Stoke-on-Trent, also known as The Potteries because of its long association with the ceramics industry, is made up of six towns: Hanley (the city centre), Burslem, Longton, Stoke, Fenton and Tunstall. The six towns were amalgamated into the county borough of Stoke-on-Trent in 1910.
Spode, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton all have their roots in Stoke-on-Trent. Although the ceramics industry has seen a sharp decline in the area in recent years, the city`s links to the great names of the ceramics industry and its strong heritage of skilled manufacturing processes, is still reflected today in much of the city`s architecture. Bottle kilns can still be seen dotted round the various towns and although manufacturing is very much reduced, the tradition is continued with names such as Portmeirion, Moorcroft, Emma Bridgewater and Aynsley still very much in evidence.
Complete with tearooms and a gift shop selling exclusive handmade pottery, the Gladstone Pottery Museum is a complete pottery
factory, dating back to Victorian times. Visit the cobbled yard and see the bottle kilns, original workshops with traditional skills along with the 'Flushed with Pride' toilet exhibition.
Not a museum, but a place worth visiting for anyone interested in the ceramics industry, is the Emma Bridgewater factory. You can take a factory tour and paint a pot in the decorating studio, then pop into the cafe for well earned refreshment.
The Staffordshire Hoard
On display in a permanent exhibition at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery is the Staffordshire Hoard, containing 80 pieces of Anglo-Saxon treasure that makes up part of the largest find ever made.
If museums and history are not your thing, or you are looking for a more active way to spend your time in Stoke-on-Trent, you could visit the 800 acre Trentham Estate which is complete with a monkey Forest containing 140 free-ranging Barbary Macaques within 60 acres of forest.
Water fun is available at Waterworld where you will find exciting rides and waterslides that give splashy fun for all the family. There is a licensed cafe bar where you can have lunch, plus retail shops and an amusement arcade. Also close to Stoke-on-Trent is the famous Alton Towers Resort theme park.
Stoke-on-Trent`s main shopping centre is situated in Hanley, where you will find The Potteries Shopping Centre featuring over 80 shops and department stores that offer the latest in home furnishings, fashion and food. It has its own multistorey car park and as well as all the big-name shops, it is here you will find the post office, wedding services within Debenhams store, a Bureau de Change within WH Smith and many more services.
Public transport links around the city are good and run frequently, but for true freedom to explore where and as you will,
you cannot beat your own transport. Many visitors to the city choose to arrive by train and collect a hire car from
at the railway station. Providing the best of both worlds, taking public transport to arrive at the city then hiring a car to explore gives total freedom to get around the six towns and venture beyond.