With an exciting new designer shopping experience on the way, and many more highlights, there's no better time to visit Staffordshire than in 2020!

Here are 10 reasons why Staffordshire should be top of your list this year.

World of David Walliams coming to Alton Towers

Some of David Walliams' best-loved characters will be brought to life in a brand new project at Alton Towers Resort, to open in Spring 2020.

The theme park has been working with the comedian, actor and best-selling author, and HarperCollins Children's Books for two years to create a ground-breaking, unique headline attraction.

And there will also be a number of other attractions and characters taking residence across the theme park and resort's hotels.

Sign up to be the first for updates by visiting www.altontowers.com/Walliams or following @AltonTowers across social media. More information about the arrival of ‘The World of David Walliams’ at Alton Towers will be released soon.  

For those who simply can’t wait until then, the Alton Towers 2020 Season Pass is already on sale!

For just £58 guests can pay for a day and come back all year. (Exclusions apply. For full terms and conditions visit https://www.altontowers.com/tickets-passes/season-annual-passes/season-pass/

Shop big brands at huge new designer outlet village

A highly-anticipated retail destination featuring big name retailers, cafes and restaurants will open its doors this year.

Phase One of McArthur Glen West Midlands, in Cannock, is due for completion in Autumn 2020, bringing 80 premium and luxury brands, offering huge discounts all year round, plus great places to eat, and a children's play area.

Once open, the £160m development is expected to create 1000 jobs and attract visitors to Staffordshire from across the region, bringing more than £3m a year into the local economy.

It will be McArthur Glen's 7th site in the UK, alongside the likes of Cheshire Oaks, and 26th in total.

Details of the iconic brands and high street favourites have not yet been announced, but those at Cheshire Oaks include All Saints, Barbour, Joule's, Michael Kors and Yo! Sushi.

State-of-the-art exhibition coming to Tamworth Castle

An exciting new interactive exhibition, paying tribute to the region’s rich Anglo-Saxon heritage, will open at Tamworth Castle in summer 2020.

Funded in large part by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the new £768,050 ‘Battle and Tribute’ display will turn the top floor of the castle into an interactive exhibition, bringing Tamworth’s dramatic and exciting Anglo-Saxon history to life.

This will include the creation of a mead hall, an immersive combat film experience and a unique touch-table battle strategy game.

As part of the exhibition, Tamworth Castle will be getting even more pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard to display alongside items from the castle’s collection.

It will explore many exciting aspects of the Staffordshire Hoard including themes of battle, Kingship and the warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia.

The state-of-the-art Battle and Tribute exhibition promises to be unlike anything Tamworth Castle has ever seen before, and will celebrate the role of Aethelflaed, the town’s famous warrior queen and daughter of Alfred the Great, and provide the perfect showcase for an increased number of items from the Staffordshire Hoard.

The exhibition will be launched with an Anglo-Saxon event for the whole family in the summer. To stay updated, visit www.tamworthcastle.co.uk.

Huge new family attraction on Staffordshire farm

Families looking for a day out in the countryside will be in for a treat in 2020, with Penkridge’s Lower Drayton Farm set to launch an exciting new attraction in Spring.

Open year-round, the new attraction will feature a huge indoor playbarn, an additional undercover play area with go-karts and ride-on toys, and outdoor adventure play, alongside farming-related activities including small animal handling and the chance to learn about the large animals that call the farm home.

The indoor soft play will feature a dedicated toddler zone with a farm-themed role play area to encourage imaginative as well as physical play, while the massive main playframe – aimed at ages 5+ - will boast the longest indoor slide in the country, a gravity ‘drop’ slide, and an astroturf sport pitch.

But the experience will be about more than playing – Farmers Ray and Richard are keen to help visitors learn about farming and the conservation work that goes alongside it – seasonal farm trailer rides, talks and tours will give families the chance to engage and learn about where their food comes from in a fun environment.

School and group visits, children’s birthday parties and seasonal events will be on offer throughout the year. To discover more head to www.lowerdraytonfarm.co.uk

A world exclusive exhibition and more

The V&A Collection at World of Wedgwood (formerly the Wedgwood Museum) is exhibiting a unique collection of the Etruria factory’s production models, dating back to the time of Josiah Wedgwood I (1730-95).

Rarely shown to the public, and never before seen as a collection, the Precision & Skill Exhibition will see these skilfully executed models open a window to the world of 18th and 19th century Wedgwood prestige production. 

This world exclusive exhibition is on display from 6 January to 31 March 2020, free entry every day.

Also new for 2020, is the addition of a Waterford area, featuring world-class crystal and a stunning jewellery collection, to the world's largest Wedgwood retail space, complementing an abundance of inspiring displays of luxury fine bone china crockery, dinner sets, home décor, jasperware and beautiful gifts. 

The 75th Anniversary of VE Day & VJ Day

In May, the National Memorial Arboretum will host a special service of Remembrance 75 years since peace was declared in Europe.

The event on 8th May, free to all, will begin a three-day programme of activity to remember those from across the Commonwealth who served, and will celebrate both the contribution made at home and away on the front line.

The event will also remember the ongoing events in the Far East where fighting continued until August 1945.

A vintage fair on the 9th & 10th May will spark memories of yesteryear and will provide the perfect treat for lovers of vintage finds, with live music and plenty of activities for families.

And on 15th August, the UK's National VJ Day event will take place at the NMA.

The Royal British Legion is to provide a 3 day fully funded transport and hotel programme for all World War II veterans and war widows. Descendants of veterans are also welcome to join on a self-funding basis.

A Marvellous Line-up at the New Vic Theatre

Staffordshire’s theatre-in-the-round, the New Vic Theatre, presents an exciting and ambitious programme of shows for 2020 including Marvellous, a tribute to local legend Neil Baldwin.

