Ford Green Hall
Ford Green Hall is a seventeenth century house complete with period garden. It was home to the Ford family for almost two centuries. The hall is designated a museum with an outstanding collection. The rooms are richly furnished with original and reproduction textiles, ceramics and furniture. Children can try on costumes and try their hand at using a drop spindle.
The garden was planted in 1996 to recapture the 17th century style of gardening. The herb beds illustrate the importance of gardens in the 1600s by showing us how plants were used for magical, medicinal, domestic, culinary, cosmetic and textile purposes.
Ford Green Hall has two knot gardens. These are low hedges planted in a decorative shape that mirror a design used in the timbers of the Hall. These knot shapes were popular in the 17th century as gardening for pleasure was a new concept. Also, planting in such strict designs showed man's dominance over nature. The best time to see the garden is in the spring and early summer while the plants are in bloom.
Opening times: Sunday - Thursday 1.00pm - 5.00pm
Contact details: Ford Green Hall , Ford Green Road, Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent. ST6 1NG.
Telephone. 01782 233195 | Fax. 01782 233194
Journey time from the house - 8 mins (Route map)
The Chinese Temple - Biddulph Grange Gardens
A rare and exciting survival of a high Victorian garden
25th Mar - 29th Oct; Wed - Sun (incl. Good Friday) & BH Mons; 11.30am - 6pm.
Special Opening 17th May - 21st May; Wed - Sun; 10am - 6pm. Flower Festival "To Gild the Lily"
Winter Opening, 4th Nov - 17th Dec; Sat & Sun; 11am - 3pm or dusk
Contact details: Biddulph Grange Garden,
Telephone: 01782-517999 | Fax: 01782 510624 | Website
Journey time from the house - 15 mins (Route map)
Adult £5.30; Child £2.60; Family £13; Pre-booked Guided Tours £7.50pp; Party rate £4.50 (15+ must book)
Winter opening, Adults £2; Child £1; Family (2A) £5. Free car park 50 metres away.
Little Moreton Hall
Little Moreton Hall is a manor house 4 miles SW of Congleton, Cheshire. It is one of the best known timber framed buildings in England and is in the care of the National Trust .
Little Moreton belonged to Moretons, a family of landowners, for nearly five centuries. It is a highly irregular building which rambles around three sides of a small cobbled courtyard. The exterior walls are made of white daub between dark wooden beams, which are set in a variety of patterns. It has a moat and an unusual Elizabethan knot garden .
The earliest part of the building is the great hall which dates from around 1450. The adjacent kitchen wing was added in about 1480. The east wing of the building was dates from about 1559 to 1570. This part of the house includes the chapel and the withdrawing room. At the junction of the east wing and the great hall there is a striking pair of gabled bay windows, which were signed by the carpenter:"God is Al in Al Thing: This windous whire made by William Moreton in the yeare of Oure Lorde MDLIX. Richard Dale Carpeder made thies windous by the grac of God."
The last major extension was the south wing of c. 1570–80, which includes a gatehouse and a third storey containing a 68 foot long gallery . The rest of the house has only two floors, and the structure has struggled to support the extra weight at this end ever since, resulting in a considerable tilt. It is now propped up with concealed steel beams. A small domestic block was added to the south wing in around 1600, completing the structure.
The fortunes of the Moreton family declined during and after the English Civil War , in which they sided with the royalists. In the Little Moreton Hall was let to tenant farmers, and little or no attempt was made to modernise it. In the 19th century its antiquarian value began to be appreciated and Miss Elizabeth Moreton started to restore it. The building, however, was never again occupied by the Moreton family. In 1912 Elizabeth Moreton bequeathed the house to a cousin, Charles Abraham, Bishop of Derby , who continued the preservation effort until 1938, when it was transferred to the National Trust.
Opening times: Please check the website below.
Little Moreton Hall Congleton, Cheshire CW12 4SD
Telephone: 01260 272018 | Website
Journey time from the house - 26 mins (Route map)
Admission prices: £5.50, child £2.80, family £13. Groups £4.70, Group visits outside normal hours £10.
Waterworld is the UK's largest indoor tropical aqua park, with over 400,000 visitors every year. Crash through the breakers in Typhoon Lagoon, battle through the raging torrents of the Rapids or plummet through the thunder and lightening in the Black Hole . With over 30 major rides and attractions set in a constant 86 degrees; tropical environment, plus outdoor themed water gardens set within a 12 acre site.
