Attractions, activities, things to do and see, places to stay in and around Staffordshire (self-catering holiday cottages).

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The county of Staffordshire attracts visitors to England because of the wide variety of holiday options amongst typically English rolling countryside and moorlands. Explore the stately homes and gardens, visit towns and villages, walk the hundreds of miles of footpaths, enjoy the road cycling, off-road mountain biking or experience the many other outdoor activities available in the area. If you own a Staffordshire holiday accommodation business - self-catering cottages, hotel or bed and breakfast please contact us for details of our advertising (starting from £45 per annum).

Staffordshire is a varied county which shares a common boundary with Derbyshire. The NW of Staffordshire is part of the Peak District National Park. This part of Staffordshire is quite hilly; adjacent to the Peak District you encounter the highland region of the Staffordshire Moorlands, underlain by Gritstone and widely farmed. The walking here is never quite as wild as the Peak District but nevertheless is worthwhile.The south of the county has a more gentle scenery, more what you might call rolling countryside with pleasant leafy lanes linking the villages.

Staffordshire is probably best known for pottery, Stoke-on-Trent being the location for several famous potteries, including Wedgwood. The alternative name for the five towns that make up the conurbation of Stoke reflects this, it is called 'The Potteries'. Several of the potteries are open to the public and if you are at all interested in industrial archeology or ceramics, put a visit to these on your hit list. Stoke is now conveniently joined to the M1 via the A50, which passes to the south of Derby.

Staffordshire is less noted for gold, however, that changed dramatically in 2009 when the 'Staffordshire Hoard' was discovered. Terry Herbert took his metal detector into a field near to his home in Hammerwich, near Lichfield. Almost 4000 pieces of gold and silver alloy possibly dating back to the 6th - 8th centuries were discovered. The hoard was recovered during a 3 week dig. The reason for the existence of the hoard is a mystery. This information has been taken from the Staffordshire Hoard web site which can be found at http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk.

There are several National Trust properties in Staffordshire but probably the most well known is Shugborough Hall, close to Sudbury. This has been heavily developed in order to make it as interesting as possible to as wide a range of people as possible and is now effectively a working museum with costumed characters recreating the past. With a farm park, walled and landscaped gardens, servants quarters, monuments and of course the Mansion itself, it is well worth a visit whilst you are in the area. A kind of historical theme park!

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Alton Towers Theme Park.

Probably the best known of the UK theme Parks is found in Staffs - Alton Towers. When I first visited Alton Towers as a youngster, the most exciting things there were the boats and a huge model train layout. You could wander for ages through the landscaped grounds and woodlands and feel that you were in a foreign country as you came across the pagoda! The model railway and boating lake have gone now and have been replaced by the well known white knuckle rides that revitalised this former stately home and grounds.

Trentham Estate

For a great family day out you should consider The Trentham Estate. When we first knew them, it was simply called 'Trentham Gardens', however the place has really evolved since then (the 1970s!). Walk with a troup of monkeys in the Monkey Forest, get the adrenaline coursing through your veins on the high ropes course of Aerial Extreme or do a bit of shopping at the Trentham shopping village. But there is so much more like the adventure playground, the barefoot walk with it variety of textures, the amazing 'Hide and Speak' maze, ride the electric catamaran to the Lakeside Cafe, a ride on the miniature railway (occasionally steam hauled), take out a rowing boat ... and all for a ridiculously small price. Very refreshing in this day an age to see a reasonably priced place like this. For full information see the Trentham Estate web site at http://www.trentham.co.uk.

Cannock Chase

When I were a lad, the place was pretty much undeveloped, there was a scout camp site where the troop could go for some 'character building' camping in the middle of winter (our troop was based in Whittington, close to Lichfield), however, the area has been declared and area of outstanding natural beauty and has several manufactured mountain bike trails and a high ropes course run by Go Ape. Despite the development, it has lost none of its character and is still a great place to visit.

Izaac Walton wrote the legendary fishing book and insight into 17th century life 'The Compleat Angler' which was based on his experiences on the River Dove. He was born in Stafford in 1593 and you can visit Halfhead Farm near Stafford, which he purchased a couple of years after he wrote the Compleat Angler. There is plenty of fishing in Staffordshire, personally, I used to enjoy fishing the canals but there are reservoirs and purpose made fishing lakes.

Staffordshire was a coal county, having several collieries. One of these, the Foxfield Colliery in the Cheadle Coalfield, needed a railway line to join it to the rail network. After attempts to get one built to Cheadle had been thwarted, the colliery owners built one on the cheap to link it with the main line. That was in the 1890s and the colliery closed in 1965. It survives today as the Foxfield Railway. The organisers run plenty of special interest trains such as the Real Ale Train and you can book to actually drive a train (very popular and can require booking a year in advance!)

Other attractions include the magnificent Lichfield Cathedral, Lichfield Heritage centre, Holy Austin rock houses at Kinver Edge (troglodytic homes abandoned in the 1950s, Longnor Craft Centre, Manifold Valley including Thor's Cave and the visitor centre (traffic free cycling on the Manifold Way cycling trail) and Rugeley B Power Station! So visit Staffordshire and have a great holiday break!

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