Stoke-on-Trent lies on the M6 Motorway and can be reached by travelling southbound from Manchester or northbound from Birmingham. It is approximately 45 miles from both of these cities. It can also be reached via the A34.
Stoke-on-Trent has a small but busy railway station and is served by most destinations in the United Kingdom. There are regular services from Manchester Piccadilly Station and Birmingham New Street Station, both of which offer connections from the major airports, Manchester International Airport and Birmingham International Airport. Stoke-on-Trent can be reached from London through London Euston Railway Station with services running every hour at peak times.
The majority of bus and coach routes into the city arrive at Hanley Bus Station in the City Centre. National Express coach services serve Stoke-on-Trent from most cities in the United Kingdom. There are also services that serve Newcastle-Under-Lyme which is a fifteen minute bus ride from the City Centre, Hanley.
Stoke-on-Trent has an intricate and well-maintained public transport service and buses are usually easy to come by. Hanley Bus Station is the main transport hub for buses in the city and virutally all areas of the city are reachable from here. There are tourist information offices located here and details of required routes are published and easy to find.
Stoke-on-Trent is historically renowned for its pottery industry (hence its nickname of The Potteries). Many of the major manufacturers of high-quality pottery still have headquarters in the area including Spode, Wedgewood and Royal Doulton. Gladstone Pottery Museum is a popular tourist spot for all the family and features numerous activities including a chance to see the famous Bottle Kilns of the city.
Trentham Gardens is a large public park area served by bus routes from the City Centre. There is a small admission charge but various activities are available there such as a petting zoo and children's adventure playground. Depending on the weather it is also possible to rent boats and jet-ski's for fun on the expansive lakes and the natural beauty of the Gardens is awe-inspiring. "The Monkey Forest" with free-ranging Barbary macaques can also be found here but requires a separate admission fee (currently £5.50 for adults, £4.00 for children from 3 - 14 years, free for children under 3).
Stoke-on-Trent has a thriving gay community and the City Centre features several bars and nightclubs aimed at the gay and lesbian individuals. The Three Tuns and the adjoining The Club are two of the most renowned gay venues in the city along with Bar Monique. They can be found east of Hanley Bus Station travelling towards Bucknall.
Stoke-on-Trent is renowned for a delicacy known as the Staffordshire Oatcake and many Oatcake shops can be found throughout the city. The oatcake resembles a pancake in look and is a mix of flour, oatmeal, salt, yeast and water. It is often served with melted cheese and a choice of either (or all!) sausage, bacon and tomatoes.
Stoke-on-Trent as a whole is a safe city. As with anywhere care must be taken especially at night, avoid walking alone especially in dark places. Violent crime is not that common within the city and visits to the area are rarely troubled by this sort of crime.
Pickpockets sometimes operate in the shopping areas of the city.
As with the rest of the UK, in any emergency call 999 or 112 (from a land-line if you can) and ask for Ambulance, Fire or Police when connected. It is free to call the Emergency Services from Payphones.
The locale of Stoke-on-Trent makes it ideal to visit other cities in the Midlands and North-West of England.
Birmingham can be reached on the M6 Motorway heading southbound and takes roughly an hour to reach. There are hourly train services most of the day that cost about £12 return and in fifty minutes take one right into the heart of Birmingham (at New Street Station) with its Bull Ring Shopping Centre which features around 140 stores and is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe. Birmingham is home to Aston Villa Football Club, one of the oldest in England and one of the founders of the football league. Their stadium, Villa Park, lies on the outskirts of the city in Aston. They share a healthy rivalry with the more centrally located Birmingham City Football Club based at St. Andrews stadium.
Heading northbound on the M6 Motorway one can reach Manchester, the UK's third largest city (behind London and Birmingham) which is excellent for shopping and sightseeing. It also has one of the biggest gay and lesbian communities in the country. As with Birmingham, Manchester is roughly an hour away by car and cheap train fares are available which will take you right into the centre of the city. Old Trafford is the home of the world-renowned Manchester United Football Club and tours of the ground are available.
Liverpool is another location that is easily accessible from Stoke-on-Trent, being slightly north of Manchester and roughly a ninety minute journey by car. Cheap rail fares are available but often require a train change along the way and consequently can take up to two hours to reach. Liverpool is famous for its docklands, museums and being the home of The Beatles. It is also the home of the historic Liverpool Football Club.
The historic city of Nottingham lies to the east of Stoke-on-Trent and once again is easily accessible by car or train. Many coach operators run regular services to Nottingham taking around ninety minutes to two hours and details are available from the tourist information office at Hanley Bus Station. Nottingham is a city renowned for its beauty and medieval architecture and Robin Hood enthusiasts will find much to do there.
The county town of Stafford is a place to visit to sample traditional British life and culture. It is around twenty minutes from Stoke-on-Trent via car or train and bus services take around forty minutes from Hanley Bus Station. Stafford is known for its magnificent parks, architecture and its bustling yet traditional high street.