Royal Baby Bedlam in Stoke-on-Trent!

royal baby

Here at Visit Stoke we couldn’t be happier when we heard the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced to the world that their first child Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born at 4.24pm on 22nd July 2013, weighing 8lbs 6oz.

To mark this very special day some of the city’s famous pottery names have launched a stunning range of souvenirs and collectables that you can buy to celebrate the birth of the royal baby.

Hooray for George

AynsleyRoyal baby Boy trink#7633F4 (1)

From the Hooray for George mug by Emma Bridgewater to the more traditional plate, trinket and mug set by Aynsley, a fabulous art pottery vase by Moorcroft to a fun mug by Dunoon there is something to suit every taste.

Moorcroft A Royal Arrival Prince

Cairngorm_Royal Baby Prince

You can come and buy from over 20 pottery factory shops in the city and what not take a factory tour to see how this wonderful commemorative royal ware is made!

Factory tours are available at Emma Bridgewater, Moorcroft, Wedgwood, Aynsley and Burleigh.

For more information about the fantastic royal commemorative ware our city has to offer visit


Enjoy a magical day out at The Trentham Estate

Italian Garden Summer from above

Famous for its gardens in particular and open all year round, today I visited The Trentham Estate. Boasting not just beautiful and scenic gardens, I found this attraction a fun place with many activities and things to do for the whole family. Whether you’re a shopper, a gardener, an active person or someone who just wants a fun day out with the kids in either summer or winter – The Trentham Estate has it all.

I found this attraction one of the easiest to get to due to it’s easy to spot location on a main road and due to it being frequently signposted on brown and white signs throughout the city. There is ample free parking for visitors on site, and if you are arriving by public transport there are various bus links which you can use. The 101 runs every 20 minutes, along with the X1 every 60 minutes, and is a short drive by taxi or bus from Stoke-on-Trent station if you are arriving via train.

When I entered the Estate, I instantly noticed there was a Premier Inn on site which makes this an ideal location if you are looking to stay overnight in Stoke-on-Trent. There is also a Frankie and Bennys restaurant if the unlikely event occurs that you do not fancy anything to eat at one of the many high quality cafés that the Trentham Estate has!

Prior to visiting the gardens, I decided to visit the Shopping Village, as this (along with the Garden Centre) is one of the first attractions you see upon entry. When you hear the phrase ‘Shopping Village’, like me, you might Trentham Retailinstantly think that this is just a variation of the name ‘Shopping Centre’ to make it stand out and seem more unique. However, a ‘village’ is exactly what this shopping venue is. Hosting a variety of shops in around 60 timber Lodges, you are sure to find an array of brands, from big names like Bench and Superdry to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Thorntons, to much smaller names. As this is Stoke-on-Trent, no retail experience would be complete without a range of famous pottery industry names! The Trentham Estate has various pottery stores for famous names such as Aynsley China, Portmeirion, Spode and Royal Worcester.

One of the best features I found in The Trentham Shopping Village were the eclectic range of stores selling a wide range of products, from pet products right through to stores selling knitted fabric products. Other stores in the Shopping Village are Holland and Barrett and a Brown andTrenthamShoppingVillageAug11Bench Green, selling a variety of quality produce, from Artisan and ethical, right through to locally produced food and drink. Carrying on with the food and drink theme, there is also a massive sweet shop and even a Whiskey Shop! In my opinion, The Trentham Shopping Village is a foodie heaven! The Shopping Village also has a variety of cafés and restaurants if you’re looking for somewhere to relax after all of that shopping. You’re sure to find something you fancy, as I saw there were venues to cater for any meal – if it’s a light snack, breakfast, a dinner or a family lunch. There are big names from Pieminister all the way to a traditional Fish and Chip Shop.

Next, I decided to take a trip to the gigantic Garden Centre. To be honest, I’ve been to quite a few garden centres in the past but so far I’ve seen none as big or versatile as this one. A haven for all gardeners, or even house proud people, you are sure to find a purchase. From indoor and outdoor products, there is plenty to keep you occupied and browsing for at least an hour. Not only does the centre sell typical garden centre products like plants and flowers, it also sells a range of outdoor and indoor decoration for your home, along with clothes and games, books and DVDs for children. To keep the kids occupied, there is also a children’s play area for them too.

