Located in the north midlands Staffordshire borders Birmingham to the south, Cheshire to the north-west, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, and Warwickshire to the south and Shropshire to the west.



Tunnel 34

We visited the small rural town of Gnosall on the Shropshire Union Canal with it's for the “annual” Gnosall Canal Festival in July 2022. The canal itself is well worth a visit with several interesting tunnels and, of course, small pleasant pubs along the towpath.

Cowley Tunnel Unusual Mooring Space

Including the amazing “Boat Inn” (on “Wharf Road” with it's amazing views over the canal and small canal-side dining areas.

The Boat Inn

Gnosall Canal Festival

Canal Festival

The festival, unsurprisingly, takes place along the canal and in a local pub car park. Parking for the festival was in a nearby field. It consisted of historical boats, old working canal boats being refurbished, many by volunteers…

Historical Boats

There were also “trade boats” selling all manner of goods including crafts, antiques, honeys and jams, books, etc. A nearby pub car park was used for several marquees with various canal and other charities as well as live local entertainment…


There were free 45 minute boat tours on a small “day boat” offered that went quite some distance down the canal, out of the town and into the countryside. These tended to run irregularly due to boat traffic and other delays in getting the boat around.

Boat Trips

Stoke on Trent

Stoke on Trent is the famous home of several pottery manufacturers as part of the area known as “The Potteries” including Wedgwood, Moorcroft, Aynsley, Burleigh, Dudson, Emma Bridgewater, Portmeirion, Spode, Royal Doulton, and Royal Stafford. I can't say I am a huge fan of the town with an area surrounding the town centre fairly deprived.

The Potteries Centre

The concrete-y town centre is largely pedestrianised and is dominated by The Potteries Centre. There are a series of car parks around the area including one in the shopping centre.

Town Centre

See also Stoke-on-Trent Museums.


One of my favourite theme parks in the UK is the local Alton Towers, but of course there are a number of other things to see.

Trentham Monkey Forest


Located just to the south of Stoke on Trent, a short distance from Junction 15 of the M6 is Trentham Monkey Forest. A unique year-round experience that lets you walk amongst 140+ Barbary macaques in their home in a small woodland. The monkeys are very well cared for and have babies pretty much every year. The monkey walk itself is separately enclosed in the attraction while outside there are a series of small exhibits, toilets (there are none instead the monkey walk itself), a cafeteria-style restaurant, gift shop, child play area and a few small walks in the grounds.

Monkey Enclosure

To see the monkeys you need to watch a short safety film (do not touch the monkeys, stay to the paths, etc) before passing through a double gate into the enclosure which is surrounded by high wire fences. You can exit and re-enter this area as often as you wish during your visit.

Keeper Talk/Feeding

Throughout the walk there are signs telling you additional information about the monkeys and there are also periodic talks by the keepers throughout the day, including feeding times.

Monkey Monkeys in Tree Monkey on Log

The monkeys are quite well behaved and are not bothered by all of the attention. Easy to spot, they are often very close or even the paths. A great way to get up and personal…

Monkey on Path

Further Information

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