The Borough Arms Hotel in Newcastle-under-Lyme is the perfect base from which to discover all that Staffordshire has to offer. In just a few minutes’ drive you can be exploring a picturesque village or uncovering a breath-taking beauty spot. We are always very happy to recommend the best places to visit to make the most of your stay in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
These are some of our favourite places to visit in Staffordshire:
Theme Parks & Attractions
If you’ve never visited it, Alton Towers is a must, whatever your age or sense of adventure. Acres and acres of mind blowing, tummy twisting thrills, interspersed with rides for the more sedate and wonderful gardens! If you are looking for a hotel near Alton Towers, you won’t find much better than the Borough Arms, we are just over 30 minutes’ drive from the popular theme park.
The Natural Sciences Centre at Newchapel Observatory houses the main observatory, displays of alternative energy, and a planetarium. Combine a visit here with a walk up to Mow Cop folly, to enjoy countryside views.
For a more sedate excursion, why not try the fascinating Churnet Valley Railway? Ideal for children from 2 to 90, you can travel a 6.5-mile round trip drawn by a steam engine on Sundays, Bank Holiday Mondays and some Wednesdays in Summer.
Stately Homes & Gardens
Hawkstone Park has a unique combination of hidden pathways, concealed grottoes, romantic valleys, secret tunnels and follies, created in the 18th Century by Sir Rowland Hill. The location for filming BBC TV’s Land of Narnia, Hawkstone has recently been claimed to be the final resting place of King Arthur.
The intimate and informal Dorothy Clive Garden embraces a wide variety of landscape features, including a superb woodland garden, an alpine scree, a damp garden and spectacular summer flower borders.
The Elizabethan House at Chatsworth, owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, was built in 1555 by Bess of Hardwick. Richly furnished, it boasts a number of world-famous exhibits. Over 100 acres of gardens provide many surprises: a maze, a cascade, fountains and tropical greenhouse. The 1,000 acres of surrounding parkland was landscaped by Capability Brown.
Less than 30 minutes’ drive away, Weston Hall is set in spectacular Shropshire countryside. A magnificent 17th century house is surrounded by 1,000 acres of parkland and is held in trust for the nation by the Weston Park Foundation
Music & Theatre
Almost on our doorstep, the New Vic presents a wide range of drama and entertainment in this superb, almost brand new building. An absolute “must visit” for enthusiasts of theatre “in the round”. Recently the subject of much restoration and sympathetic modern extension, the Victoria Hall is best known as a superb concert venue, with excellent accoustics and a magnificent organ.
Having lain unoccupied for several years, since it was last used as a cinema, The Regent has now been restored to its former art deco glory and is the location for larger performances. The repertoire ranges from Priestley to Pantomime and from Classical Ballet to Broadway style shows. If you love theatre, you’ll be enraptured by the Regent!
One of the finest and most famous potteries must be the Wedgwood Visitor Centre and Museum. Here, you can completely immerse yourself in the heritage of Britain’s greatest ceramics company with a fascinating journey through 250 years of ceramic production. See first-hand how raw clay is processed into fine bone china and Wedgwood Jasperware, and visit the factory to “try your hand at the art of pot making” with Wedgewood’s master craftsmen and women.
Alternatively, there’s the oldest pottery company in England to be still operating from its original site – Spode. Famed for its fine bone china, Spode is known for its classic Blue Italian china. It is also highly important in the area of hand painted work. The Spode Visitor Centre offers factory shop, museum, restaurant and regular factory tours.
The “living” museums of pottery, the Gladstone Pottery Museum and Middleport Pottery, are a must for visitors! Both have hosted ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’, with Middleport Pottery having the extra excitement of being used as a filmset for ‘Peaky Blinders’. With a great deal of the original pottery buildings remaining for both, including the bottle kilns, you can get a real feel for the potteries of yesteryear. You can also normally see fascinating demonstrations of the potter’s art and, sometimes, have a go yourself.
Among the other potteries you may choose to visit are Aynsley, Portmeirion (historically famous for their under-bed pots!), Royal Worcester, Royal Stafford, Beswick (known for Toby Jugs and Beatrix Potter characters), and Moorcroft.
The new-look gardens on the Trentham Estate in nearby Stoke-on-Trent are thought to have matured into some of the finest in Britain. The Telegraph’s James Sinclair recommends these as “The garden makeover of the decade”.
There is plenty for the whole family at Trentham including the mile long, Capability Brown designed, Trentham Lake, Italian Gardens designed by the multi-Chelsea gold-medal winner Tom Stuart-Smith, atmospheric trails, adventure playground and the opportunity to discover the fairies on the Fairy Trail!
For a special day out, Trentham Gardens is a great choice.
Garden Centres & Nurseries
Whether you are actually buying plants or accessories for your garden, or simply browsing, there are a number of nurseries and garden centres in Newcastle under Lyme, Stoke on Trent and around Staffordshire and Cheshire, that are well worth a visit.
Two that are well known nationally are Bridgemere Garden Centre and Trentham Gardens. Both are within easy reach and could easily form an entire day out, as they have many other attractions besides their garden sales areas