Relax at the Waters Edge Café, which has a two-tiered restaurant and viewing gallery offering first class food and drink.
Peak Opening times (Staffordshire School Holidays)
Monday: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Tuesday: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Wednesday: 10.00am to 7.00pm
Thursday: 10.00am to 8.00pm
Friday: 10.00am to 9.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Sunday: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Off Peak Opening Times (Staffordshire School Holidays)
Wednesday: 1.00pm to 7.00pm
Thursday: 1.00pm to 7.00pm
Friday: 1.00pm to 9.00pm
Saturday: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Sunday: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Contact details: Waterworld, Festival Way,
Tel: 0871 716 2611 (Calls cost no more than 10p a minute) | Website
Journey time from house - 14 mins (Route map)
Admission prices: Adults (from) : £8.50, Children: £6.50 - weekends & holidays (term time all at £5)
Throwing pots at Gladstone
The history of the Potteries all wrapped up in one unique museum! Step back in time and explore the last Victorian Pottery factory complete with bottle ovens and original workshops where traditional pottery making skills are demonstrated daily. Visitors can have a go at throwing a pot, painting a piece of pottery or making a bone china flower for a small extra charge. There are also the 1840s Doctors House, the Tile Gallery, or you can discover the history of the toilet in the 'Flushed With Pride' exhibition!
The museum hosts a range of workshops, themed events, Halloween ghost tours and a Victorian Christmas Festival.
The Gladstone Tearoom serves home made snacks, morning coffee, light lunches and afternoon teas.
Opening times: Open every day 10am - 5pm
Contact details: Gladstone Pottery Museum, Uttoxeter Road,
Telephone: 01782 319 232 | Fax:01782 598 640
Journey time from house - 20mins (Route map)
Admission prices: Adults: £5.95, Children: £4.50 - 4 - 16 years inclusive (All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.), Concessions: £4.95, Family Ticket: £18.00 - two adults plus two children
Throwing pots at Wedgwood
The Wedgwood Visitor Centre is a fascinating and revealing insight into a pottery renowned throughout the world. Josiah Wedgwood, ‘The Father of English Potters', was born into a family already noted in the industry. Any one of his many talents could have brought him fame – he was an outstanding scientist, artist and engineer. – but his shrewd commercial instinct led him to found his own pottery company in 1759.
A great social and environmental reformer, he built for his potters a complete village. Etruria. With good housing and a modern factory. He also actively supported the building of the Trent and Mersey Canal to transport his fragile and valuable cargoes faster, more smoothly and at less expense. He created fresh, original designs, many still produced today, and revolutionised the way in which they were made.
At The Wedgwood Visitor Centre we have taken much time and great care to make this tour like no other. The company's rich heritage is beautifully illustrated with film, rare exhibits and interactive displays. The tour follows the entire production process from raw clay to throwing, forming and casting, glazing, firing and decorating. It reveals a continuing tradition of superb craftsmanship and shows how the vision and brilliance of one man in the 18th century lives on, hand in hand with the finest technology of today.
For everyone – from the connoisseur to the casual visitor, for adults and children – The Wedgwood Visitor Centre is a delightful and worthy celebration of a great potter and his legacy.
At the Centre, in addition to world-class restaurants and shopping for exquisite ceramic and glass tableware and gifts, we can offer everyone – from the connoisseur to the casual visitor, for adults and children, whether of UK or international origin, an enthralling experience.
Our factory tours are, we believe, among the best in the world and they offer an unparalleled opportunity to see the world famous Wedgwood production facility at close quarters and in its full detail. And, having seen how we make our products, you can have a go at making them yourself on either the potter's wheel or with paint and brush. What you make we can finish and post to your home as a unique souvenir of your visit.
Finally, our exhibitions (available in 5 languages) and film theatre tell the history of our company through film, audio guides and Museum pieces. This history, though, is much more than just the story of a pottery company and the man who founded it. Rather, it forms a unique part of the history of the Industrial Revolution and of the Enlightenment in Britain in all its myriad aspects.
