By roadStoke-on-Trent lies on the A500 "D-road", just off the M6 motorway, and can be reached by travelling southbound from Manchester or northbound from Birmingham. It is approximately 45 miles from both of these cities. It can also be reached via the A34. Those seeking the city centre by road should look for signs to "Hanley", once they enter Stoke-on-Trent.
Stoke-on-Trent stationThis is a small but busy mainline railway station that has frequent inter-city services to most destinations in the United Kingdom. There are regular services from Manchester Piccadilly Station, which offers a connection to Manchester Airport. There is a direct fast service from Stoke-on-Trent to Birmingham International train station (near Birmingham Airport and the NEC). Stoke-on-Trent can be reached from London Euston railway station, with services running every 20 minutes at peak times. Journey time to and from London is usually about 95 minutes on the fastest services. There is a large taxi rank at the rail station.
Be careful when travelling from Stoke-on-Trent station as the station displays and staff are not very helpful in distinguishing between express and stopping trains to the same destination, and trains frequently run out of timetable order. For example, there are often two trains to London Euston at around the same time, but one is takes much longer than the other. The same applies when the destination is Manchester Piccadilly where there three different operators. Virgin Trains tickets are marked 'VIRGIN ONLY' and CrossCountry tickets are marked 'XC Only'. It also helps to know the train companies. Train spotters do not have this problem!
By busThe majority of bus and coach routes into the city arrive at Hanley Bus Station in the City Centre. National Express and GorillaBus coach services serve Stoke-on-Trent from most cities in the United Kingdom. There are also services that serve Newcastle-under-Lyme which is a fifteen minute bus ride from the City Centre, Hanley. The main bus operator in Stoke-on-Trent is First who provide services throughout North Staffordshire and South Cheshire.
By narrowboatAround 10,000 visitors arrive in the city annually by canal narrowboat, on the Trent and Mersey and Caldon Canal. There are free moorings at Trentham, Barlaston, Etruria/Lock 38, Longport, Westport Lake, and at the Harecastle Tunnel.
By bicycleThe city is on the National Cycle Route No.5, which runs through the city on off-road paths.
Place names in Stoke-on-Trent can be confusing for the newcomer. The six original towns that federated to form the modern-day conurbation city formed in 1925 continue to have their own identity, giving it a polycentric nature. Thus, asking for directions to the "city centre" may be regarded with bemusement from locals. The now commercial centre of Stoke-on-Trent is Hanley and is rapidly becoming its administrative one too - having until now been Stoke-upon-Trent or just Stoke, where the railway station is located. Roadsigns to the "City Centre" point to Hanley.
Stoke-on-Trent has an intricate public transport service and, while buses are usually easy to come by, although many stops are open to rain and wind. Bus information is also relatively limited, so services such as Traveline can be helpful. Hanley Bus Station is the main transport hub for buses in the city and virtually all areas of the city are reachable from here. There is a tourist information offices located here and maps of required routes are published and easy to find. In order to reach the bus station, it is necessary to catch a bus from outside the station; otherwise, it is a long walk.
The city has over 100 miles (160 km) of excellent off-road bicycle paths, on old railway and mineral lines, and canal towpaths. A free map is available from the Tourist Office, who will also be able to advise on cycle hire.
Taxis are also widely available.
phone: +44 1782 237777address: Uttoxeter Road, Longton, ST3 1PQA popular tourist spot for all the family and features numerous activities including a chance to see the famous bottle kilns of the city.
BurleighAlso very popular, one of the last remaining fully working family-run Victorian potteries.
phone: +44 1782 646646address: Stone Road, Trentham, ST4 8JGA large public park area served by bus routes from the city centre (Hanley). There is a small admission charge, but various activities are available there such as a petting zoo and children's adventure playground. Depending on the weather it is also possible to rent boats and jet-skis for fun on the expansive lakes and the natural beauty of the Gardens can be exquisite. "The Monkey Forest" has free-ranging Barbary macaques. Trentham Treetop Adventure offers over 30 exciting treetop obstacles from mid-air jumps, knee wobbling tight ropes.
phone: +44 1782 232323address: Bethesda Street, City Centre, ST1 3DWWell worth a visit, housing a world-class ceramics collection and also a preserved Spitfire, in memory of its designer, Reginald Mitchell, a native of Stoke.
Festival ParkHas a wealth of activities. There is a ski slope and toboggan run, ten-pin bowling, a large cinema, shopping, a canalside pub, Waterworld, a four-star hotel, and a large park created from the site of the National Garden Festival.
Stoke-on-Trent has a thriving gay community and the city centre features several bars and nightclubs aimed at the gay and lesbian individuals. The Three Tuns and the adjoining The Club are two of the most renowned gay venues in the city along with Bar Monique. They can be found east of Hanley Bus Station travelling towards Bucknall. Other bars and clubs include Pink Bar and Lounge, Number 3, Blush Cabaret Bar andthe Waterboard.
There is a large purpose-built skateboarding park at Forest Park.
- Watch football ie soccer at Stoke City FC. They play in the Championship, the second tier of English football. Their stadium, capacity 30,000, is on Stanley Matthews Way ST4 4EG, off A50 and ring-road 5 miles southeast of city centre.
