My Favorite Tourist Attractions in Staffordshire
10 Reasons to Visit Staffordshire
Let me give you ten reasons to visit the landlocked county of Stafford in the north Midlands of England, with this guide to my favorite tourist attractions in Staffordshire.
Bordered by Cheshire to the north, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the southeast, the West Midlands to the south, Worcestershire to the south west and Shropshire to the west, it has a population of 1,071,400, according to Wikepedia and is the 18th largest county in England.
It is also where I was born and spent almost all of the first 39 years of my life, the place that I consider to be home. I have spent the last six years living in the tropics, but I still read my local evening paper online, crave Staffordshire oatcakes, follow my local football team, speak with a Potteries dialect as often as possible and consider myself to belong in the Midlands of England.
I would like to share with you the places in Staffordshire that are special to me. Not necessarily the top ten places to visit in Staffordshire, but attractions in Staffordshire that I know and love.
Please follow me as we visit Staffordshire, home to castles, gardens, museums, history, fantastic scenery, monkeys and so much more.
My Top 10 Places to Visit in Staffordshire
A:Gladstone Pottery Museum
1. Industrial Heritage
Stoke on Trent is famous the world over for its pottery industry, and is known colloquially as "The Potteries"
Wedgwood, Spode, Royal Doulton, Portmerion, are household names that you have probably heard of, and they all began their life here, along with hundreds, if not thousands of smaller and lesser known potteries.
There was a time when there would be hardly a house anywhere in the world that did not own at least one piece of pottery or china made in Stoke on Trent.
Most of the pottery factories have closed down and outsourced their production to Asia, but there is still a thriving industry in pottery museums, such as the Gladstone Pottery Museum where you can see a bottle kiln oven and try your hands at throwing a pot or painting a flower, and factory shops where you can buy slightly imperfect (seconds) pottery at a discount.
B: Biddulph Grange
2. Magnificent Gardens
Biddulph Grange Gardens were cultivated in the 19th century by a local businessman, James Bateman, as a home for his global plant collection, and as you take a walk around the garden and stumble across its its secret tunnels and passages you will feel as if you have visited the four corners of the globe.
"A visit takes you on a global journey from Italy to the pyramids of Egypt, a Victorian vision of China and a re-creation of a Himalayan glen" (National Trust)
In the 1920s the house became a hospital and the 15 acres of gardens became neglected and overgrown until the 1980s, when it came into into National Trust ownership.
After many years of hard work the gardens are now fully restored and are famous for their collection of rhodendron plant and a golden larch, the oldest surviving tree, that was brought from China in the 1850s.
Whether or not you are a member of the National trust, these gardens are well worth a visit.
C. Tamworth Snow Dome
3: Year Round Winter Fun
If you are a lover of winter sports and want year round fun in the snow, then the Snow Dome at Tamworth has to be top of your list of places to visit.
You will be able to try out a wide range of snow sports, and ice skating too.
Tamworth Snow Dome
D. National Memorial Arboretum
4: War Memorial
The National Memorial Arboretum was formally opened in 2007 by Queen Elizabeth, and is a memorial to thousands of people who have been killed in action.
National Memorial Arboretum
E. Churnet Valley Railway
5: Picturesque Steam Railway
The Churnet Valley railway line opened in 1849 and linked Macclesfield with Uttoxeter.
After Dr Beeching wielded his axe in the 1960s the route became closed to passenger trains, with just the section between Oakamoor and Leekbrook Junction being kept open for freight trains.
During the 1970s, railway preservationists began a long campaign to re-open the line, and eventually in the 1990s they were able buy seven miles of trackbed that ran from Leekbrook to Oakamoor.
It was 1996 before the first passenger train was able to be run, travelling just one mile from Cheddleton to Leekbrook.
Since then the company has expanded and now offers train rides over thirty miles of track.
They also offer weddings, train driving opportunities and the chance to dine on a train. The station buildings have also been restored and they hold themed historical events there.
This would make a perfect day out for families and train enthusiasts alike.
Check their website to see a full list of events.
6. The National Brewery Centre
6: Brewery Tour
Sited in Burton on Trent, near the Staffordshire / Derbyshire border, the brewery museum does an excellent job of celebrating the town's brewing history.
As well as the history of beer production, steam engines, vintage vehicles and shire horses there is also the William Worthington micro-brewery that enables you to see how beer is brewed today.
This makes a perfect day out for anyone interested in social history......or beer!
The National Brewery Centre
G. Trentham Monkey Park
7: Visit the Monkeys
Situated at the southern end of the Trentham Estate is the 60 acre Monkey Park.
Here you will find 60 acres of meadow and woodland, where 140 barbary monkeys are able to live freely.
It is an amazing experience to be able to walk around the park and be in close proximity to the monkeys, and it makes a perfect day out for all ages.
Trentham Monkey Park
Have you ever visited Staffordshire?
H. Drayton Manor Theme Park
8: Thrilling Rides And Zoo
Near Tamworth, on the south eastern edge of Staffordshire is Drayton Manor theme park. Not as well known as Alton Towers in the north of the county, it offers a fun packed day out at a reasonable price.
With an entrance fee of £20 for adults, £12 for children and under 4's entering for free it provides excellent value for money.
There is a zoo, white knuckle rides, Thomas land and much much more.
I. The Roaches
9: The Peak District
The Peak district is not just in Derbyshire, it also covers part of Staffordshire including the spectacular roaches, just outside of Leek.
It's a wild and rugged environment, where wallabies live in the wild and buzzards soar overhead. If you drive from Leek to Buxton you will pass through the Roaches and feel as if you are driving on the top of the world
If you love the outdoors, walking and climbing then this is a perfect destination.
10. Visit the Trent and Mersey Canal
Photo Credit: Â© Casa Cicak, All Rights Reserved
As its name suggests, the Trent and Mersey canal links the River Mersey, near Runcorn in Cheshire to the River Trent in Derbyshire, a distance of some 93 miles.
Where it passes through Staffordshire you can experience picturesque rural walks, quaint lock side pubs, magnificent stately homes, inner city scapes.....or the engineering feat that is the Harecastle Tunnel.
There are in fact two tunnels. James Brindley 's tunnel that was completed in 1777 and Thomas Telford's tunnel that was completed in 1827. Today, only Telford's 2,926 yard tunnel is open to the public.