Opening times: The Wedgwood Visitor Centre is open every day except 24/12/2006 to 01/01/2007 inclusive. Weekdays 9am to 5pm. Weeeknd 10am to 5 pm
Factory tour is available Monday - Thursday 9.30 - 3.30, Friday 9.30 - 12.00, all year, and also at weekends between 1st April and 20th October 2006 (10.30 - 3.30). All other elements of the visit are available 7 days a week throughout the year. Last Admission 3pm. Prices are valid until 31st March 2007.
The Wedgwood Visitor Centre,
Telephone: 01782 282986 | Fax: 01782 223063 | Website
Journey time from house - 24 mins (Route map)
Admission prices (including tour): Adult £8, Concessions £6, Family £27. A 20% discount is available if you book online.
Rudyard Lake - The hidden gem of the Staffordshire Moorlands
Lying in a fold in thickly wooded hillsides, Rudyard Lake is a haven of peace and tranquility less than a mile from the A523 that links Leek to Macclesfield.
The two and a half mile long lake was created more than two centuries ago to supply water for the then expanding canal system of the West Midlands.
Today it is a popular day out, offering walking, boating, sailing and
fishing for visitors from a wide area, from the Manchester conurbation in the north to the Potteries in the south.
The story of Rudyard really began in 1797 when a special Act of Parliament authorised the North Staffordshire Railway Company to construct a two and a half mile long reservoir just north of Leek. Its purpose was to feed the ever growing system of canals that were vital arteries of the Industrial Revolution in the Midlands.
Then, in 1829, the North Staffordshire Railway Company laid a track skirting the lake, part of a line linking Manchester with Uttoxeter, and built two stations at each end of the lake. Before long it became a weekend mecca for day trippers, with a constant stream of excursion trains from Manchester and the Potteries disgorging thousands attracted by the beautiful surroundings and the many activities laid on for their pleasure. Awaiting them was a fleet of rowing boats, a funfair, brass band concerts and dozens of tearooms.
Among the numerous courting couples who walked the tranquil banks of the lake in 1863 were a certain John Lockwood Kipling and Alice Macdonald. Their love blossomed, they married, and their first-born was named after the lake. He became one of Britain's greatest writers.
The famous Blondin crossing Rudyard Lake on a hire wire in the 1800's
Rudyard Lake's peak of popularity was towards the end of the 1800s, when in one day as many as 20,000 excursionists would buy cheap train tickets. There were plenty of celebrities to entertain them too. The world's greatest trapeze artist, Blondin, fresh from his feat of crossing Niagara Falls on the high wire, came to Rudyard to repeat his achievement. And Captain Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel, delighted the crowds lining the line with a demonstration of his prowess.
Activities on the lake today include fishing, canoeing and boating. Boats and canoes can be hired for the day* - or you can take one of the boat trips. (*Canoes are £5 per day to hire, rowing boats (for 4 persons) are £5 per hour, Navigated and narrated boat trips on 'The Honey' are £3 for adults and £2 for children. Trips on 'The Honey' are mainly at weekends.)
The visitor centre is located in a converted boathouse at the damhead. It opened in 2001 and provides visitors with an overview of Rudyard Lake, its history, wildlife and flora and fauna using both interpretive panels and computers. It is open throughout the summer months and at weekends from October to March. There is no entry charge.
Many people visit Rudyard Lake to see its abundant wildlife and birds, many of which use Rudyard as a feeding ground during their long migratory journey. The northern mudflats exposed during the water draw down over the summer months provide rich pickings for many species.
The Staffordshire Way runs along the western side of the lake and forms part of an easy walk around the lake of about five miles. It is also possible to cycle most of the way around the lake except for a small section where signs will advise you to dismount and push your cycle.
Rudyard Lake also has its own steam train, the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway, which starts from the car park located about 500 metres south of the damhead. The railway runs most weekends and weekdays during the summer months. For further information please see the website.
Rudyard Lake is located 2 miles North of the town of Leek near the Staffordshire - Cheshire border.
Rudyard Lake Ranger: Tel / fax - 01538 306280 | Mob - 07768 961710 | Website
Journey time from house - 11 minutes (Route map)
Churnet Valley Steam Railway
Cheddleton station, home of the Churnet Valley Railway is situated 3 miles South of the textile market town of Leek in the Churnet Valley. The whole site is seen as a "living museum" preserving part of Britain's heritage, with Cheddleton being restored to represent a typical country station of the "Owd Knotty". The museum in the station contains authentic relics and items of interest from the original North Staffordshire Railway. In Cheddleton yard can be found the engine shed and coach restoration shed, where you can watch restoration in progress. Consall features working signalling of the passing loop and rare waiting shelter overhanging the canal. Of course, the highlight of any visit is the sight and smell of a steam locomotive, which you can now travel behind over 5 ¼ miles of the CVR line on most weekends and weekdays during summer.
