Been inspired by Channel 4's The Great Pottery Throwdown?

Here are five great pottery experiences in Stoke-on-Trent, the home of the show, put together by Staffordshire bloggers Typical Mummy, Otis and Us, The KA Edit, and Are We There Yet Kids. 

World of Wedgwood, by Typical Mummy

Wedgwood is probably one of the most famous pottery manufacturers in the world, and for hundreds of years the company has held an extremely important position in the “creative county” of Staffordshire.

A visit to the World of Wedgwood is, therefore, a fascinating experience.

You can learn all about the history of the company and over 250 years of British ceramic production in the Wedgwood Museum, and view the stunning Wedgwood Collection, one of the most important industrial collections in the world.

You can also go on a Factory Tour to see the artistry, skills and techniques in action and then have a go yourself, creating your own ceramic design in the Decorating Studio or throwing your own pot (which is great fun!) in the Master Craft Studio.

Once you’ve finished your creations why not reward yourself with a fabulous Afternoon Tea in the Wedgwood Tea Room or have a meal in the Dining Hall, before exploring the Wedgwood Store or the Factory Outlet shop to buy yourself something special before heading home.

We visited World of Wedgwood as a family and there really is something for everyone; whether you’re aged 4 or 104, I guarantee that you will have a fantastic time!

Thanks to Typical Mummy for this! You can read about her other Staffordshire adventures with the kids at her blog. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too.

Image: Ella Jones

Gladstone Pottery Museum, by Are We There Yet Kids

Nothing beats the feeling of getting hands on and throwing your own pot. It’s a chance to get creative, learn a new skill and you’ll have a lovely new ornament when you're done.

For me, there is no better place to do it than Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke on Trent. 

Gladstone is the last Victorian pottery factory in the UK and that sense of history will follow you throughout your visit.

You can explore the original bottle kilns, walk the cobbled pathways and get a feel for what life was like for factory workers back in the 1800’s. 

Our favourite part of the visit was of course the chance to get hands on and create our own pottery masterpiece.

Throwing a pot is not as easy as it looks but Gladstone has some very helpful potters on hand to guide you through the process.

Once you’re happy with your handiwork they’ll box it up for you to take home, dry and design as you wish.

If you don’t fancy getting covered in clay you can visit the slightly less messy painting area to decorate a pre made piece. 

Hands on activities at Gladstone cost a few pounds extra on top of your entry fee but it is well worth it to have a souvenir to remember your visit.

For a more detailed pottery lesson, Gladstone hold Raku workshops where you'll learn about this Japanese process, glazing and firing your own pot to take home.

Read more about visiting Gladstone Pottery Museum at https://www.arewethereyetkids.com/blog/260-visiting-gladstone-pottery-museum-in-stoke-with-kids 

Image: Karen Quinn

Middleport Pottery, by Otis and Us

Middleport Pottery is an award winning pottery factory in the heart of Stoke on Trent.

We often visit the ‘play with clay’ event in the school holidays. The event is not bookable which means you can turn up on the day. 

If you head to the reception you can pay for a bag of clay, and an optional bag of glittery accessories and pipe cleaners that the kids will need to make their clay creations!

Play with clay is suitable for all ages and there is alway someone on hand to answer any questions.

Aprons are available and toilets and hand washing is nearby - always good to know when you have little children.

After a couple of hours with the clay we like to take a stroll around the Middleport studios just outside in the courtyard, followed by homemade cake and a drink in the tearooms.

The tearooms are located beside the Trent and Mersey canal and offer locally sourced and freshly prepared food.

They can also accommodate guests with special dietary requirements and you can book a lovely afternoon tea if you really want to treat yourself.

Middleport Pottery offers family fun for all ages and is somewhere we love to visit with our children aged 3, 5 and 9. 

There are more top suggestions for cheap or free things to do in Staffordshire with kids on this Otis and Us blog: https://otisandus.co.uk/cheap-or-free-things-to-do-in-staffordshire-with-kids/

Image: Katy Stern

Emma Bridgewater Factory, by The KA Edit

A trip to the Emma Bridgewater Factory decorating studio (and cafe) is always our first day out during the School holidays.

