Family blogger Emma, author of lifestyle blog Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs, gives us her insight into her 10 favourite Staffordshire family attractions and days out.

I'm a mum to 3 boys aged 6 years and under, we live in the market town of Leek and we feel so lucky that Staffordshire has so much on offer for families.

My boys are never happier than when we are out on an adventure for the day. Here are 10 of our favourite family attractions from across the county that we have personally tried and tested, and highly recommend visiting.

Child moulding clay at Middleport Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursMiddleport Pottery

As we are talking Staffordshire then there had to be one clay-based attraction listed really, didn’t there?

Middleport Pottery is a great way to introduce children to the heritage of the local area while keeping them engaged and entertained.

We have visited Middleport Pottery on several occasions attending events including Play with Clay days which are an inexpensive but fun activity for any age group that allows you to release your creativity.

There is a lovely on-site tearoom serving both hot and cold food and beverages, where you can enjoy views of the Trent and Mersey canal.

Look out for 'Steam Days' when the steam engine is in operation, guided walks and narrow boat trips too.


My boys love animals so visiting places where they can pet or learn about them are always a hit. The following are places where you can easily spend a full day out as they offer a little bit more than your average farm or zoo.

Monkey in Tree at Trentham Monkey Forest, Staffordshire. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursTrentham Monkey Forest

Trentham Monkey Forest is a day out with a difference. If you’ve ever watched Jurassic Park then the tall fencing and gate that leads to the enclosure will seem familiar - although not quite as scary as a rogue T-Rex the 140 Barbary Macaques are securely contained within the 60 acres of beautiful ancient woodland that they now call home.

Unlike zoo enclosures the monkeys here roam freely through the woodland environment giving visitors the opportunity to watch them behave as they would in the wild, and if you’re lucky a monkey may actually wander across the path right in front of you! Trentham Monkey Forest aims to provide visitors with a unique, interesting and educational experience, while raising awareness of the conservation of endangered wild Barbary macaques.

Food and drinks aren’t allowed in the monkey enclosure but it’s easy to pop out and stop for lunch, toilet trips or a cuppa. Picnics are welcomed and there is ample outdoor seating with 2 outdoor playgrounds. The Trentham Estate is just next door and if you plan on visiting both attractions on the same day, discounted tickets are available.


Children interact with a wallaby at Peak Wildlife Park, Staffordshire. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & Dinosaurs.Peak Wildlife Park

This is a zoo experience with a difference. Instead of viewing animals in their enclosures and cages, at Peak Wildlife Park you enter the enclosures to interact with them.

A firm favourite with my boys is the penguin viewing area where you can watch them swimming under the water and diving for fish at feeding time.

Tip – take some tinfoil with you and scrunch it up into a ball, if you move it around in front of the glass the penguins come over to investigate thinking it’s a fish!

There is also an indoor softplay area with its own Asian Short-clawed Otter viewing station. Back outside you will find the Jungle Bounce bouncy castle which is the largest bouncy castle in Staffordshire. This, coupled with the large sand pit, jungle gym and space hoppers means that there will always be something to entertain your little ones.


Boy playing in the giant sand pit at National Forest Adventure Farm, Staffordshire. Image courtsey Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursNational Forest Adventure Farm

There is so much to do here that we are spoilt for choice. We love visiting the guinea pigs and rabbits in the barn for a quick cuddle before heading out to the outdoor play area which has all sorts of exciting activities like mini golf, go karting, bouncy pillows and our particular favourite the JCB Big Dig Zone. But the bit we like best is the bumpiest too - who doesn't love a tractor ride?

There is also a huge indoor play barn with drop slides, an under 5's area and café. The National Forest Adventure Farm also run some brilliant seasonal events like a dinosaur maize maze and coming up later this month 'Fantasia Farm' where you can meet fairies and unicorns too.


If you are looking for something a little more adventurous head over to these action packed days out:

CBeebies Land at Alton Towers Resort. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & Dinosaurs.Alton Towers Resort

This kind of speaks for itself as one of the UK's best known theme parks. Here you will find all of the rides to get that adrenaline pumping. However, as regular visitors we've discovered the quieter side to Alton Towers Resort on our visits too. The gardens are absolutely beautiful and we also love to take a picnic and enjoy our lunch with views of the lake and castle.

The resort is more than ready to welcome you back for the 2021 season and the team are making this year one of celebration. The Retro Squad sees 3 'pop up' rides including 'Roller Disco' appearing on site to take you back 41 years to the year the park was opened! Also this month sees Mardi Gras come to the resort for the first time, get ready for an explosion of colour, entertainment, and world foods.


Playing in the real snow at the SnowDome, Tamworth, Staffordshire. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursSnow Dome

Tamworth SnowDome was the Uk's first real indoor ski slope. The 170 metre main slope and the two Snow Academy areas offer a wide variety of skiing and snowboarding sessions. No specialist equipment or expensive clothing is required, just bring warm clothes, gloves and a sense of adventure!

There is a dedicated children's snow play area, the ice skating rink, and ice track. The real snow slopes offer a huge range of  activities for all abilities including tobogganing, adrenaline and tubing, plus you can even go swimming in the swimming pool!