The Churnet valley is renowned for it's natural beauty, being honeycombed with pleasant walkways where visitors can readily sample the superb scenery and places of interest. Within a short radius of all the station sites is the picturesque river Churnet and Caldon Canal. For example, a dual water wheel operated Flint Mill and the historic church of St. Edward the Confessor are both situated in the nearby village of Cheddleton.
The CVR is open Saturdays and Sundays from March to October. A DMU serice now operates on Saturdays. Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends are steam hauled during the summer months and Tuesday and Thursdays are diesel services. Outside these times, footplate experiences, school parties, "Moorlander Limited" Wine & Dine evenings and charter services can be found running. The station is open most days from 10:30am to 6:00pm. 2011 timetable
For more details, contact Cheddleton Station on 01538 750755 or visit the website.
Journey time from our house - 15 minutes (Route map)
Take a canal boat trip on the Staffordshire canals
Daydream Canal Trips offers friendly relaxed canal trips in the beautiful Staffordshire countryside, starting below the Star Lock and cruising to Sandon and back, the trip generally takes about 3.5hrs.
Day and Evening Trips Available. Daydream operate either scheduled trips or you can choose to charter the entire boat for that special occasion. Trips can include brunch, lunch or cream tea.
2011 Schedule (PDF - opens in new window)
Journey time from house - 28 minutes (Route map)
to be added
Trentham Hall and Gardens, formerly the home of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland, is currently undergoing a £100 million regeneration project aimed at creating a unique visitor destination of national significance. The 750-acre site, formerly known as Trentham Gardens, is owned by St Modwen Properties PLC and Willi Reitz, the German leisure entrepreneur, and operated by Trentham Leisure Limited.
Our simple aim is to present a myriad of activities and experiences for everyone to enjoy: outdoor leisure on land or water, the enjoyment of good food and a stylish shopping experience. And and its centre, we are restoring Britain's most spectacular Italian Garden.
The massive Trentham Garden Centre is now open as is Phase 1 of our speciality shopping experience ‘The Village'. Also open is the Monkey Forest and Ariel Extreme.
The Italian Gardens - Trentham
Welcome to the most beautiful Italian Garden in the UK.
As the new planting scheme designed by Tom Stuart-Smith reaches completion, it's time for you to see for yourself this idyllic garden. The statue of Perseus stands at the foot of the Lower Flower Garden framed by the mile long lake.
The panoramic views are breathtaking. Enjoy the tranquil calming atmosphere and let your mind relax. Walk amongst newly planted flowerbeds to the edges of the restored fountains. The Italian Garden is an innovative way to experience 21st Century garden design.
There's also an Activity Area to keep kids amused, as well as the new ‘Barefoot Walking' experience
Our Garden Tea Room is situated next to the Italian Garden and offers a variety of delicious hot and cold food.
Journey time from house - 19 minutes (Route map)
Ariel Extreme - Trentham
Welcome to Trentham Active and Aerial Extreme.
Swing, climb and slide your way from tree to tree up to 40ft above the forest floor.
Our Adventure Ropes Course includes:
During the summer open everyday from 9am until 4pm (outside of these times check the website (below)
Trentham Estate, Stone Road, Trentham, Staffordshire, ST4 8AX
Head office: Aerial Extreme Ltd, Camp Hill, Kirklington, Bedale, North Yorkshire, DL8 2LS
Tel: 0870 850 2808 | Fax: 01845 567065 | E-mail | website
Journey time from house - 19 minutes (Route map)
We operate a regular booking & safety briefing system and during peak times such as weekends and school holidays, these slots can fill very quickly. Therefore to avoid disappointment we would recommend that you prebook by either going to our online booking system or call our booking line on 0870 850 2808 specifying 'Trenham Gardens'.
Price per participant: Extremist course (min height 1.4m) Price: Adult: £17 | Child £12
Barbary macaques -
at the Monkey Forest, Trentham
Experience this unique opportunity to visit 'Monkey Forest' an exciting walk amongst 140 free roaming Barbary macaques.
