Staffordshire (abbreviated Staffs) is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. Cannock Chase as well as parts of the National Forest and the Peak District national park lie within the county. In 2009 the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found in Britain was discovered near Lichfield. The artefacts – dubbed ‘The Staffordshire Hoard’ – have been dated to the 7th or 8th centuries.
Staffordshire adjoins Cheshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands, Worcestershire, and Shropshire. Its largest city is Stoke-on-Trent. Other districts include the county town, Stafford, as well as East Staffordshire, Lichfield, Newcastle-under-Lyme, South Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorlands, and Tamworth.
To the north and south, the county is hilly. In the middle regions, the landscape is low and undulating – although Staffordshire is home to the highest village in Britain, (the aptly named) Flash. Throughout the county there are huge, important coalfields; to the south, there are also rich iron ore deposits. The county’s largest river is the Trent. The affectionately regarded Staffordshire Bull Terrier also was first bred for hunting purposes here.
Roads: Staffordshire links to national road networks like the M42 motorway, junctions 10A-16 of the M6, and the A5 and A34 trunk roads also run through the county. Several of these major roads intersect the region, making the area a popular location for commuters working in Birmingham.
Rail: The main rail services are operated by the West Coast Main Line.
Bus: If you don't know which bus to catch, an online journey planner and timetable search is provided by Network West Midlands.
Air: The nearest airports are Birmingham, East Midlands or Manchester, depending on your starting location.
Water: Staffordshire’s extensive canal network includes the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, Caldon Canal, Coventry Canal, Shropshire Union Canal, Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and Trent and Mersey Canal.
The region’s increasing employment prospects and decent schools are attracting an ever-increasing supply of residents. Improved rail links and high-profile business moves have also been maintaining the buoyancy of Staffordshire’s housing market. In fact, the region’s prime housing markets have been experiencing stronger annual growth than those within an hour of London. This is evidence that the ‘ripple effect’ is extending beyond markets closest to the capital.
Staffordshire’s market has consequently been seeing a growth in its average house prices. The upturn has mostly been driven by local demand. However, this does not reflect the considerable variation in market value. There’s been a trend across regional markets for the continued rise of prime urban locations outperforming their rural counterparts.
Homes in prime towns like Uttoxeter have seen growth compared to similar properties in rural locations. Similarly, the most sought-after properties in villages like Eccleshall have also begun to pick up. Some movers, attracted to the increased space granted by the rural life, have evidently been taking advantage of the opportunities offered by living away from major towns.
Staffordshire offers all kinds of shopping. Leek has fascinating antique shops and markets. And just about everywhere you’ll find bustling street and farmers’ markets, fashion stores and modern shopping centres.
The Trentham Estate's Shopping Village hosts quirky independent lifestyle shops, the massive Trentham Garden Centre plus eminent brands like Antler, L'Occitane and Steelite – all housed in charming wooden lodges. There are also cafes and restaurants to keep you energised. The ostentatiously named Heart of the Country Shopping Village features exclusive shops, galleries and two award-winning restaurants, The Pear Tree Creperie and The Barn at Swinfen. Goods for sale here include ladies’ fashions, home and garden furnishings, jewellery, gifts, prints and frames, outdoor wear and cookware.
Buy some fine china via a visit to the World Capital of Ceramics in Stoke-on-Trent. Shop for bargains at Wedgwood's internationally renowned outlet store. With over 25 factory shops you'll find the perfect piece from names like Emma Bridgewater, Portmeirion, and Churchill.
Sport: Staffordshire’s three professional football clubs are Stoke City – who played arguably England’s finest footballer in the 1930s, Stanley Matthews – Port Vale, and Burton Albion. Staffordshire County Cricket Club is the most successful minor counties team of English and Welsh cricket.
Family: Slide about on the snow and ice or relax in the luxurious spa at the SnowDome in Tamworth. The complex’s 170-metre indoor slope and nursery slopes facilitate skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and tobogganing. It also has an ice rink, a kids’ snow-play area, a gym with a pool and exercise studios. Alton Towers Resort boasts Galactica – the world's first virtual reality rollercoaster – and the UK's first Rollercoaster Restaurant. You can also soak up some watery fun at its Caribbean-themed water park. Monkey Forest is Britain’s only place where you can walk among 140 Barbary macaques roaming free in the woods. Guides are positioned along the paths and give hourly feeding talks. Pony trekking routes meander down leafy lanes, bridleways and cross-country trails.
Cultural: Magnificent stately homes include Shugborough Estate and Weston Park; there are historic working farms; plus supposedly haunted castles at Stafford and Tamworth. Ride on old steam trains. Visit 800-year-old Lichfield Cathedral. See the spectacular ‘Staffordshire Hoard’ of Anglo-Saxon gold at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. Discover the fascinating tradition of brewing at The National Brewery Centre.
Outdoors: Test your climbing skills in the Staffordshire Peak District’s crags beside miles of inspirational moorland walking. Cycle Cannock Chase’s tracks and pathways or the National Forest’s woodland trails. The Staffordshire Peak District challenges all-comers with winding mountain bike routes. Try sailing and other watersports on the lakes, rivers and reservoirs. You can even climb a vertiginous tree-based adventure ropes course or ride a Segway at Go-Ape! Award-winning Trentham Gardens provides more leisurely pleasures.
Events: Staffordshire features a jam-packed annual events calendar. Tamworth Drama Festival is a local heat of a national festival showcasing plays. The annual May Day 'Well Dressing' at Newborough lures thousands. The midsummer V Festival is one of the UK’s biggest rock-music events – held at Weston Park. Shugborough Classic Car and Transport Show offers a day of motoring nostalgia. There’s even a Hedgehog Rolling Festival at Grindon. Star Bikers Annual Christmas Toy Run in Stoke on Trent is the country’s oldest event of its kind.