Leek is a town in North Staffordshire in the English Midlands.
Known at the Queen of the Moorlands, Leek is the administrative centre of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. The main industry was silk and textiles but it has now diversified into tourism and food processing, and is the headquarters of the Britannia Building Society.
Leeks train station closed in the 1960s so the only real public transport option is the bus. There are occasional services to Buxton and Macclesfield but the most practical option for most visitors is the number 18 bus from Hanley bus station in Stoke on Trent (£2.40 one way, £4.90 for unlimited travel on first buses all day - the best value if coming from stoke train station). This runs roughly three times an hour via Stockton Brook, Endon and Longsdon, during the day and runs once an hour after about 7pm until 10ish. Be advised that on Monday, Friday and Saturday nights it tends to get full with rowdy and often quite tipsy Leekensians on their way to sample the relatively diverse nightlife in Hanley. Another bus, the 16, runs from Stoke (Hanley bus station) via Cheddleton and Werrington, although this service is less frequent.
There is little public transport in Leek, taxis are an option. The one bus service within Leek travels through Haregate, which offers exceptionally little in terms of sights or activities. This service is primarily aimed at elderly locals.
The lake, the steam trains, the wildlife, the views, the sailing club, The trip boat Honey, the rowing boats, the fishing, The Lady of the Lake, the boathouses.
Rudyard is a small village with a large lake. In fact its a reservoir built in 1797 to supply water to the Trent and Mersey canal. It got its name from Ralph Rudyard who is reputed to have killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field.
It's a place of great beauty with and romance. Rudyard Kipling was named after it after his parents first met at a picnic by its shores. The lake was developed as a tourist attraction in the early 1900s by the local North Staffordshire railway company. They took Blondin to tightrope walk across it and Captain Webb to swim after he had first swum the English Channel. It was named the 3rd most romantic spot in England in 2005.
Best way to arrive at Rudyard is by car and park in the free station car park. It's about 1 mile North of Leek. Public transport is poor. You can get trains to [Stoke on Trent] then buses to Leek but then it's a walk or taxi.
Take the steam train ride along the lake on the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway.
Take a boat ride on the lake from the Dam Head & walk around the lake.
Support Rudyard sailability a national centre of exellence for disabled sailing.
There is little to buy in Leek of any interest to the visitor. There is a market, indoor and outdoor, on Wednesdays and Saturdays located, as you'd expect, in the market place - although the quality of the goods on sale varies wildly.
Leek also considers itself a great place to purchase antiques and as much there are numerous antique shops - many of these are clustered on and around St Edwards street and parts of Cheddleton Road. Again the quality of the antiques varies considerably.
For day to day needs Leek has the usual array of supermarkets - Morrison's is located on Newcastle Road. There is a small Asda near Haregate as well as an Aldi, which is closest to the town centre on Haywood street. Be aware however that there have been issues involving unfair fines being issued in their car park.
Leek isn't renowned for its culinary delights but many options do exist. There are a series of the usual Indian and Chinese restuarants throughout the town as well as the ubiquitous takeaways you'd find in any English town. In addition, many pubs now serve food as well. Details for each type of eatery are listed below -
Pub Dining Engine Room - Market place, chain-pub that serves a good variety of well-prepared food up until 8 or 9 o'clock most nights. Popular spot for lunch amongst locals. Red Lion - Next door to Engine Room, also serves good quality food. Quiet Woman - Excellent variety of food at lunch time and tea time, service stops during the mid-afternoon. Den Engel - Full restuarant situated upstairs.
Takeaways These are situated throughout the town and many do delivery on orders over £5. Two of the most popular are on the top of St Edwards street. Stake-out (01538399441) - St Edwards street, quick home delivery, friendly service, good quality. Pizza Line(01538398700) - As above. Abbies - Just around the corner, generally good. Moorlands Takeaway - Stockwell Street, could be better. Tangs Dynasty" - Stockwell Street Chinese. Emperors Court - Chinese located on West Street, good food.
Rudyard At the Platform 2 cafe at Rudyard Station. Open at weekends year round. Bar meals or carvery at the hotel.
Leek once boasted the most pubs per capita in the whole of England. Unfortunately economic circumstances have resulted in many of these closing down, the following are all open as of October 2010 (there are more pubs, but these are the highlights). Most of the pubs are centred around St Edwards street while the bars are largely around the market place.
Benks (Stockwell street) - Offers multiple pool tables, an antiquated jukebox and a good variety of lagers. Also occasionally referred to as the Union. Almost certainly one of the last true "drinkers pubs" in the town, with a great atmosphere and friendly locals.
The Unicorn (St Edwards street) - A nice little pub open Thursday - Sunday, excellent live music and atmosphere. Plenty of real ale. (Currently Closed for Possible Renovation - reopening date unknown)
Quiet Woman (Next to the Unicorn on St Edwards street) - a good variety of food served at mealtimes. Often features live entertainment at weekends, although this can vary significantly in quality.
The Royal Oak (Buxton Road)- Good for an afternoon pint and a game of pool.
Wilkes Head (St Edwards street) - Alternative music and Leeks only proper real ale pub. Holds the annual Wilkesfest festival which is popular with younger locals.
