Christmas 2012 in Staffordshire: The top 10 festive events near to you
CHRISTMAS in Stoke-on-Trent will soon be in full swing, with the big light switch-on taking place tomorrow (Thur Nov 22), marking the start of late-night shopping.
Santa and his reindeers will be joining the festivities, which are expected to attract thousands to the city. Those hunting for the perfect gift will also be spoilt for choice, with high street favourites, craft fairs and the region’s famous pottery all providing plenty of inspiration.
Councillor Mark Meredith, cabinet member for economic development, culture and sport, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming shoppers and visitors to the city centre over the festive period.
“Last year the Christmas lights switch-on in the city centre attracted 8,000 people and we are hoping for similar crowds this year.
Panasonic Store Camera•20x Optical Zoom LEICA DC Lens from 24mm...View details
What Digital camera Gold award winning DMCTZ40
SAVE £20 off our store price ONLY with this voucher
Plus you can also claim a SD card or spare battery
Choice of colours, free parking behind store
Terms: Print this voucher and hand in at Panasonic Store Hanley to save £20 off our store price ONLY £269.90
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
“The event launches late-night shopping in the city centre and we’re really pleased to be working with the City Centre Partnership to deliver such a great entertainment event.”
So it’s full steam ahead for Christmas, and nowhere more so than at Foxfield Railway, in Blythe Bridge, where the popular Santa Specials will welcome families on board to meet the man in red himself on dates throughout December.
The event, which includes entertainment, festive refreshments and a five-and-a-half-mile trip on a specially decorated steam train, was fully booked last year and marketing manager Richard Barnett said with sales up by five per cent this year the attraction was well on the way to another sell-out.
He said: “Christmas is something that families will not compromise on – the kids are the number one priority.
“The Santa Specials offer the whole package - from the moment families arrive they find themselves in a winter wonderland before they are whisked away to meet Santa.
“There is not one person among the team of volunteers who doesn’t enjoy this time of year at Foxfield, and everyone dresses up. Someone you would usually see wearing overalls and waving a spanner is suddenly dressed in a tuxedo handing out mince pies – it’s a completely different atmosphere.”
See below for more details on how to book and for timetables, as we’ve put together a list of 10 destinations to help your Christmas shopping run smoothly:
1) Christmas lights – Stoke-on-Trent’s lights get switched on as stores stay open late too tomorrow (Nov 22). The event will be led by Lord Mayor Terry Crowe, who will be accompanied by Santa. The festivities start at 5.30pm with the switch-on at 6.45pm. There will be stalls and food and drink on sale with Santa and his reindeers in the city from 1pm to 5pm at Victoria Hall.
Victoria Hall, Bagnall Street, Stoke, ST1 3AD
2) Mystical creatures – discover mystical creatures at the Trentham Shopping Village for its Christmas launch on Friday (Nov 23) from 5.30pm. There’s a laser show at 5pm plus light switch-on at 7pm when the Winter Lakeside Ice Rink also launches. It’s free entry to the shopping village for the launch.
The Trentham Estate, Stone Road, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8AX T: 01782 646646
3) Potteries Shopping Centre – From Friday (Nov 23) children can meet a special visitor as Santa and the bears will be in the grotto outside River Island at the Potteries Shopping Centre until December 24. A visit is free, with charges depending on whether you want a gift and/or a photograph. There are more than 80 shops and cafes under one roof at this centre, which is open every day except Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
The Potteries Shopping Centre, City Centre, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 1PP T 01782 289822
4) Pottery – you can’t visit Stoke without visiting somewhere that’s behind the famous china created in the county. Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke has a number of festive promotions to ensure you find a perfect gift for Christmas, including a craft fair on Sunday (Nov 25) from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free while normal admission charges apply to the museum. Gladstone is the only complete Victorian pottery factory from the days when coal-burning stoves made the world’s finest bone china and visitors can explore the cobbled yard with huge bottle kilns. Open daily 10am to 4pm.
