With a Premiership football team, premier pottery and ceramics and, of course, the famous Staffordshire oatcakes, there is much to like in Stoke-on-Trent...
Stoke-on-Trent was once a powerhouse of British industry and while much of the industrial heartland has now been converted to more modern usage, there is a clear heritage in the area which is much loved by Brits and foreign visitors alike.
The big draw is the potteries, factories and factory shops that can be visited and there is also a Potteries Museum. Following the Ceramics Trail, car hire is the easiest way to make your way around these highlights and will allow you to load up on purchases of china dinner sets, porcelain artwork and even everyday table wares. Household and international names such as Spode, Royal Doulton, Wedgewood, Aynsley, Royal Stafford and the more modern Emma Bridgewater can all be visited.
In contrast, why not visit the Staffordshire Hoard? This is a collection of 3,500 gold and silver items found in a local field by a metal detector in 2009 and dating back to Anglo Saxon times. It is valued at well in excess of £3million and parts of the collection can be viewed in Stoke-on-Trent. There is also a local art gallery with a good range of local art on show.
Stoke is home to Stoke City, a successful football team, as well as Port Vale, supported by local lad Robbie Williams in the nearby suburb of Burslem. And once football is over, why not try out a local delicacy, the Staffordshire oatcake? Served from small shops and topped with cheese as well as bacon and many less traditional flavours, such as pizza toppings, this is a delicious hearty local snack, particular to the area.
Manchester Airport (MAN) and East Midlands Airport (EMA) are the nearest airports to Stoke, reached via the M56/M6 motorways or the A50 as appropriate, with either around 30-45 minutes from the city. You can pick up your rental car here, or at one of several downtown locations in Stoke. To find the best price on car hire in Stoke-on-Trent, use TravelSupermarket's search tool to the left.
It's well worth organising car hire; Stoke-on-Trent is close to a number of great attractions and having a car will allow you to get out and about with ease...
Centrally located in the UK, Stoke-on-Trent is situated on the M6 and A50 trunk roads, making it perfectly located to visit the North Midlands as well as the Peak District and even locations in Wales and the Greater Manchester area. Local cities such as Lichfield and Stafford with their cathedrals, the racecourse at Uttoxeter and the spa town of Ashbourne are all within a short drive. Derby and Nottingham are accessible within 45 minutes from the city.
One of the biggest draws in the area is Alton Towers. This world-class theme park and hotel complex has some of the best rollercoasters and theme park entertainment in Europe and is set in beautiful gardens with a ruined house as part of its backdrop. Appealing to all ages, it is open for most of the year, with many special events taking place and parking right at the entrance making it easy to visit. If you love parks like this then you could also consider visiting Drayton Manor Theme Park.
The Trentham Estate is not far out of the city and is a great day trip to enjoy its famous garden centre and Monkey Sanctuary. There are great walks in the area as well. Shugborough Estate is a country house set in a river valley and is known for its house, exquisite gardens and collection of porcelain. It's a working estate and you can visit the dairy, kitchens and brew house after an amble through the grounds.
North of Stoke-on-Trent you can visit somewhere far more modern, Jodrell Bank and its Discovery Centre. Here you will see the giant Lovell's Telescope used for listening into deep space. The Planet Pavilion and the Space Pavilion are all great places to learn more about space and the annual summer concerts use the unique location and its gardens to its fullest.