It's very easy to talk from either perspective whether your extremely suppportive or in most cases about Stoke, extremely unsupportive. However, i'm going to try and be as honest as possible.
I now live in Ilkley, West Yorkshire and glad i moved away from Stoke-on-Trent to 'open my eyes'! I live in a former Victorian hospital and teach at a grammar school.
Unfortunately, Stoke is two decades behind most cities in many aspects. Corrupt council members, politicians and mayor's have all succeeded in milking the little regenration funds they had. Buildings are severely run down and generally ugly. Most girls are pregnant with atleast one child by 16 and boys regularly display their 'ASBO tags' with great pride.
BNP and The English and Welsh Defence have a stronghold on the city but that's just ignorance and naivity bred into people that have had a hard time socially and economically and 'vultures' such as the local councillors, mayor's, politicians use this as a tool for their own unscrupulous gains.
The nightlife is gerenrally bleak in comparison to most big cities with Hanley and Newcastle under Lyme being most popular with a few nice bars but no decent clubs. However, Stoke has brothels in abundance, just drive through Fenton for evidence of this.
Regardless of all this 'brutal' honesty Stoke is still actually a good place to visit and even live...... well sort of. For example, housing is extremely cheap! Want to buy a 3 bed semi detached house in one of the better areas? No problem... approximately £70,000.
Despite the poverty stricken area you do get the most genuine and upfront people than in any city and they are quick to accept............. unlike a lot of Yorkshire men!
If you want to start a business, cheap land, cheap labour, great motorway links.
Great local rugby links with clubs like Longton RUFC and Newcastle RUFC. Excellent boxing links with pro - impact formerly Dyke's gym Burslem.
Things to do, Alton Towers, Waterworld, Trentham gardens- monkey enclosure, Pottery museums, Stoke City FC.
Robbie Williams, Anthea Turner, Nick Hancock, Sir Reginald Mitchell, Stanley Matthews, Josiah Wedgwood, Ben Foster, Captain of the Titanic, Richard Coulson, Jonathan Wilkes, Dave Harold, Jamie Cope all famous people that grew up in Stoke.
Stoke and it's population is a little rough around the edges but so are diamonds. What you will find here if you care to take the time and are intelligent and open-minded enough to overlook the buildings and accents you will find there are genuine, salt of the earth people and a city that is thriving with potential. I'm glad i have moved away from Stoke as so few do but that is because ignorance breeds ignorance and by God, there is a lot of breeding here. However, i miss the place and especially the people. Regardless of what people say, Stoke, like Stoke City FC is getting better and better and thats down to the pride and passion of their fathful people. Up the Potters!
Fantastic place to visit and well worth the trip.Plenty to see and do.Whether you want to do things with the children or just for yourselves there is loads to see, do and take part in.Check out the following websites for more information: www.netmums.com/northstaffs also www.nwsrcf.proboards20.com Stoke-on-Trent has loads to offer, and is made up of more than 5 towns.
I moved here almost two years ago from Stafford, i must say its very run down. Alot of people here claim jobseekers and those who do have jobs are asked to work for the minimum by there employers in my view. It's a BNP stronghold, where you are in a minority if you support other political parties. The council are awful, they were the last council in Britain to put the smoking ban through and didnt manage it in time, so you could still legally smoke indoors a month after everywhere else. The pottery industry has dried up, only really leaving HR Johnsons as a main producer. Festival park, which is great for shopping in the day, has been given a special police 'ASBO' area for anyone seen driving in and around the area at dark in case you are 'crusing'. Oh, and Hanley is best off seen in the dark as its so run down i wouldnt bother looking at it in the day. Whole area's like Burslem, Middleport, Longport and Cobridge to name a few are area's that apparently need knocking down and completely rebuilding, but when the cash strapped council actually do this is anyones guess. Oh, and its the most poverty stricken place in Britain.
I left having lived there all my life and thought I would miss my hometown. I don't.Whenever I go back there from Leeds the whole place just seems small minded, run down, insular and rertarded.I hate Stoke on Trent for cursing me with this accent too - OK parts of Yorkshire's accents arent great but Leeds is just fine.Also a point about the weather in Stoke is somehow always awful too.No nightlife, and few enough saving graces to make up for a dull area. Sorry Stokies, glad I escaped and there is no way I will be coming back to this uninspiring place.My advice to young people - get out and discover the other great cities and lifestyles where cultures mingle in greater harmony and have your eyes opened. You'll be shocked at first but realisation will soon dawn .Rob Berry
I was first introduced to Stoke-on-Trent when I was about 9 years old when my mom and dad would insist on taking me and my sister Sam to get pottery from there. Then when I was at school we were taken to water world for school trips. Then I went to university in Stoke so lived there for 3 years. Now my boyfriend lives there so I still go every weekend so this review will show you realistically what a visit to Stoke would be like (good and bad points).
