National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Stay at home

Beyond the potteries in North Staffordsh­ire


Why go

The location for Channel 4’s The Great Pottery Throw Down, Sta‰ordshire o‰ers an abundance of museums and tours that explore the ceramic heritage of the county’s northern swathe — there are 47 distinctiv­e-shaped bottle kilns in the city of Stoke-on-Trent alone. Veer from the potteries, however, and the county’s rural side reveals itself: discover sprawling country estates, epic hiking trails and winding canal towpaths, which lead walkers through the perfect mix of city and country. enjoysta

What to do

The market town of Leek is the perfect base from which to explore the Peak District. Try the hike up The Roaches, a 1,657 heatherblu­shed ridge where you can spot buzzards and sparrowhaw­ks circling above. But it would be remiss not to delve into the area’s proud history of pottery. Visit the World of Wedgwood in Barlaston and join a tour to see what goes into making ceramics today. There’s a chance to get stuck in and throw your own pot in the clay studio, too. Stay for aernoon tea — served on Wedgwood china, of course. worldofwed­

Where to eat

No.26 at Aston Marina, in the town of Stone, has an extensive menu including flatbread pizzas and spiced samosas. Eat outdoors and watch the barges passing on the Trent and Mersey Canal. Alternativ­ely, head to The Quarter in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, for sharing platters, cocktails and live music. astonmarin­ thequarter­

We like

While away the day at Trentham Estate, just outside Stoke-on-Trent. In the shadow of the ruined manor, indulge in an al fresco cream tea or stroll around the mile-long lake, swaddled in gardens designed by Capability Brown. Don’t miss the 60-acre Monkey Forest, where 140 Barbary macaques wander freely among the trees.

Where to stay

On the edge of the Peak District near Leek, the Three Horseshoes Country Inn & Spa is an ideal base for exploring the area and has various grades of room to choose from. The restaurant uses local ingredient­s to cook up British classics, while the spa is wonderful for relaxing aer a long country walk. From £120. CAROLINE BUTTERWICK

 ??  ?? ABOVE: Titteswort­h Water, near Leek
ABOVE: Titteswort­h Water, near Leek
 ??  ?? Reconstruc­ted Sutton Hoo helmet, part of the Staffordsh­ire Hoard at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Reconstruc­ted Sutton Hoo helmet, part of the Staffordsh­ire Hoard at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

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