Stafford, the county town of Staffordshire, has something to offer every visitor, no matter what their interests. Surrounding marshes gave the town its name, which derives from ‘Staith Ford,’ meaning ‘landing place’ – Stafford proved very convenient for past armies because of its position on the River Trent. The town is situated towards the north of the West Midlands, near Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent. A rich history is revealed by the town’s old buildings, including St Chad’s church and Stafford Castle. A short drive from the town centre is Cannock Chase, which has been named an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For those who prefer the attractions of a large city, Birmingham and Manchester are less than an hour’s drive away.


Stafford Castle is a medieval building, constructed by the Normans after the 1066 invasion. A prominent feature on the Stafford skyline, its peaceful setting and excellent Visitor Centre make the historic castle a very popular attraction today. For a splash of culture, keep your eyes peeled for al fresco performances of Shakespeare’s plays in the castle grounds.

Further clues to Stafford’s rich history can be found in the town’s oldest building – the twelfth century construction of St Chad’s church. St Chad’s has parish registers dating back to 1636, so worshippers today have centuries of history behind them. The church remains the spiritual and social centre of the local community, with musical concerts, talks and tours often on the events calendar.

The largest timber-framed house in England can be found in the centre of Stafford, on Greengate Street. The impressive Tudor townhouse, known as the Ancient High House, was built in 1594, and has an important place in history. Most notably, King Charles I stayed there at the beginning of the English Civil War. Today part of the house has been turned into Staffordshire Yeomanry Museum, which offers free entry to its main exhibition.

For visitors who prefer exploring the outdoors, head towards the railway station, where you will find the Victoria Park. An ideal place to relax, the park stretches to 13 acres, and homes the County War Memorial, which was unveiled in 1923. The park itself dates back to 1908.

For a more rural experience, drive south east of the town, to Cannock Chase. Set right in the heart of Staffordshire countryside, the wild landscape offers a refreshing escape from the town itself.

Shugborough is also worth a visit. The manor house and gardens are just a few miles from Stafford, just off the M6. Known as The Complete Working Historic Estate, the hall and grounds are located on the banks of the River Sow, not far from Cannock Chase, and stretch to 900 acres. Young visitors can enjoy the tours, when they can meet characters from Shugborough’s past. Changing attractions include craft fairs, markets, musical concerts, theatre performances, fireworks and seasonal events – so there’s certainly no excuse to be bored!

Staffordshire is renowned for its potteries, the most famous being Wedgewood ceramics. The Wedgwood Visitor Centre, a short drive away in Stoke on Trent, offers interactive displays, talks and hands-on factory tours, including a demonstration area, and the Wedgwood Museum.

Youngsters might prefer a white-knuckle ride on a death-defying rollercoaster to a guided tour of the local pottery – if so, head to Alton Towers, found in the nearby Staffordshire town of Alton.


The main shopping street of Stafford is Greengate Street, where most high street shops and brands can be found. The Guildhall Shopping Centre offers indoor facilities in the middle of the town. St Mary’s Mews is the place to head for more specialist shops.

A local farmers’ market is held in Stafford on the second Saturday of every month, in the Market Square. Here, you can buy fresh produce direct from the grower or farmer, as well as help to boost the local economy and environment. St John’s market, near the Guildhall Shopping Centre, also sells fresh fruit and vegetables.

Nightlife / Dining

Steer clear of nation-wide chain restaurants and head for privately owned eateries to get the best out of eating out in Stafford. Mill Street’s Pastiche bistro serves excellent quality meals in a very relaxed and welcoming environment.

For pub grub at its best, The Sun Inn, in the town centre, rarely disappoints. The Good Pub Guide singles out the nearby Hollybush Inn, in Salt – definitely worth the short drive.

Live music venues include The Grapes, on Bridge Street, which is popular for its indie, acoustic and rock nights. Stafford is not renowned for its clubs, but with a student population from its university, the pubs of Greengate Street are always lively.

Tourist Information

Tourist Information Centre Market Street Stafford Staffordshire ST16 2LQ Tel: +44 (0)1785 619619Alternate Tel: +44 (0)1785 619136 E-mail: Stafford Tourist Development Services Riverway Stafford Staffordshire ST16 3TJ Tel: +44 (0)1785 277 397 E-mail:


Stafford is well-located for airports, with three – Nottingham East Midlands Airport, Birmingham International Airport and Manchester International Airport - within an hour’s drive.

Nottingham East Midlands Airport is 69km from Stafford, and offers flights to destination worldwide.Birmingham International Airport is the UK’s fifth largest airport, with over 50 airlines operating, including seven low cost companies. International destinations can be reached from the airport, which is easily accessible, being at the centre of England’s motorway network.

Manchester International Airport is 81km from Stafford centre. It is one of Britain’s main airports and has three terminals.

Nottingham East Midlands Airport: +44 (0)871 919 9000Birmingham International Airport: +44 (0)8707 335511Manchester International Airport: +44 (0)161 489 3000

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