If you have enough of shopping and want somewhere to relax and have a bite to eat, the Garden Centre also gives you a variety of options of where to eat and drink. There is largely an Italian theme throughout the centre, and this is reflected by the types of restaurants and cafés they have. There are two restaurants in total, one called the Terrazzo del Giardino, and the largest restaurant, the Six Arches. The former serves a large variety of Italian food and wine overlooking the Italian Garden with space to sit outside on the terrace. The latter is the largest restaurant serving a variety of food for breakfast, lunch and in the afternoons, home-baked cakes and cream tea. There is also a café, which I visited, called Café Bello. Again, this is Italian themed, serving a selection of delicious Italian snacks, including bruschetta, Panini’s and pastries, along with a selection of hot and cold drinks.

Now that I had visited both the Shopping Village and the Garden Centre, next it was time to visit arguably the main attraction – Trentham Gardens. I must admit, when I visited the weather wasn’t very good (surprise, surprise – British weather!) however it was still spectacular, and I imagine even more spectacular in the summer when the weather is a lot warmer and the sun is shining! I think this part of the Estate is the most family friendly, with an array of activities to keep the children entertained. With so many activities to fill a whole day, this attraction is certainly value for money.

sept 08 005

I accessed the Gardens through the Shopping Village, and they were easily signposted. I firstly visited the Italian Garden, which is apparently the largest perennial plantings garden in Europe. This stunning garden made from Chelsea Flower show Gold medalist Tom Stuart-Smith, is definitely worth a look and in my opinion, one of the highlights of the attraction and should definitely not be missed.

As I mentioned previously, the Gardens are very children orientated with plenty of activities. First off is Trentham Lake, which is suitable for both adults and children alike. You can take part in boat rides, including chartering you own rowing boat! But if being on the water isn’t your thing and you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, there is also a pathway where you can take a walk around the lake. There are miniature train rides at OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcertain times of the year. The Lake and in fact the whole of the Gardens themselves are interactive with children, as it is encouraged to see if they can spot ‘The Trentham Fairies’. The Garden’s are also perfect if you are bird or nature lover, as Trentham is known for the wildlife that can be found there. Notably Badgers, Hedgehogs and Foxes are amongst the many wildlife creatures that reside there.

Next, I visited the Eastern Pleasure Ground and the Western Pleasure Ground. The Western Pleasure Ground I found was the most child orientated, as this is where there is an adventure playground perfect for the kids, parkland and an amphitheatre which doubles up as an ice rink in the winter months. This amphitheatre is also where Trentham host Hot Summer Saturday events through July and August. This is also the part of the gardens where the child friendly maze and the Barefoot Walk is located.

Children in Barfus

The Barefoot Walk is an exciting attraction which is fun for the whole family, as we all know kids love getting messy! As the title suggests, you take part barefoot, and go on a scenic walk over a variety of textures such as mud, bark, logs, hay, grass and pebbles.

Other activities for both adults and children alike is Aerial Extreme. A High ropes adventure course, perfect for family days out and anyone looking for a bit of adventure. This is a perfect family day out where no experience is needed.

Trentham Monkey Forest is one of the main attractions within the Estate, and enables you to see how they live in a natural environment and up close across acres of breathtaking Staffordshire woodland. This attraction is open seasonally everyday from the 23rd of March up until the 3rd of November, and opening times vary depending on the day.

I would recommend this attraction to anybody, whether you are an adult on your own or with children. With plenty of things to do, you could easily spend the whole day here, and even then you would struggle to see everything!

Admission into the Gardens is £8.50 for an adult, and £7.25 for a concession and a child between the ages of 5-15 years. Also, family tickets can be purchased for £29.50 or £22.00 depending on the amount of adults and children per family.

Admission prices for the Monkey Forest slightly vary at £7.50 for an adult, and £7.00 for a concession. For children between the ages of 3 and 14, admission is just £5.50 and children under the age of 3 get in for free.

Jon and his familly on path with monkey on rail

For more information about this great attraction and to see a full list of events held at The Trentham Estate, visit our website on

Middleport Pottery – the home of Burleigh

New Dresser Shot sqToday, I visited the Burleigh Factory Shop at Middleport Pottery, next to the Trent and Mersey Canal. Similar to Gladstone in charm and character, however this factory is the only working Victorian Pottery Factory still in existence and producing high quality pottery products today. Originally a family run business; this is now a part of Denby Holdings Ltd, which is a parent company of Denby Pottery.

