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Let us help you plan your ideal vacation in Staffordshire...

Staffordshire, a county of two halves in the heart of England possessing undulating countryside, forests and moors and a rich industrial heritage with a fascinating history. Visitors to this region will never be disappointed.

However, like most industrial centres of Britain, this area has undergone dramatic changes in the last few decades helping it to restore much of its rural beauty.

Most people would think of North Staffordshire as an industrial centre based on coal mining and its world-famous pottery industry (hence the area is known as 'The Potteries').

A one time industrial area producing coal, steel and pottery which gave rise to it being known as 'The Potteries', Stoke-on-Trent has several industrial heritage museums including the Gladstone Pottery Museum. This is a working museum where visitors can see pottery being produced as it was traditionally, except that the bottle kilns can no longer be fired with coal so the pottery is fired in electric kilns.

Surrounded by pleasant countryside containing several attractive historic houses and crossed by various canals, Stoke-on-Trent is a modern city providing an ideal base from which to explore. Nearby to the west and south are the market towns of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stone and Eccleshall. On the outer western boundary of this area, just inside the Shropshire border lies Market Drayton, 'Home of Gingerbread'.

Also in the north of the county are the high Staffordshire Moorlands, adjoining the Peak District, and containing such delights as Dove Dale and the Manifold Valley, seen here from the mouth of Thor's Cave. The old track-bed of the Leek & Manifold Valley Railway, which closed in 1934, is now a tarmac path/cycleway. Bring your own bikes or hire them locally!

Here the visitor will find many small attractive villages with buildings of local stone and a variety of countryside from rolling pastures to wild and windswept moorland. The main town of the area is Leek, once a textile centre and now famous as the home of the Britannia Building Society.

An early 19th century Gothic mansion in the small village of Alton, built for the 15th Earl of Shrewsbury and set in grounds landscaped by 'Capability' Brown, is now in ruins but it now has far more visitors than ever envisaged by its creator for it is now known to every youngster in Britain - Alton Towers! Undoubtedly one of the major 'days-out' attractions of the country, this theme park offers something for all members of the family - terrifying white-knuckle rides, gentle rides for young children, cinemas, boating on the lake, or just the gentle stroll through the still magnificent gardens.

South Staffordshire, including the county town of Stafford, is considered as foreign parts for some of those from the north of the county. Its landscapes and attractions are totally different and becoming increasingly popular as a tourist area. The nearby Lichfield Cathedral dates back over 1300 years and is home to the annual Lichfield Arts Festival.

For families, Amerton Farm & Craft Centre provides interest and entertainment in all weathers. Open Easter - Christmas.

Stafford, itself, is a bustling town which still retains its individuality with many local traders as well as the usual nationals. It has some interesting architectural features including the Ancient High House, tallest timber-framed town house in England and built about 1595.

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