Things to do in Staffordshire This Weekend
In a change of pace this week, we’re looking at all the great things to do in Staffordshire this weekend.
We’ve spent a lot of time finding out what there is to do in this amazing county this year, we thought we’d share some of our favourites with you.
What to do in Staffordshire this Weekend
As a Staffordshire girl since birth, Tanith couldn’t wait to write this post!
Situated in the heart of England, Staffordshire forms part of the West Midlands region.
Easily accessible from its neighbouring counties and beyond, Staffordshire has a lot to offer.
Whether you’re looking for thrills, culture, shopping or nature, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
So, let’s jump right in.
Explore Cannock Chase Forest
Cannock Chase Forest (or The Chase as it is referred to locally) is a fantastic part of the county, allowing you to get stuck into beautiful natural surroundings.
As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Cannock Chase provides a backdrop of magnificent scenery, from woodlands and open countryside, to rolling hills and natural streams.
If you like getting outdoors, this is definitely the place for you.
What is there to do at Cannock Chase?
Cannock Chase is the perfect spot to go walking or mountain biking, with plenty of routes available for all abilities.
Most of the Chase is owned by Forestry England, and so is open for public access all year round.
Parking at Cannock Chase
There are small free car parks dotted all around the area, but most visitors head to the main visitors centre known as Birches Valley which has a paid car park.
If Birches Valley is full, an additional, smaller visitors centre – Marquis Drive – is only a short drive away and has a combination of both free and paid parking spots.
As the main visitors spot, Birches Valley is a great starting spot for anyone coming to the Chase for the first time.
Walking and Cycling Trails
This part of the chase comprises two walking trails and four mountain biking trails which cater for different skill levels.
If you want a leisurely cycle, the Fairoak Trail or Perry’s Trail may be good ones to start off with.
If you’re an experienced rider and are looking for a more difficult route, you could give Follow the Dog or the Monkey Trail a go.
They’re both well known to cycling enthusiasts in the area.
Although you aren’t short of walking routes all across the Chase.
Go Ape at Cannock Chase
Birches Valley is also home to some adrenaline pumping activities including the Go Ape Treetop Adventure and the Go Ape Forest Segway.
Advanced booking is generally required for both of these.
Unless you’re doing one of the activities above, a visit to Cannock Chase is a pretty cheap day out.
If you’re parking at the visitors centre then you have the small parking cost to consider, but other than that all the walking and biking trails are free to use.
Why not pack a picnic and get exploring?
If you are looking for other ideas that don’t cost the earth – why not check out our 20 free things to do this weekend post.
After you’ve finished this one of course!
Perhaps Staffordshire’s most recognisable attraction and the UK’s largest theme park, it can only be Alton Towers.
If you’re looking for a more action packed day out, you would be hard pushed to find a better one in the United Kingdom.
It’s situated in a small village called Alton, and is set in the grounds of what was originally a private estate owned by the Earl of Shrewsbury.
The resort is split into a few different areas.
These include the main theme park, separate water park – Splash Landings – and several hotels/accommodation options.
If you’re into rollercoasters then you aren’t short of choice at Alton Towers.
There is a great selection to choose, with some of the biggest rides including The Smiler, Oblivion , Rita, TH13Teen, Nemesis, The Wicker Man and Galactica.
There is a really good range of other rides available though if roller coasters aren’t your thing.
You can also explore the beautiful gardens in the centre of the park – often providing a welcome respite!
Alton Towers Ticket Prices
The cost for entry to Alton Towers can be quite high – particularly if you’re visiting as a family or larger group.
An adult ticket can cost up to £65, with children (3-11 years) coming it at up to £60.
It’s definitely not a cheap day out.
We’d recommend looking out for 2-4-1 vouchers and booking in advance to get the best prices.
Staffordshire is home to another theme park in the shape of Drayton Manor.
Drayton Manor Resort is definitely more of a family theme park than Alton Towers, with only a couple of ‘big’ rides.
It is located near to Tamworth, and includes both a theme park and zoo in one.
The most famous ‘big’ ride at Drayton Manor is Shockwave, which was actually Europe’s first stand-up coaster.
Image Credit: Telegraph
There is a zoo on-site
Although there aren’t many options for adults, children are spoilt for choice here, with most rides suitable for younger riders.
Drayton Manor also has the bonus of a 15 acre zoo where you can meet a whole host of animals.
You can say hello to Red Pandas, Sumatran Tigers, Meerkats and a whole range of Monkeys to name a few.
In terms of cost, Drayton Manor is cheaper than Alton Towers, however it definitely has more of a child friendly focus so we’d bear that in mind if you are planning to go.
Drayton Manor Ticket Prices
An adult day ticket will set you back anywhere between £27 and £42.50 (with everyone aged 4+ included in this cost).
So, it works out pretty pricey for the attractions the park has on offer (although you do have the zoo included in the cost).
For us, Alton Towers is always our preferred choice.