This Victorian Factory, establised in 1851, has been manufacturing the highest quality pottery for 150 years now and is recognised around the world, mostly for its distinct Blue and White designs. Located in Burslem, this charming factory has 1 original biscuit oven left standing, and still uses traditional methods today, which is one of the reasons why it is so unique. Once a common process, the timeless decorating method of under glaze transfer printing from engravings is now extremely rare and can only be seen in practise at Burleigh.

Although Middleport Pottery is under development by the Princes Regeneration Trust to regenerate the factory whilst still keeping with its traditional values and processes, the factory shop is still open as usual. Selling an array of products (including factory seconds) – dinner sets, jugs, mugs, cups and saucers, bowls, plates, platters, kitchenware and bathroom ware can still be puchased. Other well-known pottery names can be purchased in the factory shop, namely Poole Pottery, and Leeds Pottery is due to be included soon. The shop is very cosy, offering a warm coal fire in the winter months and free coffee, tea and biscuits are provided to factory visitors.

Factory tours are available; however it is absolutely essential that these are booked in advance and prior to your arrival date. Factory tours are available on Monday and Wednesday’s at 2pm along with Friday’s at 10am. Unfortunately, the main car park to the site is closed during the developments, however this is compensated by a small car park being opened across the road from the factory entrance and there being unrestricted parking on the street which the factory is located on.

The Middleport Pottery Visitor Centre development is due to be completed in the spring of 2014, and from then on the factory will be holding more frequent factory tours. Also, a visitor and education centre and a café are expected to be built which will enhance the visitor experience and make this a great visitor attraction in the Stoke-on-Trent area.

The factory shop is open 7 days a week. 9am until 5pm on Monday to Saturday, and from 10am until 4pm on Sunday’s.

For more information about Burleigh and its home Middleport Pottery, visit

Mouth watering Italian market

Stoke-on-Trent city centre will be hosting an Italian food market next week from Wednesday 16 May through to Saturday 19 May, 9am to 5pm each day. Offering a wide variety of Italian products including Italian bread, olive oil, olives, nuts, cheese, salads, dried fruites,  Arrancini, calzone, Italian biscuits, pastries, cannoli, and much more…

Italian market

For more events, check out our What’s On section by clicking here.

Last minute Christmas shopping

No need to panic if you’ve still got Christmas presents to buy, with five shopping days left you’ve still got time and many shops are opening late in the run up to the big day.

Burleigh tree decoration

Countdown to Christmas!

There are lots of events happening this weekend, 3rd and 4th Dec, to get you in the festive spirit. Go to Burleigh factory shop in Stoke-on-Trent and enjoy the Christmas Craft Fair in the upstairs treasure trove and there will be skills from the factory on show from 12noon to 4pm each day. With 50% off some selected lines so you can get some great bargains.

Emma Bridgewater will be turning on their Christmas tree lights on Saturday 3rd and there will be lots of activities for all the family. You can decorate your own dove candle for only £5 whilst the children create Christmas decorations from £2.50 and make Christmas cards from £1.50 per child.

Emma Bridgewater
Emma Bridgewater
See Santa Claus arrive by canal boat at Etruria Industrial Museum on Saturday and visit him in his grotto over the weekend.
Wedgwood have 25% off everything in the main shop until 4th December and 50% off all Christmas decorations.

Wedgwood offer on Christmas decorations
Wedgwood decorations

Christmas Fun!

Trentham Shopping Village

Christmas fun


Have a look at some of the fantastic events happening in Stoke-on-Trent leading up to Christmas.  From late night shopping at Emma Bridgewater to Christmas markets at the Trentham Estate. Shugborough has some wonderful Christmas candlelit evenings planned and the Wedgwood Museum will have a Christmas Fairyland. Why not have a Tudor Christmas at Ford Green Hall with ideas on how to make decorations like they used to in the 17th century and then see Santa Claus arrive at Etruria Industrial Museum on a canal boat. Sleeping Beauty will be playing at the Mitchell Arts Centre and the Regent Theatre is showing Aladdin with TV star Joe Swash.

See for more ideas on things to do.