Boy climbing one of the indoor obstacles at Clip n Climb, Stone, Staffordshire. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursClip 'n' Climb

This is a great place to visit if you want to learn a new skill all while having a fun day out. We have previously attended one of the family climb sessions at Clip n Climb meaning that we could all climb together.

The family sessions are designed for climbers aged 2+years. After a short briefing session you can enter the area and take on the challenge of the climbing walls and obstacles. My boys absolutely loved it, and it is a great confidence builder.

A quick word of warning to parents - the kids will make climbing the walls seem incredibly easy, don't be fooled and be prepared to ache the following day!


Who's got a little one with a sweet tooth? That's everyone then! This is a little hidden gem I discovered in Burton.

Making a candy pizza at The Kandy Factory, Staffordshire. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursThe Kandy Factory

Move over Willy Wonka, based in Burton-upon-Trent's refurbished indoor market The Kandy Factory is a place where you can have loads of fun making lots of chocolately things.

Think of it like a 'paint-a-pot' workshop, but you can eat your creation and take away everything you make on the day.

There's everything from chocolate bars to popping candy pizzas. It's suitable for all ages, aprons are provided but I'd also recommend popping the kids in old clothes as it can get deliciously messy!

You can also book a scrumptious chocolate-themed afternoon tea with truffle making or chocolate fondue. YUM! They will be back from 17th May 2021 but in the meantime you can order 'make at home' kits from their website.


And finally, if you like to spend time outdoors exploring together as a family…

Taking part in the Stick Man Trail at National Memorial Aboretum, Staffordshire. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursThe National Memorial Arboretum

The National Memorial Arboretum has something for everyone, from remembering loved ones, enjoying the sculptural memorials, to simply enjoying a peaceful stroll surrounded by wildlife.

There are over 150 acres to explore via a number of trails and walks. There are thousands of trees of several different varieties, plus more than 400 memorials dedicated to those who have fallen in service to the country. You are free to explore at your own pace, and could easily spend a full day here.

The Arboretum is home to a large variety of habitats including hay meadows, emerging woodland, marsh and riverbank.

We particularly enjoyed taking part in The Stickman trail with the boys for a small additional fee. You are welcome to bring your own food and there are a number of picnic areas to choose from on site.


The Gruffalo Trail at Cannock Chase Forest, Staffordshire. Image courtesy Dirt, Diggers & DinosaursCannock Chase Gruffalo Trail

If you venture into the deep dark wood you may bump into the Gruffalo from Julia Donaldson's hit story. We usually park  near the Birches Valley visitor centre at Cannock Chase Forest where there is a small café and toilet facilities, plus bike hire and the Go Ape course too.

The Gruffalo trail is a fairly short wander around the forest to find all of the characters from the book. It's no more than a mile so suitable for little legs and it starts and ends near to the car park. There’s plenty of grassy space along the route to pause for a picnic, and there are two playgrounds in this area to explore also.

An official Gruffalo Trail pack can be purchased from the visitor centre.

So, what are you waiting for? Staffordshire has some great family days out ready for you to discover!

Related

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.

Trentham Monkey Forest
Wildlife Park
Trentham Monkey Forest

Winner- Bronze Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2019. 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.

Peak Wildlife Park
Wildlife Park
Watching the penguins fly underwater

Winner- Bronze Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Experience of the Year 2019. Set on the edge of the Staffordshire Peak District; Peak Wildlife Park offers a truly unique and immersive animal experience.  Its large walkthrough exhibits allow you to come face to face with exotic and endangered animals from across three continents. Whether you love lemurs, have a passion for penguins or want to wander with the wallabies (and feed them with your hand!), the park has something for you.

National Forest Adventure Farm
Farm
Goats are great!

The National Forest Adventure Farm, is acres of fun for everyone, whatever the weather!

Alton Towers Resort
Theme Park
Wicker Man wooden rollercoaster at Alton Towers resort, Staffordshire, England.

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.

SnowDome
Ski Slope
Skiing at SnowDome

​​​​​​​Winner - Silver Award - Enjoy Staffordshire Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2019. Whether it’s a fun packed day on the real snow, sliding and gliding about on the ice or relaxing in the seriously luxurious spa, the SnowDome in Tamworth is the ultimate snow, ice and leisure experience.

Clip ‘n Climb Stoke
Children's Activity Centre
Clip ‘n Climb Stoke

NOW RE-OPENED Clip ‘n Climb Stoke is the action-packed indoor climbing centre for anyone aged 4 years or over. With an awesome range of challenges, a drop slide, a softplay and mezzanine cafe to watch your friends and family, all within our climbing arena in central Staffordshire, you are guaranteed an exciting, healthy, and challenging day out.

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.

Cannock Chase Forest
Forest or Woodland
Sculpture trail at Birches Valley, Cannock Chase, Staffordshire

Cannock Chase Forest at Birches Valley is an excellent starting point for an exhilarating woodland adventure on Cannock Chase. From the Midland’s best mountain bike trails or leisurely woodland walks, get the kids to let off some steam on one of the adventure play areas or take in the scenery up high from the platforms of Go Ape. Cannock Chase Forest has something for all the family.