Trentham Gardens, Stone Rd, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 8JG – Visit Now
Comprising of 725 acres of land set within a glorious stretch of North Staffordshire countryside on the southern fringe of Stoke-on-Trent, the award-winning visitor attraction Trentham Estate is the last remnant of one of England’s greatest garden estates.
The earliest record of Trentham can be traced back to the Domesday Book in 1086, where it is listed as a royal manor. Since then it has experienced a colourful history; becoming embroiled in the religious turmoil of the Reformation, passing between many of the most important families in the country, and undergoing numerous alterations and complete redesigns by many of the leading landscapers and architects of the day, including Sir Charles Barry. After the estate was sold by the Sutherland Family in 1911 it opened to the public and eventually became a famous venue for entertainment with a popular ballroom, Art Deco lido and dance hall and hosting legendary performances by bands including The Beatles.
Today, the historic estate and gardens have undergone a major, widely-acclaimed programme of regeneration and restoration. Outdoors, visitors can enjoy the floral-labyrinths of the Italian Gardens revived by a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist, take a stroll around the mile-long Capability-Brown designed lake (complete with eco-friendly catamaran Miss Elizabeth, which departs every hour, five days a week in summer, £2), explore atmospheric woodland trails and admire Nigel Dunnett’s Annual Meadows featuring giant dandelion sculptures. Nature lovers will undoubtedly be fans of the Trentham Monkey Forest (£8.50 adults, £6.50 children) – be sure to catch one of the lively feeding talks given every hour! – and the UK’s only barefoot walk (based on the historic principles of Sebastian Kneipp, one of the forefathers of the naturopathic medicine movement), while younger visitors should keep their eyes peeled for Titania and her 14 friends along the magical Trentham Fairy Tale.
Indoors, the Italian Garden Tearoom serves up delicious traditional Staffordshire oatcakes in an idyllic setting, and the timber lodge Trentham Shopping Village houses 77 shops and 18 cafés.