You will be able to discover this amazing species as they exhibit their natural behaviour with no bars or cages to hinder your view.
At Monkey Forest the Barbary Macaques roam freely in a 60-acre forest. As you enter the park you will feel privileged to observe the monkeys living in their fascinating society as they would in the wild .
Trentham Estate woodland is situated on a beautiful site, but it is the relaxed atmosphere of the monkeys that strike the visitors straight away. That's how it should be!
Here, the animals reign supreme! They have large home ranges and will play, pose for pictures, interact with each other, and climb trees right in front of your eyes … and cameras!
A unique experience in a unique setting!
Monkey forest is 60 acres of beautiful woodland and meadows where 140 monkeys live in total freedom. You are plunged into the Barbary Macaques fascinating world as you hear rustling in the trees, chattering in a strange language of sounds and mimicry, and chasing of one another through the branches. To your right there is a male carrying a baby on his back, on your left are two females grooming each other, and in the trees are young monkeys doing acrobatics between the branches. Walking along the path you are transported into a different world of animal magic!
A 3/4 of a mile forest path in a protected area, cleared and laid out for visitors, takes you through the splendid forest of Trentham Estate woodlands where the monkeys live. The monkeys roam freely, and you might even see one of them walk across the path in front of you on its way to explore another part of its home range!
Whether you are a fan of information boards, video documentaries, or prefer pure observation, you will find the level of information you seek in the park. Guides are situated along the path to explain the monkey's behaviour you are seeing before you; Why is this baby being carried by a male? What are they picking up from the ground? Where do the monkeys spend the winter? The guides have all the answers so please ask.
Open every day from the 1st April from 10am to 5pm last entrance at 4pm
On the 31st October open 10am to 4pm last entrance at 3pm
Open weekends in November until the 14th November 10am to 4pm last entrance 3pm
Please see the opening times calendar on the website for the varying seasonal closing times. The last entry is one hour before the park closes.
Journey time from house - 19 minutes (Route map)
Check website for details
Looking from the Roaches, the reservoir at Tittesworth is shown with Leek in the distance.
Leek is a town of great character and is our nearest town. It is the principal town of the Staffordshire Moorlands and the most important centre on the south western edge of the Peak District. It stands on a hill in a large bend in the River Churnet on the edge of the Peak District, surrounded by splendid countryside and is locally known as 'The Queen of the Moorlands'. It has ancient markets, Victorian mills, historic churches and distinctive shops. The town has remained relatively unspoilt though the ages, retaining much of its heritage.
The town was mentioned in the Domesday Book as 'Lec', but there was certainly a settlement here well before that because the churchyard contains two crosses - one is in Mercian style but is damaged and can be dated to the 10th century, while the other is a magnificent 11th century Norse style cross. The Normans gave this area to the Earls of Chester and Ranulf the 6th earl founded Dieu la Cres abbey here in 1210. Until its dissolution in 1537 the abbey was the major economic and cultural centre of the area. The ruins lie across the Churnet 2km north of the town centre but there is little to see of what must once have been a fine building.
Little happened in Leek for the next few hundred years, though Bonny Prince Charlie passed through in 1745, and Thomas Brindley (the builder of the Bridgewater Canal) built a water mill here in 1750 - this has been restored to working order and is now a fine museum.
The market square in Leek
In the late 18th and 19th centuries the town changed from a sleepy market town to a centre of silk weaving and several large mills were constructed, one of which can be seen looming above the road to Macclesfield. Leek boomed and the population multiplied. However, this all went into reverse in the 20th century and nothing now remains of the silk industry in Leek.
In recent years sensitive environmental improvements have been made, including the restoration of old courtyard areas off the main streets and the addition of distinctive street furniture which build on the town's character. The open market, held every Wednesday in the Market Place which is still covered with cobbles, was first established by Royal Charter in 1208. Adjacent is the Butter Market (which Leek is famous for) which today houses stalls selling a variety of goods and produce. If you like antiques then you will find no better place as Leek has a glut of marvellous antique shops and emporiums. There is an interesting ‘flea' market in the market place every Saturday.
