificent Conacher-Willis organ. Also in Hanley, The Sugarmill has been a popular tour stop for upcoming alternative and rock bands since it opened in 1994, many of whom have gone on to be hugely successful, such as Coldplay, Muse and the Stereophonics. So if this is your kind of music, you might just get to see the next big things playing here. The Sugarmill’s on Brunswick Street, opposite Fiction nightclub, one of the biggest clubs in the area. If you fancy a boogie make sure you dress to impress – and you can book private booths or suites with table service in advance to make the night even more special. If you’d rather see a play or enjoy a musical there are plenty of theatres to tempt you. Staying with Hanley, the Regent Theatre is part of the Ambassador Theatre Group – as is the Victoria Hall – and as a result welcomes big West End shows on their regional tours, as well as being the northern base of the Glyndebourne Touring Opera. The Art Deco-style Regent was built in 1929 as a cinema and in the 1960s also hosted live music concerts from the likes of Shirley Bassey, Cliff Richard, Stevie Wonder and The Beatles. It closed its doors in 1989 and was renovated and converted to full-time theatre use in 1999 as part of a multimillion-pound investment programme in Hanley’s Cultural Quarter – with many of its original features still in place, such as the roses in the ceiling, columns, plasterwork and the checkerboard floor in the foyer. Now it brings large-scale touring programmes direct from Broadway and the West End, with upcoming highlights for 2018 including Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, Shrek and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Just over the city border in Newcastleunder-Lyme, the New Vic Theatre was Europe’s first purpose-built theatre-in-theround when it opened in 1986. If you’re not familiar with this type of staging, the audience sits in a circle surrounding the acting area in the centre – and those on the front row can find themselves right in the middle of the action. Depending on the production it can be a very immersive experience and you might end up turning around as the actors run up and down the steps or behind the rows of seats. The New Vic is renowned for its innovative and high quality productions, which are often written in-house or specifically for this theatre,

kingfishervisitorguides.com


ADOBESTOCK; ING IMAGE; MAXIME BHM/UNSPLASH; SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

NIGHTLIFE

full of imaginative use of props and versatile actors playing multiple characters.Upcoming plays in 2018 include Hard Times and Educating Rita, and there will also be concerts from Fairport Convention and Ruby Turner. Further south you’ll find the Stafford Gatehouse, the Prince of Wales in Cannock, the Lichfield Garrick and the Tamworth Assembly Rooms, all with a wide range of drama, musicals, comedy and family shows. There are cinemas in easy reach of all areas of Staffordshire, although the eight-screen Vue in Newcastle is particularly comfortable with plenty of legroom and reclining seats throughout. You’ll find independent and foreign language films at the Stoke Film Theatre in College Road, Stoke, close to the railway station, and a neat film-and-food deal for a perfect date night at the Red Carpet Cinema at Barton Marina. For a different kind of night-time entertainment, pop over to Keele University on a Tuesday evening between 8pm and 10pm for a free visit to the campus observatory, which is open to the public with no booking required. You’ll be able to study celestial objects through the 143-year old 31cm Grubb

kingfishervisitorguides.com

telescope, which was once used by Einstein in its former home at Oxford University, and enjoy a tour of the observatory, which was founded in 1962. Also on a Tuesday night, but only once a month, is the Stafford Knot Storytelling Club, which meets at the Bird in Hand pub in Stafford. These are not stories for children – this is professional storytelling for adults tackling wildly diverse themes from around the world, including Bulgarian folklore, Greek myths, Norse tales and pirate adventures. The audience members themselves can take a turn spinning a yarn in the second half, if they have a tale to tell and the courage to do so. If you’re still feeling brave you could try out one of five nail-biting scenarios at the Escape Room in Lymelight Boulevard in Newcastle. You have 60 minutes to crack the mystery – whether it’s finding secret treasure, solving a murder or breaking out of a maximum security prison – before getting locked in, Crystal Maze-style. And while we won’t keep you here against your will, we’re sure you’ll find plenty of things in Staffordshire to make you want to come back again and again. l