Stoke-on-Trent is a huge place and is made up of 6 towns which are Stoke, Hanley, Fenton, Tunstall, Burslem and Longton. Like everywhere it has its good and bad points.
Now the most famous things to come out of Stoke are Robbie Williams and pottery so as we can only dream about Robbie I can only tell you where the potteries are. The pottery shops and factory outlets are in Stoke town centre. Here you will find outlets for Wedgewood, portmeiron and royal doulton, perhaps the most famous three names for pottery. The factory shops house a great choice of all sorts of pottery and the prices are very reasonable indeed. My mom likes to visit to collect dinner sets in the latest portmeiron style and my dad likes visiting royal doulton to get the latest Disney figures they have made. Me, when I first came to university I went to the factory shops to buy cheap dining sets and trust me you can find some right bargains. I got mugs for 25p each and plates for £1 and they were really nice.
Shopping is not too bad either. Although I would not recommend going to Stoke town centre as there is nothing there really apart from a Woolworths and Blockbuster Video. Where I would recommend is Hanley which houses the potteries shopping centre. Here you will find all of your high street shops so expect to see Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, Burtons and HMV. The potteries itself has a nice atmosphere and has four different levels. In the basement level there is a large indoor market which is great for fruit and on the top level there are toilets and an eating area with Burger King and a café. The shops are reasonably sized so the stock is always good and the shopping centre is always clean and tidy. In the other towns of Stoke there are a few shops but Hanley is the most popular place and the only place to house all of the high street shops.
There are a lot of places to eat in Stoke-on-Trent. Wherever you go you will stumble upon friendly pubs and bars which serve food. Where I can recommend though is a place called Pastiche in Hanley which serves fantastic food and reasonably priced. Also the newly named Toby Carvery (used to be called China Gardens) by Festival Park is also very nice and situated by the canal so is lovely in the summer. Also on Festival Park which is located just outside of Hanley you can find Pizza Hut and Fatty Arbuckles which are both great places to go and eat. Another great place is a Chinese restaurant called Bauhinia which is located in Trent Vale. It is expensive but you get a lot of food for your money and the food is the best I have ever tasted. With its stylish interior decoration and the fact that if you go on a night when the piano is being played this restaurant is lovely and is my favourite place to go in the UK so we always go for special occasions.
Things to do;
Festival Park just outside of Hanley has an Odeon cinema, laser quest and a mega bowl and each of them are clean and nice places to visit. Also just outside of Hanley, there is dry ski slopes which I have never been to so cant really comment much more than that. There is also water world which is fantastic fun for all ages for just a normal swim or there are whirlpools, flumes and the scarily named black hole which I still refuse to go on for fear of landing in the water upside down. Just outside of Stoke town centre we have Britannia stadium for all you football fans and there are many art and pottery museums located around the towns.
For children may I recommend a small place called Finney Gardens which is located not too far away from Hanley. It has a few rides for kids and a farm which on a summers day is a great place to go and have an ice-cream. The animals are very tame and they come up to you for food so children and adults love it there.
Stoke is fantastic for nights out especially if you are a student. They have great night clubs like Creation and Liquid including fantastic bars to go to like Flares and Chicago Rock. Again Hanley is the best place to go as it is the most popular. I recommend a night starting with drinks at Walkabout followed with a quick dance in Flares and then head to Liquid as when you are in liquid you can also get through to Jumping Jacks which often has live music. Drinks prices are quite steep though and when I went out there a few weeks ago I spent over £50 so be careful.
Also there is the Regent Theatre in Hanley which will house a lot of plays and they all vary. I recently saw the rocky horror show and fame here.
Staffordshire University is situated in Stoke and is a fantastic uni. I spent three wonderful years studying Biology here and it was great. They do some good courses and for a student lifestyle you cannot do much better. The university halls and housing is clean and reasonably priced and the lecture rooms are great and if you are studying science, the labs are lovely to work in.
From Stoke you can easily get to beautiful surrounding countryside leading to Shrewsbury or to Stafford and Cannock. Towards Stafford you can get to Trentham Gardens which is a fantastic and stunning place with beautiful scenery. They have Italian gardens, a craft village and the newest thing is a monkey forest which I went to the other day and it was great and only cost us £5 each. We had our graduation at the gardens and it truly is a nice place to see with a few walks and a very relaxing atmosphere to the whole place with a spectacular view of the lake.
