There are plenty of reasons to visit East Staffordshire throughout the year, including the relaxing shopping experiences at Barton Marina, the serenity of Blithfield Reservoir, and the home of English football at St George's Park

The borough is also home to some of Staffordshire's best events too, where you can celebrate the area's history, pay tribute to fallen heroes and see some of our sporting greats in action.

Here are five to tempt you into a visit...

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

A quirky ritual dating back to 1226, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance certainly offers an entertaining day out!

After collecting the ancient reindeer antlers from St Nicholas Church in the morning, the 12 dancers including Maid Marian (a man in a dress), The Hobby-horse and The Fool, parade through Abbots Bromley and neighbouring villages, stopping at regular intervals to perform the dance.

We are not sure why it started. Some theories say it began to thank King Henry I for giving villagers the right to hunt. Others say it's a fertility ritual.

What we are sure of is it's the definition of a unique experience, and with exhibitions, stalls and the local pubs to enjoy too, it's well worth a visit.

Why not head over on Monday 10th September and take a look?

Ride to the Wall

The hugely popular Ride to the Wall, which takes place on Saturday 6th October this year, attracts thousands of motorcyclists to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.

Riders gather at 11 locations around the country, from Sheffield in the north to Bicester in the south, and head to the Arboretum to pay tribute to the 16,000 fallen servicemen and women named on the walls of the Armed Forces Memorial.

There are a range of activities taking place throughout the day, including the annual remembrance service, flypast, parachute drop and music from The Band of the Royal Corps of Signals. 

Since the first ride in 2008, Ride to the Wall has raised more than £600,000 for the National Memorial Arboretum. More than 7,000 bikers took part in the ride last year.

Details of the 2018 ride are available at the Ride to the Wall website: https://www.rttw.org/index.php

The Vintage Years Festival

If you like a spot of nostalgia then the Vintage Years Festival at the National Brewery Centre in Burton upon Trent is right up your street.

Taking place every June, it's a celebration of life in the post-war years, with loads to see and do including World War Two vehicles, a vintage tea shop, dance workshops and live music, not to mention the WW2 Memorial Flight (weather-permitting).

Combine your visit with a look at how the town became the centre of the UK brewing industry, with guided tours available, and discover one of the largest collections of brewing memorabilia in the country, including large elements of the original Bass Collection. 

End on a high by sampling some locally brewed ales in the William Worthington microbrewery, or exploring the huge range of beers from around the world in The Beer Boutique.

The Betfred Midlands Grand National

Since 1969, Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire has hosted The Betfred Midlands Grand National, one of the biggest jump races in the country.

The second longest steeplechase on the UK racing calendar, after the Aintree Grand National, it's a big hit with racegoers, attracting 16,000 punters each year.

And it's pretty popular with the owners and trainers too, as there is a prize pot worth £125,000 up for grabs!

The 2019 race takes place on Saturday 16th March, with tickets to be available soon at www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk.

It will also be broadcast live on ITV4.

(Image courtesy of Nigel Kirby Photography)

Screamfest

The spooktacular Screamfest, at the National Forest Adventure Farm near Burton upon Trent, brings terrifying scare mazes and hair raising live entertainment to East Staffordshire every October.

This year, enter the Freakout funhouse packed with creepy clowns, join the festival of the dead at Dia De Los Muertos, and pray you're not the one rejected at the Love Hurts speed-dating night.

If you'd rather steer clear of the award-winning scares, take on the zombies at Hill Billy Joe's Zombie Paintball Smash, or witness amazing extreme performances including fire jugglers and stilt walkers.

Opening on Thursday 11th October and running until Saturday 3rd November, Screamfest tickets are available now and prices start at £9 each. Visit www.screamfest.co.uk for more information.

For younger children, the Adventure Farm has lined up the Halloween Spooktacular with haunted house, broomstick training and the chance to pick your own pumpkin from their patch.

Other great events in East Staffordshire

There's something for everyone in the East Staffordshire event calendar! 

There's great live music at Uttoxeter Racecourse every summer, with the Acoustic Festival of Britain, Live Music Racedays, Ladies Day and more!

And the Ironman 70.3 triathlon every June sees thousands of competitors race through East Staffordshire villages like Yoxall, Newborough, and Marchington, on the 56 mile cycle leg.

For something a bit more peaceful and laidback, try the walking festival at the National Forest in May, featuring a host of walks for all ages and abilities to enjoy.

How to get to East Staffordshire

Centrally placed in the heart of the UK, it's easy to get to East Staffordshire.

There are mainline train stations at Burton upon Trent and Uttoxeter, offering regular services to Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby and Stoke-on-Trent.

And if you're travelling by road, the A50 and A38 offer speedy connections to the M1, M6, M6 Toll and M42. 

Related

Uttoxeter Racecourse
Racecourse
Wrights Grandstand

Uttoxeter Racecourse has something for everyone. Whether you are new to racing, like to enjoy a special day out or you are a loyal follower of the Sport of Kings, come along to Uttoxeter and you are guaranteed a day of fun and excitement.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
Historical Event
Walking through Abbots Bromley

The unique ritual dance is believed to have originated from hunting and fertility rites in the ancient Forest of Needwood, and is performed all day around the picturesque village of Abbots Bromley and surrounding countryside.

The National Brewery Centre
Industrial Heritage
Inside the Museum of Brewing History

The National Brewery Centre celebrates Burton upon Trent's proud brewing heritage and its influence worldwide. Enjoy the story of brewing by actors in period costume, multi-media interactive displays and hundreds of exhibits.

Ride to the Wall at the NMA
Car/Motorcycle Rally
Ride to the Wall

Now in its 9th year, this memorial ride to the National Memorial Arboretum, and service of Remembrance, is a moving tribute to remember the 16,000 people named on the Armed Forces Memorial.

Barton Marina
Marina
Barton Marina

Staffordshire’s unique canal-side attraction with something for everyone Barton Marina is the home of The Waterfront Pub and Restaurant, with super shopping facilities and fabulous walks around the marina, lakes and woodlands.

Blithfield Reservoir
Reservoir
Blithfield Reservoir

Blithfield is a large reservoir owned by the South Staffs Water PLC, situated approximately 4 miles North of Rugeley in Staffordshire. The reservoir is divided roughly in half by a causeway. One side is a nature reserve.

Hilton at St George's Park
Hotel
Outside the Hilton Hotel

Located in the national home of English Football, the Hilton at St George's Park boasts stylish guest rooms, exceptional cuisine and a luxurious health club and spa - the perfect choice for a special countryside get-away.

The National Forest
Forest or Woodland
Servants Bridge in the National Forest- photo by Philip Thorne.

The National Forest is England's most ambitious environmental project. In the Heart of England, across parts of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire more than 200 sq miles are being transformed to create a new forest.

National Forest Adventure Farm
Farm
Goats are great!

The National Forest Adventure Farm, awarded Silver for the Tourism Experience of the Year Award. Acres of fun for everyone, whatever the weather!