53

“BACK IN THE EARLY 1990s STOKE-ON-TRENT WAS AT THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY’S RAVE SCENE, WITH CLUBBERS FROM AROUND THE UK FLOCKING TO THE LIKES OF GOLDEN AND SHELLEY’S LAZERDOME”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


ARTS & CULTURE

A REGION AT THE HEART OF ART! From ceramics and literature to unique festivals and outdoor spectaculars, Staffordshire will surprise you with its cultural offerings

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

54

kingfishervisitorguides.com


MICHAEL D BECKWITH/UNSPLASH

I

Middleport Pottery, just one of the museums across Stoke-onTrent illustrating the city’s rich ceramic heritage. At Middleport itself you can see one of just 47 remaining bottle kilns, thousands of which once dotted the landscape of the Potteries, and explore the cobbled maze of buildings containing historic machinery, archives and collections in every corner. It’s been the home of Burleigh Pottery since 1889 and is the filming location for the BBC’s popular series The Great Pottery Throw Down. If you feel inspired you can get hands-on experience at Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton, where you can visit a complete Victorian pottery factory, typical of hundreds in the area which produced everyday ceramic items for the mass market. You can try your hand at throwing a pot, making a bone china flower or decorating a piece a pottery to take home. There’s also the Dudson Museum in Hanley which is housed inside a bottle oven, and the Spode Works visitor p57

f you were among the millions of visitors who saw the impressive art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, with its 888,246 ceramic red poppies pouring into the moat at the Tower of London, you might not have realised it has a close connection with Staffordshire. Not only did Etruria-based Potclays Ltd supply all 497 tonnes of clay used, as well as the majority of the manufacturing equipment and other materials, but just under half of the poppies were hand-made at Johnson Tiles’ factory in Tunstall. The team of skilled ceramic artists made 440,000 poppies at a rate of 8,000 per day, using traditional methods of production to ensure that each one was as unique as the fallen soldier it represented. And in 2018 some of these exquisite hand-crafted poppies will be returning to the Potteries as part of a national tour of the poignant “Weeping Window” section of the installation. They’ll be on show from August 2nd to September 16th at

kingfishervisitorguides.com

55

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


Like what you see…

Our superb visitor guides are packed with useful articles and information.

Follow us, like us, share us on: /KingfisherVG

@KingfisherVG

www.kingfishervisitorguides.com

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

56

kingfishervisitorguides.com


NOEL NICHOLS/UNSPLASH; SAMUEL JOHNSON BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM; VISITENGLAND/DIANA JARVIS/VISIT STOKE ON TRENT

ARTS & CULTURE

centre on the former factory site in Stoke, to name just two others. Although Stoke-on-Trent was unsuccessful in its bid to become the 2021 City of Culture, and while its cultural heritage is underpinned by the pottery industry, its future is full of exciting artistic opportunities. Among those modern day designers taking up the mantle of celebrated Stoke-on-Trent ceramic artists Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper and Charlotte Rhead – whose early 20th-century works are all highly collectable – is Emma Bridgewater, whose eponymous Victorian factory in Hanley is home to the annual Stoke-on-Trent Literary Festival. Dubbed the “Festival in a Factory”, this three-day event takes place every June and welcomes a diverse range of authors and performers who discuss their latest releases and the creative process. Featuring everything from history, poetry and fiction to politics, environmentalism and food, in 2017 some of the biggest names on the bill included Ed Balls, Loyd Grossman and Alexander Armstrong. Also taking place in June is a huge celebration of circus skills, which is held in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the hometown of the father of the modern circus, 18th-century showman Philip Astley. Called The Homecoming in Astley’s honour, the

kingfishervisitorguides.com

festival welcomes performers from around the world who astound audiences with daring acrobatics, impossible feats of juggling, inventive performance art and dazzling magic shows. It takes place at different locations around the town and it’s not unusual to be confronted by a flock of half-bird half-human creatures, an explorer furiously peddling a flying machine or a man rowing a boat along the street under a raincloud. Homecoming is just one of the extravaganzas which comes under the umbrella of arts organisation Appetite, whose outdoor spectacles aim to inspire and engage people with the arts. Previous productions include Water Fools, performed entirely on the lake at Central Forest Park in Hanley, which saw performers walking on water, floating cars, original music and a stunning fireworks display, and The Enchanted Chandelier, which featured trapeze artists, bell ringers, singers, percussionists and acrobats hoisted slowly up to 50 metres above the same park. You certainly won’t forget their events in a hurry if you’re lucky enough to catch one while you’re here. Further south, Lichfield Cathedral regularly teams up with collaborative artists Luxmuralis to become the canvas for astonishing art, music and light shows projected onto its walls. p58

