Five Family Friendly Staffordshire Activities
Staffordshire is a lovely county made up of historic landmarks and beautiful scenery. If you are planning a vacation to England, Staffordshire in the West Midlands would be the perfect starting point. Pick up a car rental in Stoke-on-Trent and your family will arrive at any of these locations in an hour or less.
The Trentham Estate – Stoke-on-Trent
The Trentham Estate is one of the most loved destinations in Stoke-on-Trent. Drawing both visitors and locals, it is a perfect spot for families with children of any age. Mum will enjoy strolling through the Trentham Gardens and little ones will be delighted to hop aboard the garden’s miniature train and choo-choo around the lake. Older children will be able to entertain themselves at the Adventure Playground, giving the grown ups a chance to sit back and relax.
You can’t leave without taking a walk around the Trentham Monkey Forest. The path through the forest is less than a mile, so it will be easy for little legs to navigate. Get up close with over 140 Barbary Macaques who roam freely through the woodland. Seeing the primates is quite the experience, but pales in comparison to the look on your child’s face when he or she gets a glimpse of them. Between the estate, the gardens and the forest, you can fill up a whole entire day, which means you will be pretty hungry. There are a ton of eateries to choose from on the property, but I would recommend the Banana Café while you are at the Monkey Forest. The kid friendly restaurant is conveniently located near one of the playgrounds, so your children won’t have to sit still for too long.
Blackbrook Zoological Park – Winkhill
If your family enjoyed the Monkey Forest, they will absolutely love the Blackbrook Zoological Park, just over 28 kilometers (18 miles) away in Winkhill. The park is home to the largest collection of birds in the United Kingdom and has more waterfowl than any other zoo in the world. You children will get to see and learn about adorable penguins, fuzzy lemurs, curious meerkats, and the endangered warty pig. Blackbrook is a registered charity, and if you are interesting in helping, your little ones will be able to “adopt” an owl, a reindeer, a tortoise, or one of many other animals. They will receive an adoption certificate and a picture of their animal, and they will also receive a quarterly newsletter, which will be a treat throughout the whole year. Not only will a trip to Blackbrook Zoological Park be fun, it will also be educational and teach your children about the importance of caring for all of Mother Earth’s creatures.
Mermaid’s Pool – Leek
The Black Mere Pool is located near the town of Leek, which is less than fifteen minutes from the Blackbrook Zoological Park. Legend has it that a mermaid resides in the depths of the pool, though how she got there is of some debate. Mystery and superstition shroud this little pool on Morridge Moor. They say that cattle refuse to drink from it, and birds stay clear for fear of drowning. If you are traveling with older children, they will love to hear the local folklore and decide for themselves which chilling story might be true. The best time to drive by the pool is after dark, preferably after a heavy rain, when you just might be privy to Will-o-the-Wisps. The eerie lights above the water are caused by natural gasses from the pool meeting the air. Or maybe they are the spirits of those the mermaid has lured into her bottomless hole!
Drayton Manor Theme Park – Tamworth
The Drayton Manor Theme Park is perfect for all ages, toddlers to teenagers. Even mum will have fun here. Little ones can spend the day in Thomas Land, home of Thomas the Tank Engine and all of his friends. All of your favorite characters from the books and show will be standing by to make your child’s day an unforgettable one. Drive Terence around at Terence’s Driving School, or let Harold the Helicopter take you on a tour. Of course you cannot visit Thomas Land without taking a ride with Thomas on the narrow gauge railroad! Drayton Manor also has a zoo with over one hundred species of animals for you to learn about. If you are traveling with tweens or teens, there is a plethora of thrilling rides to choose from. Swing high upon the Bounty, the parks pirate ship, whip around upside down on the Maelstrom, and experience the Shockwave, voted “Best Stand-Up rollercoaster in the World.”
Art Cart – Stafford
Every Sunday at the Shire Hall Gallery in Stafford is Art Cart. Families with children of all ages are welcome to stop by between 1:00 and 3:30, when you will create your own works of art. The craft changes regularly to coincide with the seasons and the gallery’s current exhibits. Past projects have included windsocks, puppets, and masks. This is the perfect opportunity to get messy, have fun, and be creative with your kids. Best of all, its absolutely free! At the end of the day you will go home with a handmade souvenir to always remember your vacation in Staffordshire by.
Melissa Rae Cohen is a travel writer from Portland, Maine.