Also you can get to Alton Towers easily from Stoke-on-Trent as it only takes around half an hour (well it did from where we lived near Hanley).
For more shopping though head to Newcastle-Under-Lyme (or the fake Newcastle as we call it) as they have great shops and nice little cafes dotted around.
Now my boyfriend lives there and even he calls it the Chav city and to be honest wherever you go you will see gangs of young people playing about. Hanley is not too bad to be honest but everywhere else you will see gangs that are often being unnecessarily loud and swearing. We were driving through Fenton the other night and there were a gang of people playing up the police officers by throwing things into the police station and just generally being annoying. This is the sort of behaviour that you see quite a lot in Stoke.
May I recommend to all future students of Staffordshire University that when you are looking for housing in your second year then get houses right by the uni. We got our house near to Hanley in Shelton and it was vile. The areas are not the greatest and it is best not to walk around on your own at night and it is better to be by the uni in the housing there as the prices may be a little bit more expensive but your landlords will generally live quite near so will be easy to get hold of. Ours lived in Shrewsbury so when we had a problem it was hard for him to get to us and this left us with no heating throughout the whole winter one year.
Again I stress the fact that you really shouldnt walk around any area of Stoke on your own at night. For a year we walked through Hanley Park to get to our uni on our own until we found out a lot of rapes happen there and we heard about three while we were at uni. The only area that is slightly alright is Hanley as there are always a lot of people but other areas just stay in groups. This ties into the gangs problem that is happening and they can get intimidating especially when you are a girl.
Now I like Stoke-on-Trent mainly because of 3 things:
1) I have met my boyfriend.
2) It has given me a great university experience.
3) I have made some great friends.
The majority of people in Stoke are very friendly and expect to be called duck or chick wherever you go. Because it is a city there are lots of things to do and places to explore. Being a student I loved the fact that it is generally a cheap place to live with respect to living costs and taxi costs and it also boasts great night life.
Although I do not like Stoke because of the gangs I would still recommend it as a place to visit as there is something for everyone and as a place to study I could not recommend the university enough as it is fantastic. The housing is cheap in Stoke and do not listen to people when they say that it is because it is a vile place because it really isnt. Like everywhere it has nice and bad areas and everyone who I know who lives here live in really nice areas and have never had any problems.
I finished uni a year ago now and I still visit Stoke every fortnight and still wished I was at uni and living there as I met a lot of nice people and there was always something to do. Its just no fun working full time, I want to be a student again. I think the trick with Stoke is to not think that Stoke town centre is it and explore a little and you will realise just how much Stoke has to offer.
Almost forgot to say, do not forget to try Stoke Oatcakes they are great.
Thanks for reading.
Below are a list of websites and/or phone numbers for the places I have mentioned in the review so skip if you do not want to know any.
Wedgewood Visitor Centre - www.thewedgwoodvisitorcentre.com 01782 282986
Aynsley - www.aynsley.co.uk 01782 339420
Spode - www.spode.co.uk 01782 744011
Portmeirion - www.portmeirion.com 01782 411756
Wade - www.wade.co.uk 01782 825666
Bauhinia 01782 719709
Pastiche 01782 263737
Toby Carvery (China Gardens) 01782 260199
Fatty Arbuckles 01782 269779
Regent Theatre 0870 0606649
Creation 01782 214494
Liquid 01782 284333
Walkabout 01782 281543
The Potteries Shopping Centre Hanley 01782 220302
Alton Towers 08705 204060
Waterworld 01782 205747
Ski Centre 01782 204159
Mega Bowl 01782 289999
Odeon Cinema 01782 215805
Trentham Gardens - http://www.trenthamleisure.co.uk/
I lived in Hanley during my school and teenage years and think it was better then than it is now. The employers in Stoke seem to think that they can just pay low pay and make no investment toward their staff. The place needs a damn good clean. A lot of the people do not even know that there is anywhere else other than Stoke on Trent. I used to live near Hanley Park and what a lovely area it was, until, the college turned into a university and they built that awful Youth Hostel. All the houses have turned into bedsitters and we all know what that means, no upkeep of the properties by landlords, no gardening done. I remember Hanley Park being a hive of activity at weekends and during the summer holidays. I don't think I would venture in there now. Of course my school is now a carpark, and whilst I understand that we must progress, I don't think that Hanley, and certainly not the rest of the City, have moved on. Most towns and cities now understand that leisure time is increasing but Stoke on Tren is just work (for very low pay) and don't make the city a place to be when off duty.