It’s one of those activities that is first on our list and honestly our favourite mummy and son activity to do together. Have you been?

Recently we painted a bowl, we’ve also decorated plates with our favourite being a Spooky dinner plate for Halloween.

It’s such a fun time together and a great way to spend a morning or afternoon. I love that the EB team theme the sponges around certain times of the year.

The sponges are a great way to allow the children to express themselves, George loves to theme his painting each time and has so much fun with them. And, there is less opportunity for paint to splash everywhere!

I have to say no trip to the decorating studio would be so without visiting the café afterwards where you get to drink coffee and eat cake off Emma Bridgewater pottery. Always a treat.

The adults enjoy a few quiet moments whilst the children complete the free activity trail.

Top Tips: Look out for seasonal offers at the studio. Book in advance as slots go quickly. Book an early time as in my experience they are less busy. Do look out for the free activity trails as they are fun to take part in. Book the factory tour as it’s a great way to learn how the pottery is produced.

For more great days out with the kids in Staffordshire, check out https://lifeasourlittlefamily.com/2020/02/10-days-out-in-staffordshire-february-half-term/

Image: Kerri-Ann Hargreaves

LoveClay Ceramics Centre

If you've fallen in love with ceramics after watching The Great Pottery Throwdown, and want to take pottery up as a hobby, the LoveClay Ceramics Centre is bound to have something for you.

It's the hub of activity, home to a host of courses and other attractions, whether you are stepping to the potter's wheel for the first time or an experienced studio potter.

Themed events, such as Mother's Day Flower Making and the Ceramic Easter Egg Workshop, make clay accessible to anyone who'd just like to have a go, while there are monthly decorating sessions for designing, glazing and firing your own designs.

With the help of master potter and craftsman Jon French, in the modern state-of-the-art Love Clay Studio, you can start your journey with a one-hour Throw a Pot session, or take a Beginners Throwing Course (one-day and two-day options available).

For the more experienced potter, there are evening and weekday courses to develop your skills, and professional masterclasses with experts like Mark Smith, where you can discover the techniques of maritime sculpture.

Away from the potter's wheel, the centre is also a great place to visit for any lover of art and ceramics, with a delightful gallery and exhibition space featuring pieces from the LoveClay collection and regular installations from well-known ceramic artists and the best newcomers.

The Throw Open Weekend

A host of Stoke-on-Trent attractions, including some of those mentioned here, are taking part in Throw Open this weekend (Saturday 14th-Sunday 15th March 2020).

There are tons of activities at World of Wedgwood, Gladstone Pottery Museum, Middleport Pottery, Emma Bridgewater, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, and Trentham Estate - find out more at https://www.visitstoke.co.uk/throw-open

Related

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.

Gladstone Pottery Museum
Pottery Visitor Centre
Throwing a pot

Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Small Visitor Attraction of the Year 2019. Winner - Silver Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Experience of the Year 2019. (Raku Workshop) Winner - Bronze Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Ethical, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism Award 2019. Highly Commended - Enjoy Staffordshire Accessible & Inclusive Tourism Award 2019. The only complete Victorian pottery factory with original workshops, huge bottle ovens, cobbled yard, tile gallery, Doctor's House and Flushed with Pride - the story of the toilet. Visit the gift shop for handmade pottery,books and gifts.

Middleport Pottery
Pottery Visitor Centre
Middleport Pottery

Winner - Gold Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Experience of the Year 2019. (Historic Narrowboat Experience) Middleport Pottery, home of Burleigh, is an exciting visitor destination in the heart of Burslem, the Mother Town of the Potteries. World famous Burleigh pottery has been created here using traditional methods since 1889.

Emma Bridgewater Factory
Pottery Visitor Centre
Emma Bridgewater Factory

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

LoveClay Ceramics Centre
Pottery Visitor Centre
Valentine Clay's new HQ

Love Clay is a ceramics centre, located at Valentine Clays headquarters, focusing on a new visitor experience that promotes the importance of clay to the ceramics industry and Stoke-on-Trent. Love Clay comprises a contemporary gallery, exhibition space, workshops and events.