Animals and action adventure abound. Head to Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre, a sanctuary for unwanted and mistreated owls, hawks, snakes, monkeys and more. Or walk among 140 free-roaming Barbary macaque monkeys in 60 acres of English forest at unique Monkey Forest.
Up the ante at Flip Out Stoke, with its 100 trampolines, giant foam pits, wall runners, slamball courts and café for recovery. Hit the high ropes at Aerial Extreme Trentham with challenges that include rope bridges, scramble nets, zip wires, swinging logs and balance beams.
Chill a little at Stafford Castle, with its hands-on approach to history that includes coin minting and brass rubbing. You can throw a pot, create a plate, or just enjoy the play areas at World of Wedgwood, while celebrating the best of British industrial and design heritage.
At Trentham Gardens, kids can tackle the adventure playground, get lost in the maze, tantalise their toes on the barefoot walk and search for fairies on the fairy trail. Or maybe they’ll ride the narrow-gauge steam Amerton Railway with seasonal specials and regular open days.
For grown-ups, this corner of Staffordshire offers everything from golf to Go Ape and shooting to segways. The shooting begins with harmless clay: you can swipe them out of the sky at West Midlands Shooting Ground. And the segways? Try Birches Valley Forest Centre, where you can also Go Ape.
If you’d rather swing a club than swing through trees, we can recommend Norton Bridge Golf Club and Stone Golf Club, or if nets and lines are your thing, there are quality fisheries at Baden Hall, Loynton Trout Fishery, Heronbrook and Izaak Walton.
Rent bikes at Swinnerton Cycles Forest Centre, or use Shanks’s Pony and ramble through the 3000 acres of trails at Cannock Chase, the stunning Peak District National Park or Jackson’s Coppice and Marsh Nature Reserve. Take the boardwalk around the marsh for elevated views over the wonderful wetlands.
City slickers can get their own back with a little retail retaliation at intu Potteries, the largest shopping centre in Staffordshire and South Cheshire. When the sun sets, make for Stoke-on-Trent’s ROFL comedy club, the London Road Ale House, The Sugarmill or Jollees Cabaret Venue.