If you’re looking for back-to-back rides and action it is definitely the option for you too.
An all-year-round activity (due to its indoor location), Tamworth SnowDome is great fun for any age.
Tamworth SnowDome offers a variety of snow and ice based activities including ice skating, ski and snowboard lessons and a ‘snow fun’ zone (ideal for children).
Ski and snowboarding lessons are offered at a couple of different levels – beginner and improver.
The sessions can be booked as part of a group, or privately if you prefer that one-to-one focus.
Costs vary depending on the length of the lesson chosen and group size.
The Snow Dome’s website has all the details on pricing and what gets covered in each lesson. (Ski and Snowboard – SnowDome)
Once you’re at the ‘recreational standard’, both skiers and snowboarders can then use the slope unsupervised.
Image Credit: Tamworth SnowDome
Once you’ve trained up a bit
A variety of lift pass options are available to choose from for this purpose.
The passes go from £17.15 for a one hour pass, up to £30 for a full day pass.
If ice skating is more your thing, the Snow Dome has you covered.
You can hit the ice for a two-hour session for only £11.25 per adult.
Not too bad at all considering skate hire is included in the cost.
Although if you’re anything like us, you’ll probably spend more time clinging onto the side for dear life than actually skating.
Don’t want to get cold?
The SnowDome also has a swimming pool and climbing wall… so you’re spoilt for choice on activities.
Owned by the National Trust, Shugborough Hall is located on the edge of Cannock Chase in between Rugeley and Stafford.
Shugborough Hall is set amongst 900 acres of parkland, accompanied by beautiful gardens and fascinating exhibits.
The main Shugborough Hall Manor House is a pretty spectacular sight to behold.
Externally, its large white columns give an instant sense of wealth and grandeur.
Inside it doesn’t disappoint, with a heap of amazing treasures kept within, from ornately decorated rooms to old artefacts.
The hall was once owned by the Anson family, who made it what it is today.
The gardens to the rear of the hall are also worth a visit, with different seasonal plant displays visible throughout the year.
Shugborough Hall Admission Price
If you’re visiting Shugborough Hall as a one off and aren’t a National Trust member, it will cost you £14.30 an adult and £7.15 a child.
As proud National Trust members ourselves, we’d always recommend signing up for a membership as there are so many locations to visit across the UK.
Plus, it works out far more cost effectively throughout the year!
When visiting Trentham Estate there’s a lot you can do.
Nestled between Stone and Stone-on-Trent, Trentham boasts 725 acres of natural beauty.
Comprising the main Trentham Gardens, the Trentham Shopping Village, Garden Centre and neighbouring Monkey Forest (more on that below) and Treetop Adventure.
There is a large free car park with plenty of spaces; however it does start to get pretty full on a weekend!
The famous Trentham Gardens are split into a number of areas and can be accessed from the centre of the Shopping Village.
There is a cost to enter these, which comes in at £12.50 per adult and £9.00 per child (children under five are free).
There are other price options available including family, student and seniors.
The formal Italian Gardens were brought to life by award-winning designer Tom Stuart Smith.
Here you’ll see vibrant coloured plants at the top of the garden – this is where Trentham Hall used to be located.
Then moving down the garden towards the lake, the plants change to a wash of paler shades.
In amongst the gardens you’ll also discover a number of fountains (seven to be precise), with the lovely, relaxing sounds of water accompanying your visit.
There is also a trellis walk (100m long) which is draped in wisteria and other beautiful smelling flowers.
Trentham Lake and Woodlands
Alongside these formal gardens – which have won many awards over the years – you can also explore Trentham Lake which spans 1 mile in length.
While in the gardens, why not take the circular walk around the water?
Here you can enjoy views of the River Trent, woodlands and meadows.
When in the gardens, keep your eyes peeled for an abundance of wildlife including birds, sheep and deer.
Trentham Shopping Village
If you don’t want to pay to enter the gardens then both the Trentham Shopping Village and Garden Centre are lovely to wander around.
Made up of quaint looking timber huts, the shopping village has a combination of independent and high-street shops.
Alongside this there’s plenty of places for a spot of lunch, a coffee, or even a cheeky beer (or two).
Here you can spend as much (or as little) money as you like – so you can make it a free day out if you wanted to!
Trentham Monkey Forest
Just round the corner from the main Trentham Estate you’ll find Trentham Monkey Forest.
This has its own car park with overflow spaces for when it’s particularly busy (so no need to park at the main estate and walk across).
As the name suggests, the Monkey Forest – in simple terms – is a forest full of monkeys (who knew eh?!).
Here you’ll get to walk the ¾ mile path through the forest, where you can spot endangered Barbary monkeys of all ages.
There are around 140 Barbary monkeys living here.
It’s a lovely spot for a walk, and with so many monkeys living there, they aren’t difficult to spot.
During the day the Monkey Forest does a number of feeding talks which are definitely worth a watch if you want to learn more about the species.
