The top 10 things to do in Staffordshire this autumn
IT may only just be autumn but that isn’t stopping people thinking about Christmas.
Stafford town centre has just announced plans for the second annual retailers’ charity dash which raises money for the Katharine House Hospice and the Hibbs Lupus Trust.
Children can also enter the race with Stafford Town Centre Partnership kitting out all competitors in traditional Father Christmas costume.
And every budding St Nick will get a special medal when they complete the mile long run around the town centre.
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The course will be similar to the route used for the popular ‘Fun Run’ earlier this year which attracted around 800 runners.
All the Father Christmas’ will line up on Sunday, November 25 - around 300 Santas took to the streets in the inaugural dash last year.
The event is being organised by the Town Centre Partnership (TCP), which represents more than 100 retailers and businesses, along with the borough council.
At the launch councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for leisure at the borough council, said: “This will definitely get some of those Santas in shape for the big day with a couple of laps around the town centre.
“And I hope there will be loads of people out to cheer them on along the way before our Santas get down to the hard work of delivering presents.”
The race starts at 12.30pm with suit collection and registration between 11am and 12 noon.
The entry fee in advance will be £10 for an adult and £7 for children between six and 12 years old, with a £3 fee for youngsters under six years olds. It will cost £1 extra to sign up on the day. All will get Father Christmas attire of jacket, trousers and hat - with grown-ups also having beard and belt. Little ones will be given a Santa hat. People can collect an entry form from the Civic Centre, Stafford or the town’s Gatehouse Theatre.
All entries must be returned, with a cheque payable to Stafford Borough Council, at Santa Dash Entry, Leisure and Culture, Stafford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Riverside, Stafford , ST16 3AQ.
In the meantime we’ve picked out 10 events set to be highlights for Autumn before the winter and festive season really kicks in.
Days out in Staffordshire this autumn
1. Gastronomic delights – pay a visit to the annual autumn food festival which is Stone Food and Drink Festival. There’s a range of themed marquees, demonstrations by top chefs and evening events. Although the main event at the Westbridge Park festival site is October 5 to 7, there’s actually events from September 29 within the area so the week sees a build-up of delicious treats for all the family. The main festival weekend costs £15 for a three day ticket, £6 per day and accompanied under 16s are free.
Stone Food and Drink Festival, PO Box 3494, Stone, ST15 9DP T: 01785 818289
2. Bicentenary celebrations – the Pugin Visitor Centre is celebrating the bicentenary of AWN Pugin, one of the most foremost architects of the Victorian age. He was instrumental in the design of the House of Parliament as well as St Giles Catholic Church, Alton Towers and Cotton College. Urban Vision North Staffordshire, the architecture and urban design centre has planned events all year to mark the town’s famous ancestor. The project is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, West Midlands and Leader Communities Mean Business. Visitors are advised to telephone before setting off to ensure access to the Centre is possible. The celebrations end on December 31.
Pugin Heritage Visitor Centre, Lulworth House, 57 High Street, Cheadle, ST10 1AR T: 07852 468699
3. Beer Festival – The National Brewery Centre in association with CAMRA is hosting its second festival on September 21 and 22. Around 80 beers, ciders and perries will be able to taste. Entertainment includes a DJ both nights, hog roast, barbecue and an international barrel rolling competition.
The National Brewery Centre, Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent, DE14 1NG, T: 01283 532880.
4. Read all about it – Lichfield Festival presents its Autumn Literature Festival from September 29 to October 7. It features Brian Clegg, Terry Waite, Michael Nazir-Ali, Conor Woodman, David Stuttard, Gordon Bowker, Richard Hamblyn, Jennry Éclair and Pippa Greenwood among others as well as celebrating Shakespeare, Fireman Sam and holding workshops. Venues include Lichfield Cathedral, Lichfield Garrick Theatre, St Michael’s Church, St Chad’s Church, The George Hotel, Swinfen Hall Hotel, The George IV and The Guildhall. Ticket prices vary.
Lichfield Literature Box Office, 7 The Close, Lichfield, WS13 7LD T: 01543 306272. Open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm.
5. All that Jazz – mark the start of Autumn with a Jazz Sunday Lunch in the Garrick Suite at The George Hotel. Tuck in to a three course lunch while listening to live entertainment from The Three Spires Jazz Band, formerly The Antique Six. Described as playing an ‘eclectic mix of old favourites, modern numbers and party jazz’. Tickets £20.95 per adult and £12 per child up to 12 years. Booking required.
Best Western The George Hotel, Bird Street, Lichfield, WS13 6PR T: 01543 414882
6. Staffordshire Hoard – discover the largest and most valuable Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery. This exhibition shows more than 100 pieces displayed in all their glory.Also take the chance to discover the history of the Potteries, find a world war two Spitfire and visit a secret garden.
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Bethesda Street, Cultural Quarter, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 3DW T: 01782 232323
7. Winter Clean – a spring clean for own homes can be a tiresome job but imagine the work involved with a stately home? Visitors are invited to Shugborough on October 27 and 28 to see it put to bed for the winter. Find out about the winter cleaning and conservation programme and how the artefacts are preserved for generations. Just weeks earlier on October 6 and 7, you can see some of the treasures not always on display at the Autumn Treasure Days.
Shugborough Estate, Stafford, ST17 0XB T: 01889 881388 (admin) 0845 459 8900 (Box Office)
8. Autumn walk – and there’s no better way to celebrate the season than taking a walk through ancient bluebell woods. Yoxall Lodge is open Thursdays to Sundays from October 4 to 28 so visitors can see the bluebells in all their glory. Yoxall Lodge was originally built as a hunting lodge but was rebuilt as a Georgian country house by John Gisborne in the mid 1700s and was used by anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce. The house fell into disrepair and was pulled down in 1928. Some of the original buildings still remain and are part of a family run farm.
Yoxall Lodge, Scotch Hill, Newchurch, Burton-upon-Trent, DE13 8RL T: 01283 575237
9. Steam Gala – The Rudyard Lake Steam Railway is holding its annual gala on September 22 and 23 with visiting steam engines expected – these are set to be Victoria from the former Mull railway and Leak and Manifold Valley No 1 ER Calthrope from Trago Mills. Trains will run from 10.30am to 430pm at half hourly intervals. Day rover tickets cost £5 adults and £3 child. The heritage steam railway uses narrow gauge steam trains along Rudyard Lake. The lake itself is historic as it is where the parents of the author Rudyard Kipling met on a day out and they named their son after the spot.
Rudyard Station, Rudyard Road, Rudyard, near Leek, ST13 8PF T: 01538 306704
10. 80s Mania – travel back in time to the years of big shoulder pads and big hair. The 1980s Tribute Concert is at the Gatehouse Theatre on October 6 and features legendary Top of the Pops and Radio One DJ/Presenter Mike Read on screen as the video roadshow host. Remember the music from Duran Duran, Culture Club, Madonna, Wham and Frankie Goes to Hollywood among others. Tickets are £18.50 £17 concessions.
Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LT T: 01785 254653 Box Office.