Now, first things first. As I write this review, I see that this is going to be the only negative opinion so far. As far as I am concerned, the other reviews only seem to point out the good parts of the city, so for this review, I'm going to point out the bad parts. Having said that these people are looking at it through rose coloured specs, maybe the city does have some attractions for the older person - i.e. it has rubbish night life so it isn't noisy, it has plenty of museums for people who enjoy that sort of thing, and it isn't too busy as far as traffic is concerned (I wonder why...) I have lived in Stoke-on-Trent all my (short) life, but to be totally honest, I can't wait to get away from the place! If you're a visitor arriving on the train, the first thing you see out of your window when approaching the station are the many redundant factories that are in the area. These building, who it seems nobody has bothered to clean up, make the place look like the whole city is unsafe and that buildings will fall down around you - this of course is untrue but it does create a rather unfavourable impression of the place. My advice, if you are a visitor, stay on the train and get off somewhere else - it's nice a few miles either direction of Stoke-on-Trent! But if you do decide to visit, this is what greets you. You leave the station and get on a bus to Stoke (which you believe to be the city centre - well, you would think so wouldn't you?) You get off at a row of bus stops to be greeted by about 3 shops - Woolworth’s (which is the only Woolworth’s in the country that doesn't stock video tapes...) Sainsbury's and a rather smelly cafe on the corner. Ok, maybe there is more than 3 shops, (a small gift shop etc, but not many more.) At this point, you think "what a complete dump. Is that it?" So, you turn round the corner expecting to see loads more shops, only to stumble across a row of shops wh
ich are mostly empty, apart from charity shop and a errr, second hand furniture 'shop'. The of course, there's the market - there's a few good stalls which, may I at this point note, are round the back of Woolworth’s (not the most prestigious of places is it?) Now, if as you read this, you're think "I'll never visit there" you would be right in thinking this, but you'd also be wrong in that this isn't it (the centre I mean.): Hanley is the main centre of the city - this is very confusing because you would think its Stoke wouldn't you? Many visitors come to Stoke thinking it's the city centre & still to this day believe it's the city centre! Well, let me tell you, it's not. - Go to Hanley! It's one of the good things about the city that's ok. (Not fantastic, but ok.) It actually has a decent range of shops, WH Smith, Woolworth’s, HMV (but no Virgin), Tesco, Debenhams, BHS etc. It has an absolutely gorgeous (I think not) 1960's shopping centre (if you can call it that - it now, to my knowledge, has 1 shop left, all the rest have been boarded up.) But don't despair, we also have a good shopping centre - The Potteries Centre - it's modern, has all the shops you could need, including a food court & is actually a nice building - I mean, not too ugly. So, you've now seen the proper centre, its beginning to go dark - time for a bit of nightlife. Hanley has a few bars, restaurants, but I can't comment on the quality of the food, as I never eat there. There are also some nightclubs, but not fantastic ones. So what did I mean by Hanley's "not fantastic, but ok"? Well, it has got nothing outstanding. Other cities seem to be going forward in terms of culture, jobs, and entertainment. We seem to be going back. A few years ago, that 1960's shopping arcade I mentioned had just 1 closed down shop. Now, in 2003, practically every shop in there has g
one. Shops aren’t attracted to our city, they seem to come and go (apart from the shops in the main centre like HMV, which are well established. Out of town, we have Festival Park - an out-of-town retail development which has some large stores - Morrisons, B&Q, Toys 'R' Us etc. It is also home to a leisure complex, 'Waterworld' which is great fun. There are some good parts to the city as you can see. What really lets it down is the many redundant factories & warehouses which litter the city. Nobody seems to care anymore about presentation and these places are just left, broken windows and all. There also seems to be an increasing amount of vandalism in the way of graffiti, smashed bus shelters etc. Talking of buses, our service is absolutely dreadful AND expensive. You cannot rely on the buses for anything. They're late, expensive and full because services have been missed out, making people stand at a bus stop for 1 hr+. London has the Underground, which is fast, and regular, we have a ticket called 'The Overground’, which, let me tell you, is not fast and regular. Housing in the city is a mixed bag. Think of Stoke and you probably get images of line upon line of terraced housing - this is of course true. Many of these homes are now in such a state of disrepair, they have no roofs, and have bricked up windows - not all but some. Despite this, there are also some nice areas (one of which I'm fortunate enough to live in) Trentham is one such area where property prices are some of the most expensive in the city. It's made up of a modern estate with plenty of large family detached and semi-detached houses. In and around Stoke-on-Trent, you will also find many nice villages, with equally nice properties. We're situated near to the Peak District so a lovely country walk isn't far away - just expect to come back to Stoke with an even lower opinion of the place than before you left (seeing some of the
lovely Peak District villages just makes you realise what a dump Stoke-on-Trent is.) If you're looking for a job, Stoke is also not the place to be. The area is one of the most poorly paid in the country and also has rubbish career prospects - if you're looking for a well paid career, you need to be in one of the big cities like London or Manchester. You might then say "yes, but property prices are cheaper so the fact that the pays poor doesn’t matter.” Wrong. Property prices may be cheaper, but cars aren’t cheaper, nor food, or anything else. If you’re a student, I wouldn’t recommend you come here to study. Trust me, you’ll regret it. The place is unexciting, boring and certainly not vibrant. So, to sum up Stoke-on-Trent. It does have some good points like Hanley for shopping and the fact that it isn’t too far away from some nice places, but in my view, there are far more bad points than good points. It’s poor, unexciting and a mess. My advice – stay on the train!
