Stone is an old market town located in the county of Staffordshire that has established a reputation for excellent food and drink including the Stone annual Autumn Food & Drink Festival. The town was known as a canal town and is situated midway along the Trent and Mersey Canal; colourful barges can be sighted here throughout the year. Must see sights include: the parish church of Saint Michael, the Crown Hotel, the Public Library and Stone Railway Station to name but a few.
See My Travel Page for more information.
Stoke-on-Trent is considered to be the home of the pottery industry in England and has claimed the title of World Capital of Ceramics. The city has many pottery related attractions that include museums, factory shops and tours. The name Stoke was originally taken from the parish of Stoke-upon-Trent, but in April 1910 a federation of six separate towns and numerous villages were formed including the county borough of Hanley, the municipal boroughs of Burslem, Longton, and Stoke, together with the urban districts of Tunstall and Fenton, this combined borough took the name “town of Stoke”. Must see sights include: over 25 pottery factory shops, the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Etruria Industrial Museum, the Gladstone Pottery Museum, Trentham Gardens & Shopping Village, and Trentham Monkey Forest to name but a few.
See My Travel Page for more information.
Stafford is the county town of Staffordshire and is located in the Central-west area of England, the name is derived from Ford by a Staithe (landing place). The town consists of a mixture of modern and old architecture throughout which adds to its interest. Must see sights include: the Elizabethan Ancient High House. Stafford castle, St Chad’s Church, St Mary’s Collegiate Church and the Shire Hall Gallery to name but a few.
See My Travel Page for more information.
Alton Towers is a Theme Park resort with 2 hotels and an indoor water park. The Theme Park is split into different areas Mutiny Bay (where there is a pirate ship, pirate shows as well as log flumes and an aquarium), Katanga Canyon (an african themed village with a runaway train ride and river rapids), Gloomy Wood (a haunted themed area) and Forbidden Valley (this is where most of the biggest and scariest rollercoasters are located such as Rita, Th13teen etc).
As of July 2012 the "on the gate price" is £43.50 and if you book it online is £26.10 for an adult or child over the age of 12.
"on the gate price" is £34.75 and if you book online is £20.85 for a child under 12.
All day parking £6.00
The opening times vary depending on the time of the year. If you stay at one of the resorts hotels you will be able to enter the theme park 1 hour before regular guests.
The Theme park is very large and can take a long time to walk around. I recommend trying to plan your route around the theme park at the start of the day otherwise you will have difficulty getting on all the big rides.
2 for 1 offers are usually available in the summer time and you will find these vouchers in newspapers, magazines and on food packages. But these 2 for 1 tickets are based on the "on the gate" price, you will not be able to book a 2 for 1 visit online.
This steeply sided limestone valley between the villages of Thorpe Cloud and Milldale forms part of the county boundary between Staffordshire to the west and Derbyshire to the east.
It's a very popular part of the Peak District National Park and can become very busy on public holidays, which is when we visited. Having said that as with many of these attractions if you are prepared to explore a little further afield you will escape the crowds and be able to enjoy a relatively peaceful experience.
We easily found a car parking space at £2.50 per day- there is a cheaper one further up the hill and this will be the first one you'll see as you approach the site but we felt for the extra expense it was worth parking at the nearer location to the start of the main footpath.
There are toilets and a small stall selling drinks and snacks both at the main car park and at the other end in Milldale.
At the southern end where most people start there are the famous stepping stones where the path crosses the shallow river via a short series of stones. These were flat and reasonably safe for the sure footed. The path carries on up the dale on the Derbyshire side but at the northern end you cross over into Staffordshire when you visit Milldale.
On your walk up the dale you'll find large caves, limestone pillars and fallen trees with old pennies hammered into their trunks. I'm not sure of the significance of this other than it created a lot of interest in passers-by.
Keep an eye out for the river's iconic bird, the Dipper. I saw 5 in different parts of the river. They are smaller than a Blackbird but bigger than sparrows with a white bib on front. They have a characteristic habit of bobbing up and down whilst perched but they are best known for their habit of walking under water to look for aquatic insects. They are charming birds and a real pleasure to watch.
There's plenty to interest you along this path and you can treat yourself to an ice-cream if you do the full 6 mile walk.
Shugborough is an amazing place for the whole family. Costumed living history characters real do bring the past to life. Shugborough is the UK’s only Complete Working Historic Estate and is not just a magnificent stately home but a living, working experience of life as it was 200
It's located on the fringes of Cannock Chase, set in 900 acres of stunning parkland and riverside gardens with elegant mansion house, working Victorian servants’ quarters, Georgian farm (with a selection of animals) & mill and restored walled garden. There's also a land train ride, which kids love and it takes you all over the estate. There's also a play park,
rare breed animals, restaurant & tea rooms, gift shop, craft workshops, ice cream kiosks
and old fashioned sweet shop.
NEW FOR 2011 – SHUGBOROUGH REVISITED
This year, they have also unveiled a brand new attraction called Shugborough Revisited, where for the first time ever the private apartments of the Earls of Lichfield. See how one of the nation's grandest families lived.
There's also a massive programme of events, from Murder Mystery Dinners, Guided Walks, Themed Weekends, Summer Movie Picnic Nights and much more: www.shugborough.org.uk
The website was terrifying enough. Looking at the rides was worse. Fortunately my 6 year old is too short for the worst ones so I had an excuse not to go on some. Even the names "Apocalypse", "G force" and " Shockwave" are frightening. Apocalypse consists of no more or less than your being pulled up a 40m tower and then dropped. Enjoyed the water rides though - do them last on a cold day as you will get soaked.
This is a theme park for thrill seekers. £70 for a family of four - steep but about average for really scary rides. I managed to go out of school holidays which is to be recommended.
This is a really beautiful castle (mostly ruined), it is only a few pounds to get in and is well worth a visit - especially at weekends when there are frequent events.
Check out www.tutburycastle.com
Beautiful grounds for a formal function, gardens are in full bloom.
Opening Dates and Times: All year. Daily except Christmas Day. April to September open 10am to 6pm. October to March open 10am to 4pm.
Public Admission: Adult £6.50 (winter £5.00), Concession £6.00 (winter £4.50), Child £5.50 (winter £3.50).
Founded directly from a Cistercian house in Normandy, the monks arrived at Croxden in Staffordshire in 1179 to begin building their monastery. Throughout the first abbot's reign, lasting just over half a century, the abbey church and most of the monastic buildings were completed.
Croxden Abbey was one of the later Cistercian foundations and, as such, the architecture was noticeably less austere than the first monasteries built by this strict Order. The abbey church had an unusually sumptuous east end, boasting an elegantly designed French styled 'chevet'. Only fragments now remain of this arrangement of five circular chapels radiating from an ambulatory but it must have presented a splendid picture in the 13th century.
Croxden Abbey, although conforming to the standard late Cistercian plan, was relatively compact and there appears to have been no more than 12 monks living at the monastery throughout its history. The monks here were excellent sheep breeders, and the good quality wool produced was their main source of income. Few details appear to have been documented during the monastery's 350 year existence, and we can only assume that the monks led a relatively undisturbed and peaceful life. At the time Croxden Abbey was surrendered to the crown in September 1538 there were still 12 monks and the abbot in residence.
Now the abbey is but a magnificent ruin set in a working farm.
It is in the care of English Heritage and admission is free at any reasonable time.
Lower Penkridge Road, Acton Trussell, Staffordshire, ST170RJ, United Kingdom
Good for: Couples
Stone Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8JG, United Kingdom
Good for: Solo
Lichfield, WS14 9RS, United Kingdom
Good for: Families