Gladstone Pottery Museum, Uttoxeter Road, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, ST3 1PQ T: 01782 237777
5) Perfect match – instead of scouring the shops to find a present for football-mad family members, log on to Stoke City FC’s website and find a range of gifts. From scarves and slippers to baubles for the tree, the club is offering plenty of opportunity for supporters to enjoy a red and white Christmas this year. Go to www.scfcdirect.co.uk/Index.aspx to shop online.
6) Christmas crafts – Organisers are promising plenty of inspiration for gifts at Ford Green Hall’s Craft fair on Sunday (Nov 25), which will showcase locally produced arts and crafts. Shoppers can stock up on stocking fillers and presents early and enjoy the historic setting of this 17th-century attraction, have a stroll around the Tudor knot garden and stop off at the tea rooms for a mince pie. For more information, call 01782 233195 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ford Green Hall, Ford Green Road, Smallthorne, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 1NG. Tel: 01782 233195.
7) Unique gifts – Normally a natural haven away from the hustle bustle, Westport Lake is getting into the Christmas spirit with a Christmas Fayre at its Visitor Centre on Sunday (Nov 25) from 10am to 3pm. Admission is free and there will be a variety of stalls offering plenty of gift ideas. Shoppers can also put their feet up and admire the views from the café. For a truly unique gift, youngsters can head to the Winter Wonderland Christmas craft workshop on the same day to make their own. Cost is £3 per child and the sessions run from noon to 1pm and 1.30pm to 2.30pm. Booking is essential on 01782 454192.
Westport Lake Visitor Centre, Westport Lake Road, Tunstall, ST16 4RZ. Tel: 01782 454192.
8) All aboard – Foxfield Railway is welcoming families to join Father Christmas for a five-and-a-half-mile trip onboard one of its Santa Specials. It’s full steam ahead for festivities on the steam train as all children receive a personal visit from Santa, as well a present, chocolates and soft drinks. Adults receive a seasonal glass of sherry and mince pie. Entertainment and decorations will add to the festive spirit as the train travels through the North Staffordshire countryside. Santa Special trains will operate on December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 and on Christmas Eve. Tickets are £11 for adults, £7 for children and £3 for under-twos. Book on 01782 396210. And if you haven’t quite got the Christmas shopping done, pop into the attraction’s gift shop where you will find gifts, toys, DVDs and model railway items. Visit www.foxfieldrailway.co.uk for more information.
Foxfield Steam Railway, Caverswall Road, Blythe Bridge, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire Moorlands, ST11 9BG
9) Festive fair- They’re decking the halls at the grand Shugborough Estate mansion house ready for the Christmas and Winter Fayre on Friday, December 7, until Sunday, December 9. The downstairs area will be lit with candles and festooned with flowers, trees and festive decorations, with doors open from 3-9pm. Other attractions over the weekend will include a food and gift marquee, an ice rink, fairground rides, Santa’s grotto, a nativity scene and more from 2-9pm. Admission in advance is £6 for adults, £4 for children or £15 for a family of two adults and up to three children. Extra charges apply for some of the activities. For full details, go to www.shugborough.org.uk, call 01785 711200 or email email@example.com.
Shugborough Estate, Stafford, ST17 0XB
10) Seasonal stroll - Take a break from it all and enjoy a winter walk at Biddulph Grange Garden on December 9, 10am-2pm, guided by one of the gardeners who will tell visitors more about the plants growing at this time of year. Then enjoy a warming bowl of lobby, scone and tea or coffee. Tickets £15. Youngsters can also follow the fairy lights to find Santa in his cottage to make sure he knows what they would like for Christmas. A visit to Santa is included in the usual admission price (adult £7.35, child £3.70, family £18.40). Then you can get straight back to Christmas shopping in the attraction’s gift shop. Visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/biddulph-grange-garden for more information.
Biddulph Grange Gardens, Grange Road, Biddulph, ST8 7SD. Tel: 01782 517999