57

“PERFORMERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD ASTOUND AUDIENCES WITH DARING ACROBATICS, INVENTIVE PERFORMANCE ART AND DAZZLING MAGIC SHOWS”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


“YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS ESTEEMED LEXICOGRAPHER’S LIFE IN THE SETTING OF HIS FAMILY HOME”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

Led by the cathedral’s artist-in-residence sculptor Peter Walker, the stunning son et lumière displays have transformed the cathedral’s Gothic interior into the earth, sea and sky, and have projected a host of festive angels onto the external facade. Lichfield also offers a wealth of more traditional cultural experiences, including the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum. You can learn more about the esteemed lexicographer’s life in the setting of his family home, where his father ran a bookshop on the ground floor. Johnson lived in this Grade 1-listed building on the city’s Market Square for most of the first 27 years of his life before leaving for London, and the reconstructed rooms in the museum include personal items like his armchair, tea set and writing desk as well as early and rare editions of his works. Lichfield has a strong intellectual history – it was also the birthplace of antiquarian and alchemist Elias Ashmole, founder of Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum – and you can visit the home of 18th-century poet, inventor and physician Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of evolutionary biologist Charles. This Grade 1-listed Georgian House is just a

58

stone’s throw from the cathedral in Beacon Street and is accompanied by a wonderfully fragrant herb garden, divided into Dr Darwin’s medicinal plants and the ones his wife would have used for cooking. You can view a copy of his commonplace book full of his own inventions and musings on subjects as wide-ranging as chemistry, botany, music and meteorology, and think a few deep thoughts of your own in the room where the prominent intellectuals and industrialists of the day, who made up the Lunar Society – fellows like entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood, engineer James Watt and manufacturer Matthew Boulton – once met. Fans of another great Staffordshire-born mind can download a self-guided Arnold Bennett trail, which takes readers around the real life locations in Burslem which inspired the town of Bursley in his works. The prolific chronicler of life in Stoke-onTrent is also commemorated with a two-metre high bronze statue outside the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley, which was unveiled in 2017 to mark the 150th anniversary of his birth. A modern day artist known for his affectionate depiction of life in the Potteries is Sid Kirkham,

kingfishervisitorguides.com


SAMUEL JOHNSON BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM; UKHBPT/JENNY HARPER PHOTOGRAPHY/MIDDLEPORT POTTERY; WORLD OF WEDGWOOD

ARTS & CULTURE

whose original paintings and limited edition prints are available to view and buy at Theartbay in Fenton – incidentally the sixth Stoke-on-Trent town omitted by Arnold Bennett in his “Five Towns” works. Sid Kirkham’s works focus on the everyday comings and goings in the city in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and feature children playing out in the street, Stoke City and Port Vale fans ready for the game and workers heading out for their shifts at the pot banks. As well as the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery – where you’ll find works by Picasso, Durer, Degas and Grayson Perry as well as by British surrealists and members of the Bloomsbury Group – you’ll find many smaller galleries in towns across the county. Try the Foxlowe Art Centre in Leek, Barewall in Burslem, AirSpace in Hanley or Trent Art in Newcastle to find works by a quirky mix of local, national and international artists available to buy or view. Watch out particularly for works by Staffordshire artists Arthur Berry, Reginald George Haggar or Philip Hardaker, whose art is formed from ceramic shards, if you’re looking to take home a souvenir from the “Creative County” for your walls. Speaking of walls, the downloadable Trail and Error