Journey time from the house - 13 minutes (Route map)
Well dressing at Endon
Endon is our local village and is where our children go to school. It is very picturesque with a stream that runs through the centre of the old village and across the road (a ford). Endon is famous for its well dressing which takes place on the last weekend in May (a traditional holiday weekend in the UK). The local village well is dressed with beautiful pictures made from flower petals, moss and leaves pressed into clay. The process takes quite a number of days and the adults are helped by children from the local schools. Over the years all our children have helped to dress the well.
St Luke's Church Endon
The well dressing weekend is a big event for the village with a fun fair, the crowning of the village queen (each year a young girl is chosen from the village and crowned queen) and traditional maypole dancing (my daughter was a maypole dancer for several years (the boys declined!!)). Maypole dancing is a very traditional form of English dancing which goes back centuries. The dancers dance around the maypole holding ribbons that are attached to the top of the pole. Each dance creates intricate patterns with the ribbons as the dancers weave in and out.
The local church at Endon is a very beautiful. It is an anglican church (Church of England) and it is where we attend and where all our children were baptised.
Set in the beautiful Staffordshire moorland countryside, Endon Riding School offers superb facilities for both the rider and non- rider.
Opening times: Please ring the stables to book
Contact details: Endon Riding School, Stanley Moss Lane, Stockton Brook, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST9 9LR
Telephone: 01782 502114 | Fax: 01782 504375 | website
Journey time from the house - 4 mins by car (1.5 miles) (Route map)
Endon village also has a tennis club - if you are interested in playing tennis let us know and we will get details for you.
Stoke Ski Centre
The Stoke Ski Centre offers many facilities for different abilities of skiers, snowboarders and toboggans. With different junior slopes, and a main ski slope, the Stoke Ski Centre can cater for all people's needs. The ski school offers lessons to all skiers, from the extreme novice to the most experienced wanting to increase their stunts. On the main slope is a ramp that allows experienced skiers to try out new tricks. The unique feature of this ski centre is its “toboggan” rollercoaster installed: the alpine rollercoaster lifts you up to 6 metres off the floor and hurtles you around steep bends and fast descending track.
Festival Way, Festival Park, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire ST1 5PU - England, UK
Phone: +44 (0)1782 204159 | Fax: +44 (0)1782 204157 | Website
Journey time from house - 14 minutes (Route map)
Kidsgrove Dry Ski Slope
The slope is set on the site of one of the first artificial ski centres in Great Britain, in the beautiful mature parkland of Bathpool Park.
Established over 30 years ago the North Staffs Ski Club operates the slope on a non profit making basis. All work is done by volunteers and all the revenue is ploughed back into the club's slope and equipment, this makes the slope one of the cheapest in the country.
Opening times: Sunday: 9.30am - 12:00 midday - Junior Club,
Sunday : 12:00 - 5.00pm - Recreational skiing & Lessons,
Monday - Thursday: 7.00pm - 9.00pm - Recreational skiing & Lessons, Saturday: 2pm - 5pm - Recreational skiing only
Contact details: Kidsgrove Dry Ski Slopes, Bathpool Park, Kidsgrove, Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire, ST7 4EF
Telephone: 01782 784908 | Website
Journey time from the house - 24 minutes (Route map)
Admission: Adults - £35 for 3 x 1.5 hour lessons, Juniors - £25 for 4 x 1 hour lessons or 3 x 1.5 hour lessons, (depending on age), Students - £25 for 3 x 1.5 hour lessons, One off lesson - Adult £15 - Junior / Students* £10. NB: Recreational Skiing is for members only
Bridgemere Garden World, set in lovely Cheshire countryside, is Europe's largest garden centre and grows more plants in more varieties than anyone in Britain. Bridgemere is well known for offering rare and unusual plants and for the gardening advice and information provided free of charge from its on site experts. A long running UK TV show on gardening was based at / filmed from Bridgemere Garden World. It attracts over 1.5 million visitors every year from all parts of the UK.
As well as having a huge range of plants for sale Bridgemere has a beautiful six acre garden that you can stroll around - either to get ideas for your own garden or to simply enjoy the setting. As well as the garden and plants (both outdoor and a huge indoor plant centre) there is a craft and hobby shop, gift shop, children's shop, clothes shop, book shop, food market, garden & leisure furniture, barbecues and unbelievable christmas displays. Bridgemere's houseplant hall has a wonderful display of orchids.
