Burslem Town Square

Creative Tourist
The Wedgwood Institite, Burslem summer in stoke on trent
The Wedgwood Institute, Burslem

Burslem, ‘Mother town’ of The Potteries, is one of six towns that make up Stoke-on-Trent and dates back to at least 1085, when it appears listed in the Domesday Book. Thanks to the fine and abundant amounts of local clay that grace the area, a thriving pottery industry has existed in the market town since the 12th century; the rise, decline and revival of which has shaped the lives of its populace ever since.

Today, the wealth and fortune generated by the boom in global demand for Staffordshire pottery from the 18th through to the mid-20th century can be seen reflected in the many fine red brick buildings and architectural displays of civic pride that still dominate Burslem (check out the old town hall, for example) and which form the background to Arnold Bennett’s plays and novels. Despite the impact of globalisation, this unique heritage lives on still – the town containing Britain’s last real working industrial district.

If you’re visiting Burslem, don’t skip out the Burslem School of Art. Built on a site where pottery was made since the early Middle Ages, today the impressive purpose-built school constructed in 1853 has been converted into an arts centre with three public galleries, workshops and studio space, and temporarily housing Burslem public library while the Wedgewood Institute (striking for its Venetian Gothic architecture) is being renovated. This summer the School presents two major exhibitions; Common Ground (28 Jul-30 Aug) a solo show of work by Potteries-born contemporary artist Ian Mood, and Three Counties Open (28 Jul-30 Aug) featuring works by Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire artists.

While you’re there, check out Old Timers (21 Jul-16 Sep) at Barewell Art Gallery nearby, featuring the paintings of Stoke-on-Trent artist, poet and playwright Arthur Berry (nicknamed ‘the Lowry of The Potteries’) depicting local characters who lived through the Great War; and WHAT IS NOW (28 Jul-16 Sep), a six-stop arts trail featuring work by 12 new artists and curators in popup spaces throughout the town centre. Burslem as a whole will be alive and bursting with colour throughout August and into September with a 16 week-long RHS Poppy Flower Festival and plenty of bunting to mark the centenary of the First World War. An arts trail, There But Not There, has also been organised featuring war-related installations at Elim Church, St Johns Church and Burslem Park, and a WWI themed will Real Ale Trail will run until 11 Nov.

Elsewhere, catch a series of rare screenings from the Staffordshire Film Archive (12-3pm every Saturday) and a popup ‘Burslem in the 1860s museum’ (12-3pm every Friday) at the haunted Leopard Inn until 16 Sep; and check out MIDFEST arts festival (28 Jul, Middleport Park) and Burslem Unites music festival (1-3 Sep, Burslem Park and town centre). Lastly, be sure to squeeze in a trip to the time-forgotten Cherished Chimneys antique shop in Longport, stocking reclaimed chimney pots and other unusual items, and where the Brown Betty & Friends teapot exhibition will be on display (Aug-Sept); and take a stroll around the grade II* listed Burslem Park, which was restored to its former Victorian glory in 2012.

Discover more places to visit and things to do in Stoke-on-Trent this summer here.

Market PlaceStoke-on-TrentST6 4AT View map
Telephone: 01782236000 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • MondayOpen 24 hours
  • TuesdayOpen 24 hours
  • WednesdayOpen 24 hours
  • ThursdayOpen 24 hours
  • FridayOpen 24 hours
  • SaturdayOpen 24 hours
  • SundayOpen 24 hours

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

What's on near Burslem Town Square

Stock Party
Stock Party

A fun-packed, free entry block party in the heart of Stockport this summer. Expect beer, food and a stellar soundtrack.

free entry
New Order at Wythenshawe Park

New Order play an all-day outdoor concert at Wythenshawe Park alongside Manchester’s own Johnny Marr and adopted Manc Róisin Murphy.

from £61.60
Idles by Daniel Topete, image couresy of SONIC PR
Idles at The Apollo

Taking the power of love on the road, IDLES bring their latest album TANGK, their most ambitious and striking record yet, to Manchester.

from £42.15
Outdoor Art Club at The Whitworth

Enjoy fun and creative activities designed to encourage your little ones to play freely in the fresh air, while exploring nature and the outdoors with family and friends.

free entry

Where to go near Burslem Town Square

Middleport Pottery
Middleport Pottery

Built in 1888, the beautifully-conserved grade II* listed Middleport Pottery has been producing its world-famous Burleigh pieces for over 120 years. Today it is the only working Victorian pottery left in Stoke-on-Trent and a multi award-winning visitor attraction.

AirSpace Gallery

AirSpace Gallery is a collaborative, artist led project in Stoke-on-Trent, providing studio and exhibiting space as well as professional support and development opportunities for artists.

Bethesda Chapel, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent
Place of worship
Bethesda Chapel

Bethesda Methodist Chapel in Hanley is considered to be one of England’s grandest surviving town chapels – and it’s easy to see why.

Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

Home to the most significant collection of Staffordshire ceramics in the world and the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found, a visit to Stoke-upon-Trent is not complete without an afternoon whiled away in The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

City Central Library, Hanley

Described as “the finest and most distinctive example of Modernist architecture in Stoke-on-Trent”, City Central Library is Stoke-on-Trent’s largest library, home to the city archives.

Emma Bridgwater Factory, Stoke-on-Trent
Emma Bridgwater Factory

The pottery lover’s mecca, over 1.3 million Emma Bridgwater pieces are produced at the designer’s Stoke-on-Trent based factory every year – each one touched by over 30 deftly-skilled hands. Take an award-winning tour, visit the heavily discounted shop and have a go at producing your own earthenware masterpiece.

Stoke Minster, Stoke-on-Trent
Place of worship
Stoke Minster

Just a short walk from Stoke-on-Trent train station is Stoke Minster, believed to have once been an important Celtic religious site and where Christian worship has taken place since Saxon times.

Gladstone Pottery Museum Summer in Stoke on Trent
Gladstone Pottery Museum

The last complete Victorian pottery factory in Britain, Gladstone Pottery Museum in Longton provides a unique insight into the history of Stoke-on-Trent; an area renowned for its world-class pottery and ceramics.

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