kingfishervisitorguides.com

leaflet will lead you on an hour-long walk through Hanley and Stoke, taking in street art by local urban artist ProPig. With names like “Yes We Can-Can” and “Self-Belief ”, the artworks are intended to make you think about achieving your dreams. And while you’re in the mood for outdoor art, there is a trail of 40 sculptures around Stoke-onTrent which includes statues of the city’s famous figures, like Sir Stanley Matthews, Josiah Wedgwood, and the designer of the Spitfire Reginald Mitchell, as well as monuments and memorials linked to the history and heritage of The Potteries. Don’t miss the striking Golden (The Flame That Never Dies) by Wolfgang Buttress, a 21-metre-high flame-shaped sculpture installed in the Chatterley Valley, on the site of the former Goldendale Ironworks on the outskirts of Tunstall. There are 1,000 hand-blown glass prisms attached to the steel column of the artwork, each one containing a memory or wish written on hand-made paper by hundreds of local people. It’s a perfect combination of looking back and looking forward which symbolises the cultural life of Staffordshire, just waiting for you to discover it. l

59

“THERE IS A TRAIL OF 40 SCULPTURES AROUND STOKEON-TRENT WHICH INCLUDES STATUES OF THE CITY’S FAMOUS FIGURES, LIKE JOSIAH WEDGWOOD”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


SPORT

OUR SPORTING LIFE! Whether you want to watch or take part, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in Staffordshire

W

ith all the open space in Staffordshire, it’s no surprise that there are so many sporting activities available, from the toughest challenges to more gentle pursuits. The very fittest can take on the Ironman 70.3 race in June, which features a 1.2-mile swim in Chasewater reservoir, a 56-mile bike course through the stunning countryside and a 13.1-mile run around Stafford. If you prefer to cycle at your own pace, there are leisure routes and more demanding

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

cross-country and downhill mountain bike trails starting from Birches Valley Forest Centre on Cannock Chase. Riders of all ages and abilities can also experience the forest on horseback with Cannock Chase Trekking Centre, off the A34 between Stafford and Cannock. And if you’re into horses you might want to visit Uttoxeter Racecourse, a National Hunt course dating back to the early 1900s and home of the Midlands Grand National. Racing of a different kind takes place at

60

kingfishervisitorguides.com


“OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS HAVE COME HOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE IN RECENT YEARS THANKS TO LEEK-BASED PARALYMPIC EQUESTRIAN SIR LEE PEARSON, STONE CANOEIST JOE CLARKE AND SWIMMER ADAM PEATY, OF UTTOXETER”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

League Two and play at Vale Park in Burslem, while other Staffordshire teams include Leek Town, Stafford Rangers and the Championship League’s Burton Albion. St George’s Park, near Burton, is home to the Football Association’s 24 national teams. Opened in 2012, the £105 million national football centre is the base for all coaching and development work undertaken by the FA. Behind the scenes tours are available, where you can see the Wembley replica pitch, elite changing room, autograph wall, team hotel and much more. The county has produced plenty of its own sporting heroes, including legendary footballer Sir Stanley Matthews, who was born in Hanley and spent 19 years playing for Stoke City. Darts ace Phil “The Power” Taylor – winner of a record 16 World Championships – comes from Burslem and fellow champion Eric “The Crafty Cockney” Bristow lives in Leek. Olympic gold medals have come home to Staffordshire in recent years thanks to Leek-based Paralympic equestrian Sir Lee Pearson, Stone canoeist Joe Clarke and swimmer Adam Peaty, of Uttoxeter.

61

You can make your own splash at indoor tropical water park Waterworld, which attracts 400,000 visitors a year and includes a variety of slides and flumes, and even the first indoor water-rollercoaster in the UK. And if that’s not enough, you can trek with llamas at Barton-under-Needwood, scale a climbing wall at Kilnworx in Burslem, play golf on more than 50 courses or go skiing at Tamworth Snow Dome. Whatever you feel like doing, you’ll be sure to find it in Staffordshire. l

ATGIMAGES/HUW FAIRCLOUGH/NEIL ROY JOHNSON/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM; VISITENGLAND/PEAK PURSUITS

Hednesford Hills Raceway, a short-circuit motor racing venue built on the site of a disused reservoir, which sees stock cars, hot rods and bangers taking on the fastest quarter-mile oval in Europe. Football is close to the heart of many Staffordshire folk and fans can catch Premier League action at Stoke City’s Bet365 Stadium. Known as The Potters, the team were beaten by Manchester City in the FA Cup final in 2011, and have reached the semi-finals three times. Their local rivals, Port Vale, compete in

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


TRAVEL

GETTING HERE & GETTING AROUND! Travellers from near and far will find Staffordshire an incredibly easy place to reach and travel around


S

taffordshire is located right in the heart of England between Manchester and Birmingham and great transport connections make it easy to get to from all directions.

