When writing my travel recommendations, I also wanted to shine some light on my local area of Staffordshire Moorlands, Stoke-on-Trent and the beautiful Peak District which can often be overlooked. Made up of six towns, Stoke-on-Trent is known for its production of ceramics, and particularly its quality and beauty of fine bone china and earthenware pottery.
My favourite spot without a doubt is Middleport Pottery, located in the town of Burslem. With its picturesque buildings set next to the canal with passing barges, it really is a beautiful spot and one I always take our friends to.Walking through the entrance leads you into a beautiful shop selling Burleigh pottery where you can also buy tickets for the factory tour. You are able to visit the shops and café without the factory tour ticket, though it is something I recommend doing to learn more about the history of Burleigh pottery, and to visit inside one of the bottle kilns.
Walking through the festoon lit passageway, I recommend popping into see Jon French where you can throw a pot, or just simply watch the master potter at work. On our last visit to Middleport we chatted to Jon for ages about all things Japan as he has travelled back and forth for years there and he is a mine of information!
There are constantly exhibitions on in the Clay College next to the café with beautiful pottery available to buy, and be sure to check out the trees next to it as there are lovely tea cups hanging off them, and a bird bath made of teapots and saucers!The café is just beautiful, with murals on the wall of Burleigh designs and teapot lights – it's a feast for the eyes! I recommend the oatcakes (of course!).
We have also gone to a jazz night which is usually on a Tuesday and is only £3.00 entry and is a night of musicians playing jazz classics and the odd Bluegrass. We had a glass of wine and sat back and listened to the music, the perfect date night!We are hoping to attend some workshops there so watch this space! Continuing with the pottery vibe, Gladstone Pottery in Longton is a wonderful museum and very picturesque. Here you can embark on a tour around the factory, whilst living in the area my entire life, there was so much I didn’t know about the local area’s history in terms of 'The Potteries'.
Trentham Gardens is another must visit if in the area. As major plant fiends, we often visit the garden centre which has an abundance of indoor and outdoor plants of pretty much every specie you could want! There is a shopping village with beautiful stores set inside log cabins, and then the Trentham Estate which is beautiful to walk round and a nice oasis in the city! The estate has an entrance fee but the shopping area is free to roam.
And speaking of plants, we discovered recently a beautiful little plant nursery in Brown Edge called Proctor’s Nursery and is an absolute hidden gem. With very reasonably priced plants within a beautiful setting, it’s my little happy place that I just keep returning to!I wanted to include this photograph of a piece of street art I spotted in the town of Hanley, I hope more street art will pop up within the cultural quarter of Stoke in the future!