Stage & screenThere are numerous theatres in the city. Also the university campus (near Stoke railway station) has a public arts cinema that shows intelligent films.
The Queens Theatrephone: +44 1782 825800address: Wedgwood St, Burslem, ST6 4JH
The Regentaddress: Piccadilly, ST1 1AP
address: 40 Broad St, ST1 4HG
Victoria Halladdress: Bagnall St, Hanley, ST1 3AD
phone: +44 1782 717962address: Etruria Rd, Basford, ST5 0JG
phone: +44 1782 209784address: Leek Rd, ST4 2TR
Further afieldNear to Stoke are the following.
phone: +44 871 222 3330address: Farley Ln, Alton, ST10 4DBThe UK's largest theme park.
Biddulph Grange GardenThe National Trust
phone: +44 1538 422033address: Hall Gardens Consall, ST9 0AGConsall Hall landscaped gardens are nearby and in a beautiful setting.
Peak District National Park
The main shopping attraction for Stoke-on-Trent is the factory shops of the pottery companies. Only Portmeirion, Wedgwood, Dudson and Emma Bridgewater continue to manufacture pottery in the city, and the factory shops can offer heavy discounts on what will be called "second quality" goods, that often have only very minor defects that are frequently very difficult to tell from the main shop goods. Otherwise, shopping is not something that one would come to Stoke-on-Trent for. The city centre of Hanley offers nothing that cannot be found elsewhere. However it still offers a wide range of stores which would fulfill the needs of any traveller with needs of supplies.
Most pottery factory shops will offer a postal delivery service, so that one does not have to carry fragile or heavy items onto a plane when returning home.
phone: +44 1782 819644address: 21 Market Pl, ST6 3AA
phone: +44 1782 834153address: 14 St John's Square, ST6 3AJ
The Congress Inn in the Longton area is a nice friendly real ale pub with a large choice of good beers, as is The Malt & Hops in Fenton.
phone: +44 1782 596246address: 14 Sutherland Rd, ST3 1HJ
phone: +44 1782 313406address: 295 King St, ST4 3EJ
Monday Night is student night in Hanley and students from Staffordshire and Keele Universities and many other young people from the region converge on the city centre. Many of them are chain pubs, with The Reginald Mitchell (JD Wetherspoon), Walkabout, Chicago Rock Café and Reflex all represented and popular with the locals at weekends. There do remain some traditional pubs in the centre, all of which have been somewhat battered over the years by the chain venues.
phone: +44 1782 281082address: Tontine St, ST1 1NQ
Most people wanting to stay out for the night will finish their evenings in either Liquid (around £5 entry), which features mainstream music or, the slightly further away Underground which specialises in rock/indie music and sometimes has live acts. This costs £2 to enter on a Monday, and four quid on a Saturday. Cans of Red Stripe lager will set you back around three pounds.
phone: +44 1782 577544address: Swan Square, Burslem, ST6 2AEA fine 3-star hotel in an area not known for its accommodation options.
phone: +44 1785 712217address: ST17 0RJA four-star hotel on Festival Park, part of which was originally the mansion of Josiah Wedgwood.
phone: +44 871 221 0191 (reservations)address: Station Rd, ST4 2AEAdequate and conveniently-located for sleeping arrangements.
As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can) and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected. It is free to call the Emergency Services from Payphones.
Birmingham can be reached on the M6 motorway heading southbound and takes roughly an hour to reach. There are hourly train services most of the day that cost about £12 return and in fifty minutes take one right into the heart of Birmingham (at New Street Station) with its Bull Ring Shopping Centre which features around 140 stores and is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe. Birmingham is home to Aston Villa Football Club, one of the oldest in England and one of the founders of the football league. Their stadium, Villa Park, lies on the outskirts of the city in Aston. They share a healthy rivalry with the more centrally located Birmingham City Football Club based at St. Andrews stadium.
Heading northbound on the M6 Motorway one can reach Manchester, the UK's third largest city (behind London and Birmingham) which is excellent for shopping and sightseeing. It also has one of the biggest gay and lesbian communities in the country. As with Birmingham, Manchester is roughly an hour away by car and cheap train fares are available which will take you right into the centre of the city. Old Trafford is the home of the world-renowned Manchester United Football Club and tours of the ground are available.
Liverpool is another location that is easily accessible from Stoke-on-Trent, being slightly north of Manchester and roughly a ninety minute journey by car. Cheap rail fares are available but often require a train change along the way and consequently can take up to two hours to reach. Liverpool is famous for its docklands, museums and being the home of The Beatles. It is also the home of the historic Liverpool Football Club.
The historic city of Nottingham lies to the east of Stoke-on-Trent and once again is easily accessible by car or train. Many coach operators run regular services to Nottingham taking around ninety minutes to two hours and details are available from the tourist information office at Hanley Bus Station. Nottingham is a city renowned for its beauty and medieval architecture and Robin Hood enthusiasts will find much to do there.
The county town of Stafford is a place to visit to sample traditional British life and culture. It is around twenty minutes from Stoke-on-Trent via car or train and bus services take around forty minutes from Hanley Bus Station. Stafford is known for its magnificent parks, architecture and its bustling yet traditional high street.