Stoke-on-Trent - my home town and birth place of Robbie Williams and the Staffordshire Oatcake, need I say more? There's actually quite a bit to see in and around Stoke. If Pottery is your thing, then why not do "China in a Day" and jump on the bus. Stoke is of course home to many potteies, such as Spode, Wedgwood etc, and the Gladstone Museum in Longton is well worth a look at. See how things were done in the old days and have a go at throwing a pot yourself. The Hanley Museum also has quite a good section on "how things used to be" - the old fashioned pharmacy stands out in my mind. If nightlife is your thing, there are plenty of pubs and clubs in Hanley alone for a night out; not forgetting Festival Park with the Cinema, Bowling etc. If you're going to go to Stoke, you absolutely have to try cheesy oatcakes. More than anything else I missed cheesy oatcakes when I moved to Southampton. Yum! On the downside, Stoke is also home to two football teams that seem as yet not to have grasped the idea of being at the top of the table instead of at the bottom. You can't have everything though can you.
Stoke-on-Trent is situated in the heart of the Midlands. It is, (as you will be aware of)most famous for its Pottery. There are various potbanks that you can visit. The most famous of these being Josiah Wedgwoods which is based at picturesque Barlaston. They do a full tour after which you get a chance to purchase their pottery at factory prices. Another potbank that you can not miss is the Gladstone Pottery Museum. This is situated in Longton and is the only potbank that still has a bottle kiln. here you can learn how the pottery was produced and get chance for hands on experiences. They do have special events on so it is wise to check. For Halloween they have a special ghostly tour of the museum on - guaranteed to scare you out of your wits. There is a special factory bus that will take you on a full tour of the pottery factory shops - very advisable if you don't know the area. The main shopping centre is 'The Pottery Shopping Centre' in Hanley. This has all the top stores such as Top shop, Littlewoods, WH Smiths, HMV, sports shops, River Island, Debenhams etc. There is a good market based on the basement floor and outside are even more shops such as Woolworths, Marks, and BHS. While in Stoke-on-Trent you must try our oatcakes - they are delicious in fact why not take some home with you? If you are after somewhere to amuse the children then there is Waterworld, two large cinema complexes, Quasar, Go carting and ski slopes. There is an excellent museum at Hanley which has free admission! Just a few miles from the heart of Stoke is Alton Towers - which I am sure you are all familiar with. This makes for a brilliant day out with special offers if you return on the following day.
Stoke-on-Trent is situated in the heart of England . The county is Staffordshire and it called affectionately 'The Potteries'. With bottle shaped pottery kilns dating back to when horses pulled carriages, barges transported wares down the internal canal system and men carried pots in 'saggars' on top of their heads it is brimming over with history. Beautiful countryside, that comes straight out of stories like Wuthering Heights, there are places like Buxton, Park Hall hills at Weston Coyney and plenty of parks like the terrific one at Stafford itself. Museums at Hanley and Newcastle have won awards for their contributions to the world of educations and there is a place in Longton where you travel back to the 1800's and see the atmosphere of old pot banks working. This is Gladstone Pottery Museum where you can find out what a 'Saggar makers bottom knocker' actually is. People can of course be as friendly or unfriendly as everywhere else but it never cease to surprise me how , where ever you go the Potteries accent is instantly recognised. Pubs, Nightclubs, Restaurants and Hanley's Shopping Centre are places to visit especially for the young and funloving natured people. Definitely worth a day out for the family. Go on give it a go you can even travel by PMT buses for a family of 2 adults and up to 3 children for £5 family fareday ticket. This will take you on as many buses as you want to go on in Stoke-on-Trent and for £10 mega family fareday ticket you can even go as far as Derby, Manchester or Sheffield.