GETTING HERE BY AIR The nearest international airports are Manchester, Birmingham and East Midlands, which are all around an hour away from the centre of the county.

SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

BY RAIL Stoke-on-Trent is less than two hours from London Euston on the West Coast Mainline, which runs through the county providing links to other major cities. Staffordshire is also served by a number of local and national rail routes, with Stafford, Lichfield and Rugeley all connecting with London and the north of the country. BY ROAD Staffordshire is easily accessible by road and the M6 motorway runs right through the county from north

kingfishervisitorguides.com

to south. From the south the M6 Toll lets you sail breezily into Staffordshire bypassing the oftencongested city of Birmingham, while the M54 brings you in from the west and the A50 connects you to the M1 in the east. You can reach London in around three hours with Manchester and Birmingham each around an hour away. National Express runs regular coaches from major cities and airports to the county.

GETTING AROUND BY BUS A number of bus companies serve Staffordshire, including First Potteries, D&G Bus, Arriva Midlands and Central Buses. Staffordshire County Council provides a handy guide to local bus routes in the Public Transport section of its website, helping you get around by providing easy links to the various companies’ timetables. BY CAR Wherever you are going, you can usually choose to whizz along on a main A road or motorway, or meander your way through picturesque villages p65

63

“NATIONAL EXPRESS RUNS REGULAR COACHES FROM MAJOR CITIES AND AIRPORTS TO THE COUNTY”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


Motorway and junction

14

A road

Flash

B road

CHESHIRE Rushton Spencer

Upper Hulme

A523

Tittesworth Reservoir

Biddulph Moor Rudyard

Gillow Heath

LEEK

Knypersley KIDSGROVE

NEWCASTLEUNDER-LYME

o Clayton

Baldwin's Gate Blackbrook Mucklestone Loggerheads

15

Hanchurch Knowl Wall A51

A53

Oulton

Millmeece

Wetwood

Sugnall Slindon

Croxton

Hilderstone

STONE Little Stoke

Milwich

Field

DERBYSHIRE

UTTOXETER

B5027

Blount's Green

Coton

A51

Sandon

ren

rT

ve

Ri

A518

t

Grindley

Marchington

B5017

Tutbury

A515

Draycott in the Clay

B5013

Weston

STAFFORD

Doxey

Gnosall

T r e n t

Lawnhead

Aqualate Mere

Blithfield Reservoir

B5234

Abbots Bromley Admaston

Great Haywood

B5013

A513

A518

A511

Kiddemore Green

12

Four Ashes

Standeford M54

Codsall

Oaken

2

Longdon

Hednesford

T7 T8

1

Featherstone

Essington

Wall

T6

Chesterfield Shenstone Little Aston

A41

Perton

A454

Trescott

A449

Kinver

A449

Sta f

fs & Worcs Canal

Himley

A458

Stourton Whittington

Branston

T4

Weeford

M6 Toll

A5127 A38

Hopwas

TAMWORTH

A5

Hints Bonehill A453

B5493

Kettlebrook Fazeley Dosthill

WARWICKSHIRE

Wombourne

Enville

Stapenhill

A513

A51

Watford Gap

Pattingham

Winshill

Elford

Streethay

LICHFIELD

Chasewater

Great Wyrley

B5016

Stretton A38

Barton-underOrgreave Needwood Handsacre Alrewas Rileyhill A515 Croxall A38 A51 Elmhurst Hilliard's Cross

Heath Hayes BURNTWOOD

A5

11

Coven

Codsall Wood

A460

B5017

Tatenhill

Blithbury Yoxall King's Bromley

CANNOCK

Gailey

Belvide Reservoir

Chase

Huntington

A449

Horsebrook

A5

A34

M6

Penkridge

Needwood Forest

B5014

Colwich Weeping V a Cross Milford l Haughton Brocton l e y Coppenhall 13 RUGELEY Dunston Bednall Cannock Brereton

