Nestled in the heart of England, Stoke-on-Trent is brimming with intriguing museums laden with Anglo-Saxon gems, opulent Italianate gardens and an enviable industrial heritage – in fact Stoke is dubbed ‘The Potteries’ thanks to rich history or producing world-class ceramics!
Gawp at the vast Staffordshire Hoard
In July 2009 the most impressive collection of Anglo-Saxon silver and gold artefacts was uncovered just outside Stoke. With over 3,500 separate items the collection has since attracted the moniker ‘Staffordshire Hoard’ and the exquisite pieces can be seen at the city’s Potteries Museum & Art Gallery on Bethesda Street; you can even buy replica pieces to take home. The collection is worth over three million pounds and the children’s trails will keep the whole family entertained this winter.
Scream your heart out at Alton Towers
You won’t hear any cries of “I’m bored” this winter holiday with a day out at the established theme park of Alton Towers. Prepare yourself for thrilling rides and unforgettable experiences. Get into the festive spirit with the Ice Age 4D Experience which features bubbles, icy blasts and snow! Adults will love the terrifying drop tower Nemesis Sub-Terra ride and The Smiler, which is petrifying 14 looping rollercoaster – the first in the world! Kids will love the special Santa’s Sleepovers this Christmas and next half-term brings the Moshi Monsters to the park.
See why Stoke is the World Capital of Ceramics
Stroke’s pottery heritage dates back to the 17th century and has earnt the city the nickname of The Potteries. Highlights include award-winning museums, world renowned ceramics collections and fascinating factory tours. Meet the highly-skilled workers and even have a go at crafting a pot yourself! There are a few names synonymous with quality local ceramics; Wedgwood, Emma Bridgewater and Portmeirion are three of the best known. And I’ll let you into a little secret; the onsite produced dinnerware sets and stylish cookware make for beautiful Christmas gifts, especially the large tea pots! Or create a truly personalised gift at one of the hands-on demonstrations. Or create a truly personalised gift at one of the hands-on demonstrations.
Admire the lavish gardens of the Trentham Estate
Wintertime is magical in this part of the world – and a light dusting of snow is currently predicted to grace Stoke by the end of the week! And what better place to admire a serene winterscape than at the contemporary Italian Gardens of the Trentham Estate. So impressive are these gardens that they’ve won awards at both the Tatton and Chelsea Flower Show. Enjoy an exhilarating winter woodland walk around the mile long lake, stomp though Monkey Forest and try out the real ice rink this winter.
Experience Stoke’s award winning Museums
The best way to really ‘get’ a city is to explore its culture via the local museums – and you’re in for a treat in Stoke with a clutch of seriously good examples. Besides the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (see above) there is the superb Gladstone Pottery Museum which tells the history of china tableware through the centuries. You can even wander around the only remaining Victorian pottery factory in the UK which has been carefully maintained. Admire the steam-powered potters’ mill at the Etruria Industrial Museum – which is the last remaining example in Britain. This month the museum hosts the ‘Christmas Steaming’ event where the mill is bathed in steam, as it would have been centuries ago. And don’t miss the 17th century timber frame farmhouse, Ford Green Hall, which gives a fascinating insight into days gone by, with period textiles, furniture and of course ceramics all on display.