With the IRONMAN 70.3 race around the corner and summer fast approaching, there's loads to see and do in Stafford. Here are five great events to enjoy in the county town this year!

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 in and around Stafford town centre, passing sights like the historic Ancient High House, through the beautiful Victoria Park and along the picturesque River Sow.

It will finish in the Market Square for the first time this year, and 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 Swan Hotel 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 last 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 from June 15th to 17th, will be bigger and better!

Stafford Festival Shakespeare

As well as sport and food & drink, Stafford is packed with cultural events throughout the year, including the Stafford Festival Shakespeare which returns in June and July.

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.

Rock n Roll Panto at Stafford Gatehouse

One of Stafford's Christmas highlights, the long-running rock n roll panto is back in December, with their take on Dick Whittington!

Sing along with classics like Dead Ringer for Love, Gimme Some Lovin, and Ain't No Mountain High Enough, and enjoy traditional panto fun in a real festive family treat. 

Follow Dick and his furry friend Tommy the Cat on their journey to Stafford in the search for fame and fortune.

The show runs from Friday 7th December to Sunday 6th January.

Tickets are available now from the Stafford Gatehouse box office, priced at £20 adults and £15.50 concessions.

Staffordshire Cycling Festival

While the Stafford Half Marathon and, from this year, the IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon, bring thousands of runners onto the streets of the county town, there's also a place for cyclists too - the Staffordshire Cycling Festival.

Back for a sixth year, this pulsating event combines short Grand Prix races featuring professional riders with two long distance sportives open to anyone who fancies taking on the challenge.

With a capacity of 500 riders, the sportives cover 39 miles and 62 miles, starting and finishing in the town centre.

Definitely not for the faint-hearted! But your efforts will be rewarded with a look at some of Stafford's most picturesque villages and countryside. Details of how to enter are available at https://ridestaffs.co.uk/staffs-cycling-festival/

If you would rather watch the action, there will be plenty of entertainment including live, big screen Tour de France coverage.

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.

Around the same time as Izaak Walton's birth, construction began on the Ancient High House in Stafford town centre. A magnificent Tudor building which dates back to 1595, it is the only remaining timber framed town house in England.

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 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.

Macbeth - Stafford Festival Shakespeare
Play - Shakespeare
Macbeth - Stafford Festival Shakespeare

Inspired by today’s cultural thirst for supernatural and historical fiction genres (e.g. Game of Thrones, The Tudors, Wolf Hall and the Harry Potter series), Stafford Festival Shakespeare 2018 will offer audiences a sensual, vital, highly visual and visceral production with a vibrant score. A supernatural feast for the senses, #Macbeth2018will examine naked ambition, deception, jealousy and the worst traits of humankind – in a Scotland rich with warriors, witchcraft and diabolical dark deeds.