As Stoke-on-Trent is shortlisted as one of Channel 4's potential new homes, here are five reasons for you to visit Staffordshire's biggest city.

Whether you're looking for a day out with someone special or a short break with the family, there are plenty of options in The Potteries.

Festival in a Factory

The Stoke-on-Trent literary festival returns to the Victorian potbank, the Emma Bridgewater Factory, between June 7th and 9th.

Since the first festival in 2014, it has attracted big names, like novellist Nick Hornby, journalist Alastair Campbell and presenter Alexander Armstrong, and the 2018 event is no different.

Hear from best-selling chick lit author Sophie Kinsella as she discusses her hugely successful career and see Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith in conversation with Emma Bridgewater.

Opening the festival is the author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo, who will be talking about his new novel, In the Mouth of the Wolf, the true story of his uncle Francis Cammaerts and his experiences in the Resistance after World War Two.

In all there are 30 events to choose from, with panel discussions, story-telling, poetry and theatre also on the bill.

Tickets, priced at £8, are available from the New Vic Theatre, or the Festival in a Factory website.

Voala Station

If there's one thing you can be sure of in the Stoke-on-Trent summer, it is that Appetite Stoke will put together a visual outdoor spectacular unlike anything you've ever seen before.

Fresh from putting on the breath-taking Circolombia circus as part of the Philip Astley celebrations, it looks like the team has done it again with Voala Station, which promises to be an aerial extravaganza at Central Forest Park in Stoke-on-Trent city centre on July 27th and 28th.

The show, from the Argentinian company Voala, tells the story of four businessmen who miss their last train home, and come across a mysterious homeless woman who gives them a magical flower.

What follows is a mesmerising performance, full of unforgettable moments, unfolding against the Stoke-on-Trent night sky.

Standard adult tickets are available from £8.95 in advance, from the New Vic Theatre or the Appetite Stoke website.

Big Feast

Another of Appetite Stoke's summer projects is The Big Feast, a programme of street theatre, dance, comedy, live music and more over the August Bank Holiday Weekend (August 24th and 25th).

The annual arts extravaganza will return with performances including live ballet and opera from The Royal Opera House, acrobatics and parkour from NoFit State Circus, and the hilarious antics of Hunt & Darton and Wild n Beets.

It's all free and open to all, at various venues across Stoke-on-Trent city centre.

Details are limited at the moment but more will be announced in due course, so watch this space for more news!

Image courtesy of Andrew Billington Photography.

Waterworld

As well as the cultural extravaganzas offered by the Emma Bridgewater Factory and Appetite Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent is home to somewhere you can really make a splash, the Waterworld aqua park.

Packed with tropical fun for the whole family, Waterworld is the UK's Number One aqua park, attracting more than 400,000 visitors a year, who flock to The Potteries to brave The Nucleus and The Space Bowl, tackle the toddler slides and scramble nets in the Jungle House, or just relax in the jacuzzi and bubble pool. 

The park regularly hosts events for those with additional needs too, where admission is restricted to give those with disabilities and their families easy access to the pool and attractions.

This summer will see additional needs family events, which are wheelchair and SEN friendly, on June 2nd and August 11th.

Details are available at the Waterworld website.

Monkey Forest

No blog about great days out in Stoke-on-Trent would be complete without a mention of the unique Monkey Forest.

With more than 140 Barbary macaque monkeys roaming freely in the lush, green woodland, the Monkey Forest is the only place in the UK where visitors and monkeys can share the same enclosure.

Chuckle at the young mischievous monkeys as they swing and leap around, watch them tuck into their fruit at the hourly feeding talks, quiz the knowledgeable guides about their behaviour, or just unwind with a relaxing stroll along the 3/4mile pathway - the choice is yours!

For an even more special experience, you could try the Breakfast with the Monkeys package, which gives VIP behind-the-scenes access to the park before it opens to the public.

Details are available on the Monkey Forest website, and you can watch our reporter Rich experiencing it for himself in this short video.

Other things to see and do in Stoke-on-Trent

Known as The Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent is regarded as the World Capital of Ceramics, with many working pottery factories to explore and factory shops offering great bargains.

Discover glorious gardens and quirky shopping experience at The Trentham Estate.

Or go back in time at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, home of great works of art, the Staffordshire Hoard, and the magnificent Spitfire, designed by Stoke-on-Trent's very own Reginald Mitchell.

How to get to Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent is easily accessed by road, being close to the M6 - use Junction 15 or 16 - and the M1 via the A50.

Stoke-on-Trent train station also offers regular services to London Euston, Birmingham, Manchester and other major cities.

Related

Emma Bridgewater Factory
Heritage Centre
Emma Bridgewater's Victorian Factory

Come and visit the Emma Bridgewater factory in the heart of the Potteries. Take a factory tour or decorate your own pottery then relax for lunch in our kitchen cafe and finally visit our gift shop

Appetite
Live Entertainment
A Christmas Love Story painted in the Sky by Cirque Bijou featuring the Bullzini Family. Photo by Andrew Billington Photography.

Appetite aims to get more people in Stoke-on-Trent to experience and be inspired by the arts.

Waterworld
Aqua Park
Safely down the ride

Water World is an Aqua Park built around a wave pool with slides, rides, flumes and features available. There is plenty to do for all ages, weak and strong swimmers and open all year round

Trentham Monkey Forest
Wildlife Park
Trentham Monkey Forest

Come and enjoy the unique Monkey Forest where you can walk amongst wild Barbary macaques living in total freedom in 60 acres of Staffordshire forest.

The Trentham Estate
Garden
The Italian garden with lake beyond at the Trentham Estate, Stoke-on-Trent.

Peace and quiet, fun and action - there's something for everyone at The Trentham Estate. Spend quality family time in the internationally renowned, award-winning Trentham Gardens, Shopping Village, Trentham Monkey Forest.

The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Museum
Front of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery

Discover the world famous Staffordshire Hoard along with the history of the Potteries, including the world's greatest collection of Staffordshire Ceramics. See a Spitfire and all sorts of art and craft.