If you come to Burslem to see a Port Vale game, perhaps as an away supporter, you don’t need to spend the time before the game stuck in your hotel room playing Aussie online casino games.
You can get out a bit and check out the amazing historical, natural and cultural sites of the Staffordshire region. Some of the most interesting sites include:
Redfern’s Cottage Museum of Uttoxeter Life
Half-an-hour southeast of Burslem you’ll find the Redfern Cottage Museum of Uttoxeter Life, an authentic 400-year-old cottage that shows how families once lived in England. The cottage has been closed for most of 2018 due to repairs but it is scheduled to reopen in 2019 with extensive new exhibitions that display England’s past.
The cottage is actually a series of tiny rooms, each filled with the history of life in the town. Visitors will see how families lived in houses surrounded by old fashioned courtyards filled with herbs and other greenery. The guided tour also gives quite a lot of information about the first industrialists who based their businesses in the area.
Uttoxeter was a market town for the region. This 17th century cottage describes the town’s fascinating history and provides background about some of the local personalities who started life here including Samuel Johnson, Francis Redfern and Mary Howitt.
Gladstone Pottery Museum
The Gladstone Pottery Museum is located 15 minutes south of Burslem in Longton Stoke-on-Kent. You can drive along the Queensway to see the museum’s exhibits which show the ancient craft of making bone china tableware for which Stoke-on-Kent is famous.
The building is the last complete Victorian pottery factory in the country. Visitors can see the original workshops and giant bottle kilns of the former Gladstone China Works. There are also demonstrations of traditional pottery skills. While you’re there you’ll be invited to take a turn at throwing a pot or crafting a bone china object – or even painting some ready-to-glaze pottery (extra charge).
Depending on the day of your visit you can join a lecture or other activity, such as lectures about the history of the area, pottery making or painting workshops, and more.
If you’re traveling with children you might want to head to the Children’s Farm in Tarnworth, an hour’s drive south of Burslem. Kids of any age will find plenty to keep them busy and active for hours. There’s a huge indoor climbing area, giant slides, an outdoor, giant undercover jumping pillow and an inflatable assault course. There’s also a role play and trike area for the littlest kids and free zorbing in the summer months.
National Memorial Arboretum
Visitors come from around the world to visit the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, located an hour south of Burslem on the outskirts of the National Forest.
The Arboretum is an evolving, maturing woodland landscape that houses over 30,000 trees of differing species, both native British and specimen trees. Different areas of the world are represented by the trees that grow there – dogwood and tulip for the Far East, cork oaks and black pines for the Mediterranean, etc.
Some of the most special tree species include Dawn Redwoods, and Horse Chestnuts. The trails that take visitors through the arboretum offer a sense of peace and tranquility. Guided tours are available.
The Arboretum is home to over 350 memorials to different military and police groups, fraternity groups, emergency services and charitable organisations. It’s a special experience to view these memorials to groups such as The Far East Prisoners of War, The Palestine Police Old Comrades’ Association Memorial, various RAF squadrons and army divisions and more.
British Wildlife Rescue Centre
You know how you hear about a fox getting into someone’s house through the cat door and then getting stuck? Or someone finds abandoned baby birds in the nest? Did you ever wonder what happens to these creatures? The British Wildlife Rescue Center of Staffordshire takes care of injured, abandoned and orphaned animals that are found in the area, cares for them and prepares to release them back into the wild.
The centre is located half an hour south of Buslem on the A51 just west of Wexton. The centre rescues, rehabilitates and releases the animals after they receive veterinary care and time to recuperate.
The centre even has a pool and enclosures for the rehabilitation of water birds and spacious aviaries for birds that fly.
The centre operates throughout the year, though most of the centre’s work takes place in the spring and the summer when the largest number of orphaned animals and birds are found. A team of permanent staff and volunteers care for and nurture the animals and birds and display many of them during the centre’s educational talks and lectures
Visitors are invited to come to see many of the animals and feed the birds. There is an admission price to visit the centre and a small additional cost to feed the birds. All proceeds go directly towards the running and maintenance of the centre.
National Breweries Centre
You don’t have to be a beer lover to enjoy the National Brewery Centre Museum, located in Burton-on-Trent, 50 minutes southeast of Burslem. The museum tells the story of the legendary Bass family and their role in the development of brewing plus the social history of the development of brewing and the real-life stories and experiences of the people who helped to build Burton’s brewing reputation.
You can book a tour which will start with a holographic-style presentation of the history of brewing. Tour groups then walk through each step of the brewing process with explanations of the roles that vintage vehicles and the steam engines played in the development of the industry.
Steam engines once drew clean well water from the springs of St. Modwen and brought them to the brewery. Robey engines were in use until the 2nd half of the 20th century and the demonstration model at the museum is still in good working order, In addition, a model of the rail network that existed around Burton is on display.
The tour then moves to a display of vintage vehicles that played an important part in the evolution of the brewing industry. On the tour, visitors see a fine collection of vehicles including delivery wagons and a double-decker bus, fire trucks and special promotional vehicles such as a 1920s Daimler bottle car that was built to deliver beer to pubs.
At the end of the tour, you’ll walk into the yard where you will see the brewery’s two magnificent shire horses alongside traditional drays (carts) that were used to deliver beer a hundred years ago. The guides explain the roles that Shires played in the development of the brewing industry, in the days when they were the mainstay of daily local delivery services.