There are also a number of helpful guides on your way around the walk.
These people are more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
Now, Trentham Monkey Forest isn’t really a full day out.
At a push you could probably spend a few hours here if you brought a picnic and went into the animal enclosure a couple of times during your visit.
There is also a play area for younger children to enjoy.
In terms of cost, the Monkey Forest isn’t the most unreasonably priced thing out there.
Trentham Monkey Forest Admission Prices
An adult ticket will set you back £9.90, and a child £7.65 (with ages two and under free).
If you’re a monkey lover and want to make the experience more memorable, you can book (in advance) a ‘breakfast with the monkeys’ experience.
Costing £130.00, this experience gives you the chance to get one-on-one with the animals.
You’ll be able to help feed the monkeys their breakfast alongside one of the guides.
We’ve both been here a couple of times and are more than happy to part with the cash for an enjoyable couple of hours wandering amongst the monkeys.
A good cause
For us, we can see that the cost goes to help Trentham Monkey Forest care for the monkeys living there.
Also, it helps them increase conservation efforts and complete further research.
Barbary macaques being officially listed as endangered, and the population dropping by more than 50% over the past 30 years.
So, the work they are doing here to protect these creatures is well worth the entry fee.
Hoar Cross Hall
Fancy a relaxing spa day? Then Hoar Cross Hall could be the answer.
Nestled in Burton-upon-Trent (East Staffordshire), Hoar Cross Hall is an award-winning spa resort.
It is the perfect place for some ‘me’ time.
The 19th century building itself is a sight to behold, with a long, winding driveway and surrounded by woodland and manicured gardens.
Inside, there is a well equipped spa facility, gym, several restaurants and a variety of hotel rooms should you wish to include a night’s stay in your visit.
The focus of this is going to be on the spa area as there are a great number of facilities to enjoy.
Hoar Cross Hall has a number of overnight stay packages or spa day options to choose from.
This is dependent on how long you want to spend there (and your budget).
Their spa day experiences range from the more basic Purity Spa Day (from £89 pp with no treatment included), up to their Infinity Spa Day.
The Infinity Spa Day includes two treatments and starts at £239 per person.
They even have a Twilight Spa Experience which is ideal if you’re short on time or want a more affordable option.
This runs from 6.30pm – 9.30pm and starts from £50pp.
Tanith has done the Purity Spa Day many times now and would definitely recommend it.
Steam Rooms, Saunas, and Pools
During your day you can enjoy a number of steam rooms and saunas, saltwater vitality pool, hydrotherapy pool, aqua massage area, jacuzzis, saunarium, cold plunge pool and a separate Nordic heat and ice suite.
If you want to kick back and relax even further, Hoar Cross Hall also has a selection of relaxation spaces.
Eac are equipped with cosy beds and comfortable chairs.
The ideal spots for a snooze or some reading.
During your day you also get to tuck into a delicious three course meal – so you definitely won’t go hungry!
Hoar Cross Hall provides the ideal spot to recuperate and recharge.
You’ll leave there feeling fully relaxed at the end of your day.
Biddulph Grange Garden
As with Shugborough Hall, Biddulph Grange Garden is another National Trust site – and one of our personal favourites!
Just on the very edge of Staffordshire (almost on the Cheshire border), Biddulph Grange Garden is a peaceful, nature filled haven.
You first enter the gardens down a grand staircase leading from outside the stately home manor.
Here, you’re greeted by a beautiful array of seasonal flowers (depending on when you visit).
The gardens are a bit of a maze, and – if you don’t grab a map (which we’d advise you do) – you’ll find yourself stumbling upon hidden gems at every turn.
Some of the highlights at Biddulph Grange Garden includes a large koi pond, China Garden and a fascinating geological gallery.
You’d struggle to spend a whole day here.
But, 2-3 hours is plenty to have a good wander round and take in the natural beauty of the grounds.
Biddulph Grange Garden Admission Prices
In terms of cost, adults will pay £11 to enter the gardens, with children costing £5.50.
As with Shugborough, we’d say this is quite a steep fee for the amount of time you’ll spend there.
We always recommend a National Trust membership.
Saying that, the gardens are a lovely sight to see, and if you’re after a calming and ‘instagram worthy’ day out then Biddulph Grange Garden is definitely for you.
Rudyard Lake is located just north of Leek in Staffordshire and is actually a reservoir.
It was constructed in the 18th century to feed the Caldon Canal and is a beautiful place for a walk.
This was actually one of the first locations that Tanith and Ben went on a date!
So it is quite close to our hearts.
The lake is around 2.5 miles in length and the circular walking route is approximately 8km around.
It’s a very easy route, largely flat, with only a couple of steady inclines along the way. It takes us around 90 mins at a leisurely pace to walk it.
Along the way, you’ll get some really pretty views of the lake.
This is definitely one of our favourite things to do in Staffordshire.