Opening times: 9 am to 6 pm daily
Contact details: Bridgemere Garden World,Bridgemere, Nr Natwich, Cheshire, CW5 7QB
Telephone: 01270 521100 | Website
Journey time from the house - 33 minutes (Route map)
Admission: Free of charge
Dorothy Clive Gardens
The Dorothy Clive Garden is intimate and informal. It embraces a variety of landscape features, including a superb woodland garden, an alpine scree, gravel garden and many fine mixed borders.
Visitors will discover the great variety of form and colour and the fine views of the surrounding hilly countryside. The plant enthusiast will find many unusual species.
Visitors can rest on the garden seats provided throughout the grounds and enjoy the tearoom's home-baking on the terrace lawn, while taking pleasure from the lovely views of the Staffordshire countryside.
As an aside Wollerton Old Hall Gardens, a stunning four acre English garden planted around a 16th Century house (house not open) is only 20 minutes from The Dorothy Clive Gardens. If you love English Gardens why not make a day of it and visit both?
Daily from 31st March 2007 to 28th October 2007, 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
The Dorothy Clive Garden, Willoughbridge, Market Drayton, Shropshire TF9 4EU
Telephone: 01630 647237 | Fax 01630 647902 | Website
Journey time from house - 27 minutes (Route map)
Adults £4.50. State Retired Pensioners £3.80. Children up to 11 years free, children aged 11 - 16 £1.00.
Membership cards to enable entry during the normal opening hours - Family (2 adults and 2 children) £32.00, State Retired Pensioners £15.00, Single £18.00.
Blackbrook Zoological Park
Set amid the Staffordshire Moorlands, Blackbrook Zoological Park has developed into a large and varied collection of some of the most rare and endangered species to be found in the world.
Mrs Diana Holloway and her son Mark Rubery took over Blackbrook in 1991 and have developed it at an amazing rate. Every visitor that comes to Blackbrook is surprised at the wide variety of birds, animals, reptiles and fish on view.
Many unusual species of birds are now at home here, including the largest collection of wildfowl to be seen in the British Isles, the swans and geese are of particular interest and do well in the moorland climate. Around the grounds are various aviaries housing a rapidly growing collection of Pheasants and Softbills.
Also to be seen at Blackbrook are the largest collection of Cranes and Storks in the British Isles along with Ibis, Owls, Kookaburras and many others and some species are part of International Breeding Programmes. An exciting new exhibit at Blackbrook in 2000, was the Vulture enclosure which houses three of the worlds species of Vulture including the massive Ruppells Vulture and the smaller North American Turkey Vulture, and Blackbrook are delighted to have breeding success with the latter. Other new arrivals are Cassowaries and Ostriches, also a fantastic collection of Sea Ducks has been added. On entering Blackbrook you are greeted with the glorious sight of our group of Greater Flamingos wading on their lake. These all provide some amazing sights and sounds.
There is a bird rearing area, where the various antics of chicks and ducklings can be watched during the spring and early summer. A variety of domestic Waterfowl are on view, many of them prize winners at major shows during the winter months. The Waterfowl range from the massive African Geese to Indian Runner Ducks and Miniature Call Ducks.
Blackbrook now has a rapidly growing number of mammals settles in, which include porcupines, Raccoons, Ring Tailed Lemurs, Meerkats to Giant Marmots, Sitatungas, Capybaras and Guanacos. There are miniature Donkeys, South American Alpacas, miniature Zebu Cattle at home in the children's farm. The Pets Corner at Blackbrook houses Rabbits, Chipmunks, and many, many more. A popular feature also, is our Aquarium with it's ferocious Piranhas, and Electric Eels.
Also new in 2000 was a major new exhibit - "Water, Webs and Wings", this interesting and tropical indoor exhibit houses birds, fish, reptiles and insects all under one roof. The world's largest pigeon, the Blue Crowned Pigeon from Papa New Guinea can be seen, as can various species of small Sharks, Rays and Lobsters in the centre pool with cascading waterfalls. As well as 18ft long Pythons, the massive Goliath Bird eating Spider, Salamanders and lots more.
Opening times: daily 10.30am - 5.30pm. Closed December 25th, 26th, 31st, January 1st
Telephone: 01538 308293 or 01565 873282 Eve: 01538 387159 | Website
Journey time from house - 26 minutes (Route map from Leek)
Admission prices: Adults £7.50 Senior Citizens £5.95 Children £5.00 Families £18.75
The New Victoria Theatre - Theatre 'In the Round'
The Victoria Theatre Company was the first professional company in Britain to perform permanently in the round - that is, with the audience on all sides of the acting area. Today, the New Vic is known both for its professional productions and for its award-winning work in the community.
