To mark the launch of the route of the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon, which will finish in Stafford town centre for the first time, here are five fantastic events to enjoy in our bustling county town!

IRONMAN 70.3

This gruelling 70.3 mile triathlon has attracted over 6000 athletes to Staffordshire since the first race in 2015, and is expected to bring another 2000 into the county on June 10th 2018.

The final leg - a 13.1 mile run - will take place on the streets of Stafford, passing sights like the historic Ancient High House, through the beautiful Victoria Park and along the picturesque River Sow.

There promises to be a lively atmosphere in town on the day - why not come along and cheer them on?

You could enjoy a tasty treat at The Bear Grill or savour a locally-brewed ale at The Sun Inn - the current Taste of Staffordshire Pub of the Year - at the same time!

Stafford Cheese & Ale Festival

Talking of fabulous food and drink, there's nowhere better to celebrate the best local produce than Stafford Cheese & Ale Festival.

One of Stafford's biggest events, the Cheese & Ale Festival features celebrity chefs, demonstrations, live entertainment, and stalls showcasing cheeses, breads, chutneys, ales, ciders and more!

Highlights from this year's event included a gin festival, live music at The Swan, and Jean Christophe Novelli's memorable cook-off against Staffordshire's own Matt Davies.

And the 2018 event, due to take place in June, will be bigger and better!

Rock n Roll Panto at Stafford Gatehouse

This popular panto is one of the highlights of the festivities in Stafford, and this year will be no different, with Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood getting the rock n roll treatment!

Combining classic rock and soul tunes with the traditional panto fun makes a real Christmas treat for all the family.

Sing along with Born to Run, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Signed, Sealed, Delivered, while Robin tries to rescue the Babes from the clutches of the Sheriff of Nottingham!

The show opens on Thursday 7th December and runs until Sunday 7th January. Tickets are available from the Stafford Gatehouse box office.

Stafford Festival Shakespeare

Once the panto is out of the way, the team at the Stafford Gatehouse will turn their attention to the Stafford Festival Shakespeare - they're producing the show once again in 2018.

Following on from the critically-acclaimed run of The Tempest, SFS returns to the stunning surroundings of Stafford Castle, which are sure to be a perfect backdrop for the story of Macbeth.

Described as a 'supernatural feast for the senses', the festival promises to examine the worst traits of humankind as it tells the tale of Macbeth's rise to power and dramatic fall from grace.

The festival runs from Thursday 28th June to Saturday 14th July 2018.

To Die For? at Ancient High House

Visit the Ancient High House this December and discover what it was like to be a real fashion victim at the To Die For? exhibition.

Travel back through the centuries as you explore the clothing which lead to deadly health problems for many, all in the name of looking their best. Imagine your internal organs being crushed by a corset, or your feet distorted by ill-fitting high heels!

Afterwards, take some time to wander around the magnificent Tudor building, the largest remaining timber framed town house in England which dates back to 1595.

The To Die For? exhibition runs until Saturday 30th December.

Other things to see and do in Stafford

Celebrate the life of one of Stafford's most famous sons at Izaak Walton's Cottage. Born around 1594, Izaak Walton is most well-known for The Compleat Angler, the historic tome on the joys of fishing published in 1653.

Browse the independent stores and well-known brands on Stafford's Greengate Street, or the Riverside development packed with big name stores and restaurants.

Bag a bargain at Stafford Farmers Market, offering the very best local produce on the second Saturday of the month (not including January).

How to get to Stafford

Stafford is a well-connected town, with the M6 a short drive away (use Junction 13 or 14) and the train station offering regular services to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol and London.

Related

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Theatre
Outside the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is a lively, thriving venue in the centre of Stafford offering a huge range of shows.

Ancient High House
Historic House
Ancient High House

Take a walk through time in the largest remaining timber-framed town house in England which was built in 1595. Period room settings reflect the fascinating history of the house and also houses the museum of the Staffordshire Yeomanry.

The Bear Grill
Bistro
Inside The Bear Grill

The Bear Grill have created a nutritious sophisticated product using the best and freshest ingredients available. Innovative and exotic combinations bring together the freshest produce to maximise flavour.

The Sun Inn
Public House
The pub bar area

Are you looking for exceptional food, friendly staff and a vibrant atmosphere in the heart of Stafford? If so, then The Sun Inn should be your first port of call. Our premium range of refreshments includes 10 real Cask Ales.

Izaak Walton's Cottage
Historic House
Izaak Walton Cottage from the road

Thatched timber framed 16th century cottage bequeathed to the people of Staford by the celebrated author Izaak Walton. it is home to a small angling museum, herb garden and tea room. Also a venue for small exclusive weddings.

The Swan Hotel
Townhouse Hotel
Front o the Swan Hotel

In the heart of Stafford Town Centre boasting 31 luxurious bedrooms, the Swan Hotel is a unique venue offering high levels of customer service.

Stafford Farmers' Market
Farmers Market
Farmers' market in the town centre of Stafford

Goods for sale are bread and cakes, oatcakes, plants and flowers, wines, jams and preserves, fresh meat, sausages, bacon, black pudding chicken, eggs and scotch eggs, fruit and vegetables, fish, pastries, jewellery, chocolate

Stafford Castle and Visitor Centre
Castle
Stafford Castle from the air

An impressive example of the motte and bailey system. The site itself extends to over 26 acres and consists of Keep, inner bailey, outer bailey, woodland, herb garden, visitor centre and car park. Stafford Castle is considered one of the best surviving examples of Norman earthworks in the country.