The epic tale about ‘Nello’ is a life-affirming, uplifting account about how to realise your dreams even when society tries to limit you with a label. Filled with fun, this new production, coming to the New Vic in September, is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

Tragi-comedy Two, set in a Potteries-inspired pub, will open the season before their revival of madcap caper The 39 Steps reunites the cast of the popular 2019 production for more madness and mayhem this March!

An extraordinary retelling of Angela Carter’s iconic fantasy The Company of Wolves marks one of the theatre’s most ambitious projects to date in May, ending the season on an incredible high before work begins to transform the auditorium – the first major redevelopment since the theatre opened 30 years ago.

This rare staging of the gripping horror story looks set to be a drama of enticing proportions - imaginatively staged, filled with evocative soundscapes and spectacular aerial sequences.

Great live music & DJs at Uttoxeter Racecourse

Uttoxeter Racecourse have revealed a fantastic line-up of music in 2020, with a full spectrum of live music and DJ performances across many of the year's race fixtures in 2020.

The action-packed entertainment schedule includes 80s legends Rick Astley and Martin Kemp, crowd-pleasing tribute act Complete Madness, rising Midlands talents The Foaming Pints and Radio Murphy, and more still to be announced.

A great climax to an exhilerating day of racing!

Also, for the 11th year, the racecourse will host The Acoustic Festival of Britain from Friday May 29th until May 31st 2020.

Over 30 artists will perform including Lindisfarne, Sad Café, Climax Blue’s Band, BBC Radio 2 Mark Radcliffe and for the punk lovers The Accoustic Buzzcocks, Charlie Harper and TV Smith.

To view a full line up and to purchase tickets please visit https://www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on/acoustic-festival-of-britain

New arrivals at Peak Wildlife Park

In Spring 2020, Peak Wildlife Park is set to open a brand new area for visitors to explore, with the Midlands' first-ever Red Squirrel Walkthrough!

The new area will immerse guests into the Red Squirrels habitat, allowing them to come face to face with one of the UK’s most endangered native species, which has been under threat since the 1870s, when the first Grey Squirrels were released into their habitat.

The Grey Squirrels brought new pressures and challenges for the Red Squirrels to face, including disease and increased competition for food.

Unfortunately, the Reds have been unable to adapt and compete, in turn causing a dramatic decline in the total number of individuals, which now deems this species in real danger of becoming extinct.

Peak Wildlife Park is hoping that through breed and release programmes, population management and education, that they along with other establishments throughout the UK can save this wonderful species and hope to one day see them thriving again across the country.

Keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page and website at www.peakwildlifepark.co.uk for updates.

New golf attraction to open at Waterworld

Coming soon to Waterworld, Stoke-on-Trent's exhilerating water park, is a brand new indoor attraction for all budding Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroys.

Work is currently underway on Adventure Island Mini Golf, which will feature two themed 18 hole crazy golf courses, and complement the wet and wild adventures of the neighbouring aqua park.

It's all part of a major expansion, which has seen the thrilling Thunderbolt - the UK's first trap door drop water flume - open, along with Stormchaser, Hurricane and Cyclone, plus an upgraded wave machine in the pool. 

Plus there's a brand new state-of-the-art digital locker system, and later this year, a gym and spa area, play zone, and running track to be added! 

Watch this space and our Facebook and Twitter pages for news on the official opening date.

And there's more too!

If that were not enough, there are big developments coming at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and Churnet Valley Railway, the new Joule's Brewery visitor centre in Stone, and great live music from the likes of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at Cannock Chase.

Head to our What's On section for more information, while our Things to Do section has everything you need to know about things to do in Staffordshire.

Related

Lower Drayton Farm
Farm
Maize Maze Corn field

This working farm offers family days out at its 'Fun Farm Adventure' alongside paint balling, clay pigeon shooting & other group activities. It also plays host of seasonal events including a music festival & fireworks display.

World of Wedgwood
Pottery Visitor Centre
World of Wedgwood exterior

The World of Wedgwood, a unique visitor experience celebrating the very best of British industrial and design heritage. Experience Wedgwood for the day through shopping, food and visitor tours.

National Memorial Arboretum
Arboretum
National Memorial Arboretum

Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Business Events Venue of the Year 2019. The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK's year-round centre of Remembrance. The 150 acre site, located in Staffordshire, features over 330 thought-provoking memorials for both military and civilian associations in  more than 150-acres of maturing woodland and gardens.

New Vic Theatre
Theatre
New Vic Auditorium

A world famous theatre-in-the-round presenting plays, musicals, concerts, and more. Facilities include a restaurant, bars, and onsite parking.

Uttoxeter Racecourse
Racecourse
Uttoxeter Racecourse hosts 25 race days each year.

Winner- Bronze Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Business Events Venue of the Year 2019.. 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.

Tamworth Castle
Castle
Tamworth Castle

A visit to Tamworth Castle takes you back in time and offers a perfect blend of fascinating history, regular live events and a stunningly complete building.

Alton Towers Resort
Theme Park
Alton Towers Resort

Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2019. ​​​​​​​Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award 2019. ​​​​​​​Winner - Silver Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award 2019. Alton Towers Resort is Britain’s Greatest Escape and home to the UK’s favourite theme park with endless family fun and ground-breaking rollercoasters.

Peak Wildlife Park
Wildlife Park
Watching the penguins fly underwater

Winner- Bronze Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Experience of the Year 2019. Get up-close and personal with four brand new animal walk-through. Inspire your kids and let them come face to face with lemurs, penguins, wallabies and more!

Waterworld
Aqua Park
Safely down the ride

Highly Commended - Enjoy Staffordshire Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2019. 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