Gnosall Heath

Burnhill Green

A521

14

B5405

SHROPSHIRE

Mayfield

UPON S T A F F O R D S H I R E Newborough BURTONTRENT

Norbury

Westonunder-Lizard

A52

Oakamoor Ellastone

Cheadle

Yarlet Great Bridgeford

A5013

Woodseaves A519

Norton Bridge

B5026

Pershall Eccleshall Wootten

Sutton Forton

Tittensor

A519

Swinscoe

A52

Forsbrook Bradley in the Moors Blythe Bridge Meir Denstone Upper Rocester Heath Tean Cresswell A50 A522 Fole Beamhurst Stramshall

s

Trentham

Swynnerton

Hookgate B5026

A5035

e

A521

6 Miles

l

A525

A522

4

yC an a

Onneley

Fenton e Longton r Meir i

t

Froghall

2

0 2 4 6 8 10 Kilometres Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2018

Winkhill Waterhouses

Whiston

STOKE-ON-TRENT

t

Keele

M6

Madeley

Ipstones

A52

0

Me rse

A531

National Park

PA RK

B5053

Wetley Rocks Werrington Bucknall Kingsley

Hanley

Hulme End

Onecote

A523

A520

STOKEON-TRENT P

Wrinehill

Bradnop

Baddeley Green

e T h

Chesterton Halmer End B5367

Betley

Tunstall

A527

B5500

County boundary

&

Audley

Balterley

A500

Airport

DIS TR IC T

Tre nt

16

Brindley Longsdon Ford Endon Goldenhill Caldon Canal

Town

NA TIONA L

Rudyard

A527

Fawfieldhead

A53

Railway and station

B5053

Blackshaw Warslow Moor Mixon

Reservoir

BIDDULPH

Longnor

PE A K

Danebridge

WEST MIDLANDS


ADOBESTOCK; WOZZIE/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

TRAVEL

on winding back roads. A drive along the A51 will take you to Stone, Rugeley and Lichfield, the A500 (known locally as the “D Road”) is a springboard to the six towns of Stoke-on-Trent, the A5 is the old Roman Watling Street and the A53 takes you across the Staffordshire Moorlands towards Flash, reputedly the highest village in England at 1,514 feet above sea level.

“STAFFORDSHIRE BOASTS A NUMBER OF HERITAGE STEAM RAILWAYS, LIKE CHASEWATER, NEAR LICHFIELD, AND FOXFIELD AND CHURNET VALLEY IN THE MOORLANDS”

kingfishervisitorguides.com

ON FOOT The 92-mile Staffordshire Way takes in some of the county’s loveliest scenery from Mow Cop Castle in the north to Kinver Edge in the south, via Leek, Uttoxeter, Penkridge, Brewood and Codsall. If that’s a bit too much like hard work, amble along one of the many towpaths or just take a stroll around the towns and cities, many of which have pedestrianised centres. l

BY BIKE Whatever your level of fitness, you’ll find the right cycle trail for you in Staffordshire, from former railway lines like the Manifold Track in the Moorlands to the challenging mountain bike courses on Cannock Chase. The county council has produced a complete set of cycle maps for each district, available on the Transport and Highways section of their website. BY TRAIN As well as the national and local routes mentioned above, Staffordshire boasts a number of heritage steam railways, like Chasewater, near Lichfield, and Foxfield and Churnet Valley in the Moorlands.

65

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


FURTHER AFIELD

LET’S EXPLORE! Staffordshire is a fantastic base for exploring some of the surrounding counties and attractions