The New Vic is the regional producing theatre for Staffordshire. This means that plays are made here, with around ten major productions each year designed, directed, built, promoted and presented in our special theatre-in-the-round.
Each New Vic production is the end result of months of work by our creative, craft and technical teams. Artistic Director, Gwenda Hughes, works on a number of productions each year supported by in-house set, costume, lighting and sound designers, a costume department and a workshop which builds settings and furniture.
For individual productions, our in-house teams are supplemented by freelance directors, designers and lighting designers, by actors, musicians, voice-coaches, choreographers, fight-directors and the dozens of others needed to bring work to the stage. One of the New Vic's roles in British theatre is to provide an opportunity for theatre professionals to work in theatre-in-the-round. They also add to the New Vic's creative energies, helping us maintain the quality and artistic vigour of our work.
For programme of productions, ticket prices and on-line booking, see website (below)
New Vic Theatre, Etruria Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 0JG
Box Office : 01782 717962 | Website
Journey time from house - 14 mins (Route Map)
Regent Theatre - Hanley
Originally opened in 1929 as a super cinema, its first presentation was a silent film, The Last Command. The foyer was luxuriously decorated in the fashionable Art Deco style, with similar splendour in the auditorium and its reputation grew for presenting Sunday concerts.
In 1950 there was a name change to the Gaumont and the venue became part of the increasing touring pop concert circuit in the 60s and was extensively used for amateur operatic and musical comedy productions. It 1974 it was given a triple screen and renamed the Odeon Film Centre two years later. In 1989, following the opening of a six screen Odeon at the Festival Park, it closed.
Following a three year, £23 million development of the city centre, The Regent was reopened on 22 September 1999 after being fully restored to its previously elegant Art Deco style and has already been visited by a host of distinguished guests including Sir Derek Jacobi. Her Majesty the Queen officially opened The Regent Theatre in October 1999.
As a number one touring venue, The Regent is capable of taking the largest touring productions and has already played host to the very best opera, dance, drama and musicals, direct from Broadway and the West End.
Most notably Glyndebourne Touring Opera has relocated its northern operation from Manchester to the Regent, attracted by the outstanding backstage and front of house facilities that the venue offers. Other highlights have included Royal National Theatre's An Inspector Calls , Royal National Theatre's Noises Off , Adventures in Motion Pictures' Swan Lake and the West End smash hit Saturday Night Fever .
The Regent Theatre, Piccadilly, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 1AP
Tel: Box Office - 0870 060 6649 (bkg fee) | Groups: 0870 060 6619 | website
Distance from house 14 minutes - (Route map)
For ticket prices and booking please call the booking office (tel: no above)
Six screen cinema complex at Festival Park in Stoke-on-Trent.
For film programme visit the Odeon website or call the Odeon filmline on: 0871 22 44 007.
Odeon Stoke, Etruria Road, Etruria, Stoke On Trent, Staffs. ST1 5SN
Journey time from house - 11 minutes (Route map)
The state-of-the-art, eight-screen Warner Village Cinema is located off the high street in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The cinema was built in 1999 - 2000.
For a full film programme listing visit the britinfo cinema listings website.
Warner Village, The Square, Market Arcade, High Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 1PT
Information: 0871 224 0240 | Booking: 0870240 6020 | Fax: 01782 662531
Journey time from house - 16 minutes (Route map)
Festival Park Marina
This was the site of the 1986 National Garden Festival which has since been redeveloped to provide a huge leisure area for the city. There is a large Marina with numerous gaily painted canal boats and barges moored up and restaurants where you can eat / drink while watching the boats.
Journey time from house - 12 minutes (Route map)
Large indoor track with karting events, endurance racing, Grand Prix, Super Prix and Mini Motor Racing.
Seven days a week. Advisable to telephone before hand to book.
Fast Lane Karting, 151 King Street, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 3ER
Telephone 01782 250450
Journey time from house - 17 minutes (Route map)
£10 for 12 laps (Mon - Fri 10am-6pm only), £15 for 25 laps, £20 for 50 laps and £25 for 70 laps.