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Reviewed on 19 Aug 2019
Stoke-on-Trent is a city in Staffordshire which lies around halfway between Manchester and Birmingham. It adjoins Newcastle-under-Lyme to form what is effectively one big city.
Stoke is around 45 minutes' drive from Birmingham and Manchester, and lies just off the M6 on the A500. You can also get there on the A34. To find the city centre, follow signs for Hanley. Regular rail services run to Manchester, Birmingham, London and Stoke, and connect Stoke-on-Trent to the United Kingdom's wider rail network. Every year 10,000 or so visitors arrive in Stoke by narrowboat using the Caldon and Trent and Mersey Canals. The city is also on National Cycle Route 5.
Stoke-on-Trent is well-known for its pottery industry, which has given rise to the nickname 'The Potteries' for the local area. Major manufacturers such as Royal Doulton, Wedgwood and Spode still have factories in the city.
Gladstone Pottery Museum is one of the most popular attractions in the city, as are Trentham Gardens: a large public park with a children's adventure playground and petting zoo. The City Museum and Art Gallery houses a world class collection of ceramics and, in memory of Reginald Mitchell (its designer and a Stoke native), is also home to a genuine Spitfire aeroplane.
Festival park is full of family-friendly things to do, such as Waterworld, a cinema, a ten pin bowling alley, a ski slope and a toboggan run. It also has its own on-site hotel.
There's a good choice of hotels and guesthouses within Stoke itself and the adjoining area. Options range from two star to four star hotels. Within Festival Park lies the Stoke-on-Trent Moat House, which was originally part of Josiah Wedgwood's mansion. The George Hotel, Burslem is another standout establishment that has built a fantastic reputation over the years. The most convenient hotel is probably the North Stafford, which is directly opposite the train station in central Stoke-on-Trent.
Stoke on Trent is packed full of fun activities, cultural delights and pubs, bars and restaurants, and there really is something for everyone. It’s also handily placed to explore Birmingham and Manchester, and for both Drayton Manor Theme Park and Alton Towers theme parks.