ADOBESTOCK; CHATSWORTH HOUSE TRUST; INTU TRAFFORD CENTRE; PETER CLARKSON/UNSPLASH

N

ot only is Staffordshire a great destination in its own right, but it’s also the perfect springboard for day trips of all kinds. There’s a reason so many logistics hubs are based here – the county is ideally-located within the transport network to let you get to wherever you want to go. Perhaps the obvious choice is a trip up or down the M6 to Manchester or Birmingham. It’ll only take you around an hour to reach these lively destination cities by road – and even less by train – so you could easily spend a day indulging in some retail therapy (the Arndale and Trafford centres in Manchester and the Bullring and new Grand Central in Birmingham must be every shopaholic’s dream), checking out the attractions or taking in a show, concert or comedy gig. Heading north, Manchester boasts top museums like the Museum of Science and Industry, which includes the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station, and the National Football Museum, which features a collection of items linked to Stoke City hero Sir Stanley Matthews among its internationally important football-related artefacts and archives. Travelling south, those with a sweet tooth will enjoy Birmingham’s Cadbury World, a celebration of all things chocolate on the site of the original Cadbury factory in Bournville. Or for a more unusual experience, visit Birmingham’s newest independent museum, the Coffin Works, and learn all about how the once-prestigious firm Newman Brothers produced some of the world’s finest coffin furniture, including the fittings for the funerals of Churchill, Chamberlain and the Queen Mother. Don’t limit yourself to the big cities though. From south Staffordshire go west along the M54 to reach Shropshire. You’ll soon come to the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and UNESCO World Heritage Site Ironbridge Gorge with its fascinating museums and eponymous bridge, modern Telford with its popular ice rink and historic Shrewsbury, packed with independent shops and restaurants on winding cobbled streets. Alternatively take the stunning A53 from Leek east across the moorlands to genteel spa town Buxton, and travel onwards into the Derbyshire Peak District. You can explore underground caverns and show caves in Castleton, eat tarts in Bakewell and step back in time at Chatsworth House, which stood in

kingfishervisitorguides.com

for Mr Darcy’s home Pemberley in the 2005 film of Pride and Prejudice. And, if landlocked Staffordshire is making you miss the sea, North Wales is within reach, particularly from the Stoke-on-Trent area, with family-friendly resort Llandudno proving a popular choice for taking in the coastal air. Stop in at Chester on your way there or back and discover a vibrant mix of 2,000 years of history, a prime shopping location and a varied restaurant scene. Whichever direction you go in, we’re sure you’ll come back to Staffordshire energised and refreshed and ready to take advantage of everything the county has to offer. l

67

“THE FAMILYFRIENDLY RESORT OF LLANDUDNO PROVES A POPULAR CHOICE FOR TAKING IN THE COASTAL AIR”

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


PROPERTY

IF YOU’RE PLANNING TO STAY LONGER… You can get plenty of bang for your buck when it comes to property in Staffordshire, so have a look around and find your dream home

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

68

kingfishervisitorguides.com


CARON BADKIN/RON ELLIS/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

V

isitors to the area are often amazed how far their budget will stretch when it comes to property in Staffordshire. The county has everything from large rural retreats and quaint thatched cottages to smart urban penthouses and family-friendly new builds, and everything in between. And while a one-bedroom flat in London might cost you upwards of £500,000, in Staffordshire that cool half-a-million pounds would likely buy you an impressive detached home set in several acres of land. At the other end of the scale, Stoke-on-Trent City Council has recently offered up 25 terraced properties in need of renovation in the Hanley area of the city for just £1 each. Buyers needed to live or work in the city or have family connections to the Potteries, but even those who wouldn’t qualify for that scheme – aimed at regenerating more rundown areas – can pick up a terraced house in the city for around £60,000. The student rental market is booming and thousands of flats are being constructed in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent to serve Keele and Staffordshire universities, providing an exciting opportunity for anyone looking to invest in property in the region. Anyone planning to relocate to the county will find Staffordshire a great base for commuting and leisure. Birmingham and Manchester are easy to reach by rail from stations in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, while the Chase Line provides an hourly service from Rugeley, Hednesford and Cannock for workers in Birmingham. You could even commute to

kingfishervisitorguides.com

“LICHFIELD IS A MORE EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE TO ITS NEIGHBOURING FORMER MINING TOWNS, WITH GEORGIAN TOWNHOUSES AND A THRIVING NEW BUILD MARKET”

