Located in the Heart of England, in Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent is a city with a rich industrial past, and it’s the world capital of ceramics. If you’re at all interested in industrial history, or in pottery, then it’s not to be missed. It also boasts plenty of other attractions – including the nearby Alton Towers – making it an ideal holiday cottage destination.

It’s also on the shortlist for the City of Culture 2021 – visit and find out why.

The Ceramics Trail

The pottery industry has helped shape the history of Stoke for some 2300 years, hence the area’s affectionate name, the Potteries.

It began on a small scale in the middle of the 17th century, then grew and flourished, as the area became home to such famous names as Wedgwood, Spode, Royal Doulton and Royal Stafford.

What’s impressive is how this industry has remained in Stoke, with local people employing their skills to match this unrivalled heritage.

This means, when visiting the Potteries, you get both a vivid sense of history and a real feel for a contemporary, thriving industry.

The Ceramics Trail runs the length of the region, taking in factory tours and factory shops, and ceramic attractions, museums and events.

There are factory tours at Middleport, Moorcroft and the Emma Bridgewater factory, providing a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at hand-crafting pottery manufacture in action.

There are numerous factory shops, attached to other attractions, so you can include taking something memorable, and beautiful, away with you as part of your visit.

Ceramic museums include the Dudson Museum, which is the oldest surviving family ceramic business focused on tableware; the Spode Works Visitor Centre; and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.

Further to the south, in Barlaston, you’ll find the World of Wedgwood. This includes the firm’s flagship store, museum and factory tour, and, in case you find yourself flagging, a dining hall.

 

Homes and Gardens in the Potteries

You don’t have to restrict your activities to ceramics. There are plenty of other attractions in the area, including historic homes and sculpted gardens.

On the Trentham Estate, Trentham Gardens has an adventure playground, a shopping village, and a whole range of shops and restaurants, making it an ideal family destination.

The National Trust owned Biddulph Grange Garden is an astonishing Victorian garden, the brainchild of James Bateman, one of Darwin’s contemporaries.

Here you can marvel at the garden design, see intriguing sculptural works and structures, and explore the geological gallery.

Ford Green Hall is a 17th century, timber-framed farmhouse, and was home to the Ford family for nearly 200 years. As a museum, it provides a fascinating window onto a past existence, including its own period garden.

Food and Drink

Staffordshire and the Potteries is home to plenty of tea rooms, coffee shop, pubs and restaurants – many of the factories and ceramic centres have eateries attached to them.

You can experience fine dining or home-cooked comforts. Many places display the Taste of Staffordshire Quality Marque, which means what they offer has achieved the highest standards.

There are also plenty of regular food and drink events, including the Stone Food and Drink Festival, held in the town of Stone, Staffordshire.

 

Plan Your Stay

To find your own, ideal holiday cottage for your visit to the Potteries, visit our website, or email info@holidaycottages.cc