The Swan (St Edwards street)- Another higher end pub, with a large function room at the back. (Currently closed for conversion into a Wetherspoons chain pub, scheduled for reopening in July 2013)
The Valiant (Stanley Street) - Unofficial Stoke City supporters pub. Do NOT go in there wearing a Port Vale shirt, especially on a match day. Perfectly fine apart from that although it does get loud on match days.
The Cock Inn (Derby Street)- Decent variety of beers
Roebuck (Derby Street) - Perhaps one of the best choices for a real ale drinker, this bar offers an excellent variety of beers as well as a nice beer garden
The Cattle Market (Fountain Street) - Definitely more a locals pub and widely joked about as being the drug-dealing capital of the town, that said you should receive a friendly welcome
The Bird in Hand (Market Place) - An often crowded school pub with a cramped beer garden. The Damson wine is highly recommended, provided you're not driving or planning on doing anything vaguely constructive for the rest of the day
The Black Swan (Sheep Market) - A reasonable pub with perhaps the best jukebox, although the food isn't all it could be and the landlady is incredibly rude, especially to designated drivers. Again, it hosts live entertainment of varying quality.
Outside the Town Centre
Many of these pubs are frequented only by locals (although the same can be said of pretty much every pub on this list in fairness), however you should still receive a warm welcome and good quality service
Prince of Wales (Behind Wallbridge Precinct) - The usual variety of beers
Pride of the Moorlands (Junction Road) - Popular with residents of Junction Road, Glebeville and surrounding areas. Perhaps not to a visitors taste, but an excellent place to get trollied on Christmas Day
The Wellington (Wellington Street) - Another good drinkers pub a few minutes walk from the town centre, with a games room with a good beer garden (Ask locals for "The Welly")
The Britannia (West Street) - Perhaps the best prices for beer and lager in the town and again an easy walk from both the town centre and numerous takeaways, off-licences and the Wellington.
The Flying Horse (Ashbourne Road) - Located right at the top of Ashbourne Road, it's a good pub but it's a fair walking distance up quite a steep hill to get to it, worth a look if you're staying with people who live nearby.
The Blue Mugge (Osbourne Street)- Maze like pub, old school games, good beer
Fountain Inn (Fountain Street) - Not sure if this is still open
Dyers Arms (Macclesfield Road)
White Lion (Macclesfield Road) - Good food and drink, excellent beer garden. Located right next to Leek Town FC's Harrison Park stadium
The Priory (Abbots Road) - Perhaps Haregates best pub
The Hare and Gate (Abbots Road) - Further into Haregate and, as a visitor, this is probably the only reason you have for venturing this far in
Mose Rose (Buxton Road) - A good pub, but again a fair distance from the town centre and any public transport
The Wheel (Longsdon) - Good locals pub at the top of Ladderidge, visitors and hikers more than welcome
The Hollybush (Denford) - Excellent stop right by the canal, a good variety of beers and a quiz night in Tuesday (which you won't win, as it's always won by various teams of "professional quiz players", but it's a good laugh and a decent evening anyway)
The Abbey - Located in the middle of nowhere, the food is good, but you'll almost certainly want a car
The Engine Room (Market Place) - Serve an excellent variety of pub food until around 9 o'clock. Popular starting point for a weekend night out. Also popular during major football matches.
The Red Lion (Market Place)- The average Leekensians next port of call on a Saturday night, slightly larger and with a dance floor and an upstairs cocktail bar which is only occasionally open.
Elmos (Market Place)- Cellar bar and the average Leekensians next bar of choice at the weekend. Good variety of drinks and a dance floor. Be advised that this is not the place for a quite drink and that seating is minimal.
Stanleys (Stanley Street) - A cocktail bar owned by the same man who owns Elmos (and rumoured to only stay open due to the money the latter makes). Can be very quiet even at weekends, but the cocktail range is unbeatable for the town.
The Silken Strand (St Edwards Street) - A good variety of draught lagers and an excellent beer garden, but can be expensive and is rarely visited as part of a pub crawl.
Den Engels - (Stanley Street)- Excellent Belgian bar with a more up-market atmosphere than most others listed here. Stocks an exceptional variety of Belgian beer, most of it at very acceptable prices. (Try the Rochfort 10, but don't expect to remember much of your evening afterwards!)
Central Club - (Market Street) Working men's club, with a pool table and reasonably priced drinks, be warned however that the regulars will ALWAYS get served before you, regardless of how long you've been waiting
There are several hotels in Leek, and the local Tourist information centre (at the Market Place) will happily book you a room for a three pound fee.
The Silken Strand (St Edwards Street) - Offers several rooms as well as an excellent bar and beer garden.
Hotel Rudyard is adjacent to the lake and a historic and quirky place. It was originally a railway hotel.
Rudyard Vale caravan park is another option if you have your own caravan.
Leek is a relatively safe town with little crime. On Friday and Saturday nights the usual drunken chaos occurs, which is to be expected in any English town. There are occasional fights in the Market Place or in the Elmos bar, but these are usually quickly broken up. In addition most are between people who already know each other. There are sometimes large groups of young people hanging around in the evening, but 99% of the time if you leave them alone they'll leave you alone.
Alton Towers is another favourite among visitors.
Stoke-on-Trent boasts the nearest train station and has the most frequent bus services to/from Leek. This is the easiest route for people without their own car.