69

London from Stoke-on-Trent with a rail journey time of around 90 minutes, making a move to the county a more realistic prospect than you might first expect. Fans of the great outdoors should look towards the Staffordshire Moorlands, with its attractive villages like Dilhorne and Ipstones and the quirky antiques hotspot of Leek, or the Cannock Chase area, where Cannock town itself provides an affordable and unpretentious base for exploring the country’s smallest mainland designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The beautiful cathedral city of Lichfield is a more expensive alternative to its neighbouring former mining towns, with Georgian townhouses and a thriving new build market thanks to its great transport links with the motorways and rail network. In the centre of the county Stone and Stafford both offer affordable family homes with a high standard of living, while further north the large borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme combines town centre apartments and suburban estates with rural villages close to the Cheshire and Shropshire borders. And with the “leg” of south Staffordshire extending deep into the so-called Black Country around Wolverhampton and Dudley, you could almost be a West Midlands resident down in Wombourne or Kinver while still retaining a Staffordshire address. Wherever you choose to put down roots in the county, you can be sure that Staffordshire will be able to offer you everything you need from your home and more. l

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE


BUSINESS

WE’RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS! With an industrial past famed for revolutionary pottery techniques, Staffordshire’s entrepreneurial flair for innovation is still burning bright today

ADOBESTOCK; ASTUDIO/FLY BY PHOTOGRAPHY/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

S

previous year when her company made a £525 million profit from a record £47 billion of bets. Fellow billionaire John Caudwell also grew up in Stoke-onTrent and based his mobile phone empire Phones 4U in the county. While the company entered administration in 2014, his children’s charity Caudwell Children is still based in the area and has supported more than 20,000 children with disabilities and their families since it was founded in 2000. In 2017 it constructed the £18 million Caudwell International Children’s Centre at Keele University Science and Innovation Park to focus on autism diagnosis, therapy and research. Keele’s science park is also home to more than 40 “knowledge-intensive” businesses in the fields of medical technology, renewable energy, recruitment, pharmaceutical, digital marketing and more. It’s among the key sites across the county which have benefitted from multi-million pound investment programmes which have helped to create 19,000 jobs since 2011. Another is i54 South Stafffordshire, a high-tech business park just off the M54 on the border with Wolverhampton, which includes Jaguar Land Rover’s new £500 million engine manufacturing centre. Great transport links throughout the county make Staffordshire a top choice for anyone to who needs to get things from A to B. Amazon has a 700,000 square foot fulfilment centre in Rugeley, for example, and haulier Eddie Stobart has a depot just off junction 15 of the M6, while many other logistics firms and trucking companies are based around the county. And if you choose to base your business in Staffordshire, you’ll certainly be going places too. l

taffordshire is still rightly famous for its ceramic heritage, although that’s not the only thing happening here today. The pottery industry is enjoying a renaissance, with huge international brands like Wedgwood continuing to invest in the region alongside smaller manufacturers and designers attracted to the area by the expertise and deeply embedded ceramic culture in Stoke-on-Trent. The spirit of innovation shown by the early pottery pioneers is alive and well in the county, with some of Britain’s biggest success stories growing from tiny Staffordshire start-ups. Multinational construction machinery manufacturers JCB – with its instantly recognisable yellow diggers and other heavy equipment – has its headquarters in Rocester, near Uttoxeter. It was founded in 1945 by Joseph Cyril Bamford – who leant his initials to the firm – from a rented lock-up garage using a second-hand welding set and has grown into a worldwide operation with 22 factories across Asia, Europe, North America and South America. And closer to home, with factories in Cheadle, Uttoxeter and Rugeley and a logistics hub in Newcastle-under-Lyme, the family-run firm also sponsors the JCB Academy, a secondary school in Rocester. Another huge oak tree grown from a tiny acorn is online gambling company Bet365, the largest private sector employer in Stoke-on-Trent with around 3,000 staff, which started life in a portakabin in a car park in the city in 2000. Joint chief executive Denise Coates was named the “best paid boss in Britain” in 2017, receiving £217 million the

WELCOME TO STAFFORDSHIRE

70

kingfishervisitorguides.com


Welcome to Staffordshire  

Unique, beautifully designed, high-quality visitor guide, which is available in leading hotel bedrooms. For those enjoying a break, or stayi...

Welcome to Staffordshire  

Unique, beautifully designed, high-quality visitor guide, which is available in leading hotel bedrooms. For those enjoying a break, or stayi...