The Potteries

Staffordshire is the world capital of ceramics and so no trip to the region would be complete without visiting at least some of the museums and factories that chart the history of the craft from the beginnings of the industrial revolution to the present day. The industry is still thriving in the area with many world famous brands producing the finest ornaments and home wares you will find anywhere in the world. There are numerous shops and factory outlets too where you can purchase ceramics and it would be difficult to visit everything on offer .There are, however, some highlights that should not be missed.

Wedgewood

Set in 240 acres of glorious countryside in the heart of Staffordshire, the Wedgewood visitor centre is a must see attraction. You will find the centre in Barlaston, just south of Stoke on Trent. Wedgewood has been producing ceramics for over 250 years and here you can tour the factory to see today’s amazing craftsmen in action. In addition to the tour there is an excellent shop and a restaurant on site and if you feel creative you can even have a go at making something yourself. Your piece will then be fired for you and sent to your home even if you live overseas. You are also able to take pleasant walks on the beautiful estate to enjoy the exceptional British countryside.

Spode Works

Spode was the birthplace of bone china and the visitor centre at the original factory is well worth a visit. The site is not a working factory any more but there is an excellent museum and the opportunity to see demonstrations of painting and gilding by the experts. The factory is situated in Stoke on Trent with parking right across the road and there are plans to develop it into a heritage site in the future.

Royal Crown Derby

It is well worth taking a drive over to Derby to visit the Royal Crown Derby Factory. There is an excellent tour of the working factory where you see all aspects of the creative process from design to the ornate gilding of the pieces. Bone china has been produced by Royal Crown Derby for over 250 years and the brand has an unrivalled reputation throughout the world. You won’t find any of the modern Nordic style home wares that are popular these days but rather will take a step back in time to an era of fine craftsmanship and ornate decorative detail. Tours are available Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays and there is a museum, store and coffee shop on site. If you make purchases over £50 in the shop the cost of your tour is refunded.

If you are in the Midlands you should not miss out on a trip to The Potteries. It is one of the few places where you can see traditional craftsmanship dating back to the industrial revolution. You gain a fascinating insight into the techniques and skills required to produce the pieces and will have the chance to buy some wonderful souvenirs of your visit.