By Caroline Butterwick
North Staffordshire has been my home for over a decade. I love exploring where I live, and I’m still discovering places to visit for a great day out. Being partially sighted and experiencing tiredness from medication I take for my mental health, accessibility is key when planning a trip. Luckily there are lots of fantastic accessible attractions on my doorstep.
Whether curious about ceramics or a lover of the outdoors, here are a few ideas for accessible and enjoyable days out in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
In the south of the city, the popular Trentham Estate has a range of activities to enjoy. The shopping village boasts dozens of independent and big brand stores and restaurants – I love the Portmeirion shop for swooning over pretty pottery.
Trentham Gardens is one of my go-to places in the area. The walking route around the mile long lake is well worth a go, and is accessible to wheelchairs and buggies.
Some days, there’s nothing better than a cappuccino and a fruit scone loaded with cream and jam. The Italian Garden Tearooms is the perfect place to enjoy an al fresco treat while watching the world go by.
Disabled visitors benefit from reduced entry fees and carer tickets. I have a Trentham Gardens annual pass and a free accompanying carer pass, which is great value and well worth it if you’re planning to visit often.
Also on the Estate is Trentham Monkey Forest, where the 140 free-ranging Barbary macaques can literally cross the path in front of you – perfect for snapping some unique photos.
Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
This is one of my favourite museums and where I take friends visiting the area. There are, of course, plenty of ceramics on display, with lots of info on the history of the pottery industry in the area. I also love the Local History gallery which recreates what shops and houses looked like in the past.
There’s good step free access in the museum, with a hearing aid loop at reception. The staff are really friendly and helpful too.
Alton Towers theme park
As a self-confessed theme park enthusiast, I love Alton Towers and am so glad we have this fantastic theme park nearby. From world beating rollercoasters to rides for the whole family, there is plenty to keep you busy.
Alton Towers has a Ride Access Pass for disabled guests who aren’t able to queue in the standard line. Being disabled doesn’t automatically entitle you to a pass, so be sure to check out their detailed accessibility guide beforehand to see if you are eligible and what evidence you’ll need to bring.
The park is really spread out, and as I struggle with tiredness, I tend to make a plan beforehand about what rides to visit. I also make the most of the cafes for regular coffee breaks so I’m ready for more rollercoasters.
Caroline Butterwick is a writer based in North Staffordshire, with a particular interest in disability, mental health, travel, and wellbeing. Her website is www.carolinebutterwick.com and find her on Twitter @CButterwick and Instagram @carolinebutterwick.