Lodeys, 26 High Street, Eccleshall (2½ miles). Inexpensive large grocery shop.
The Co-op, Stone Road, Eccleshall (2½ miles). Car park, and always adequate for the basics.
Waitrose, Newport, TF10 7DS, 01952 811360 (10 miles). Can order on-line, will deliver to Sugnall.
Morrisons, Market Drayton, TF9 3AL (10 miles). Large store.
W M Perry, Stafford Steet, Eccleshall, ST21 6BL, 01785 850288 (2½ miles). Renowned family butchers. Award winning steak pies.
Buttercross Farm Foods, Market Drayton, TF9 2QS, 01630 656670, www.buttercross.com (9 miles). Pig farm with own butchery.
There is an off-licence in Eccleshall High Street, for more possibilities:
Old School House Wines, Tittensor, ST12 9HA, 01782 372888 www.oldschoolwines.co.uk (10 miles).
Whitebridge Wines, Unit 2, Whitebridge Estate, Stone, ST15 8LQ www.whitebridgewines.co.uk (9 miles)
Places to Visit
Eccleshall town (2 miles). Charming former market town with dress shops, hairdressers, cafés, a bakery and restaurants. Fine church, service at 10.00 am on Sundays.
World of Wedgwood, Barlaston, ST12 9ER (10 miles). This was the Wedgwood Factory, and is now a world-class museum with a stunning display of Wedgwood pottery over a quarter of a millennium. Great modern restaurant.
Gladstone Pottery Museum, Longton, ST3 1PQ (13 miles). The last complete Victorian pottery factory in the country, notable for its bottle-kilns.
Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Hanley, ST1 3DW (11 miles). On display are its ceramics, a World War II Spitfire, decorative arts and natural history. Items from the Staffordshire Hoard on display.
Ironbridge Gorge Museum complex, Coalbrookdale, TF8 7DQ (24 miles). A World Heritage Site for being one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution. The Iron Bridge was the world’s first iron bridge, and there are blast furnaces and foundries dotted around.
RAF Cosford, Albrighton, TF11 8UP (22 miles). Museum dedicated to the history of aviation and the Royal Air Force in particular, the main halls jammed full of the actual aeroplanes. Includes some of the early German rockets captured after WWII.
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, Nantwich, CW5 8AL, www.hackgreen.co.uk (15 miles). Eerie Cold-War remnant that nobody knew was there.
Isaac Walton’s Cottage, Shallowford, ST15 OPA (8 miles). Izaak Walton, author of the celebrated ‘The Compleat Angler’, owned this charming black-and-white cottage, preserved and with a garden to suit. Open Sundays only, May-Aug.
Stafford Castle, ST16 1DJ (9 miles). First built in wood on a prominent vantage point against a hostile and rebellious native community, later to be replaced by a massive stone keep by the Earls of Stafford.
Shugborough Hall, ST17 0XB (National Trust) (13 miles). Rare survival of a complete estate, with all major buildings including mansion house, servants’ quarters, model farm (with longhorn cattle) and walled garden.
Weston Park, TF11 8LE (15 miles). Major country house set in a Capability Brown park; temples, barns, even a dragon’s cave, can be seen. Also an art gallery, a farm shop and a miniature railway.
Lichfield Cathedral, WS13 7LD (17 miles). Magnificent medieval cathedral in an interesting old centre.
Trentham Gardens (7 miles). Once the finest Victorian parterre in the country, looking out over a large lake and woodlands by Capability Brown. The new-look gardens have matured into some of the finest in Britain, to be called by Alan Titchmarsh “one of the UK’s must-see gardens”.
Hawkstone Park Follies, SY4 5JY (17 miles). Rugged and picturesque, with some tough walks and fearsome moments. www.hawkstoneparkfollies.co.uk.
Biddulph Grange gardens (National Trust) (18 miles). An extraordinary High-Victorian garden with many surprising features, rescued by the National trust.
Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre, Eccleshall, ST21 6JY (3 miles). Sanctuary for unwanted and mistreated owls, hawks, snakes, monkeys and more.
Come Into Play, Stone, Whitebridge Estate, Stone, ST15 8LQ, 01785 286882 (8 miles). Staffordshire’s favourite indoor play centre, with a decent café for the parents.
Flip Out Stoke, ST15 0SS (10 miles). with its 100 trampolines, giant foam pits, wall runners, slam ball courts and cafe for those exhausted by watching. www.flipout.co.uk/locations/stoke-stone.
Trentham Monkey Forest, ST12 9HR (11 miles). The woodland trail allows you to walk amongst the monkeys and immerse yourself in their everyday antics.
Aerial Extreme, Trentham, ST12 9HR (11 miles). Challenges that include rope bridges, scramble nets, zip wires, swinging logs and balance beams.
Emma Bridgewater Decorating Studio, ST1 3EJ, 01782 201328 (12 miles). Paint-your-own sessions, plus the factory shop. Best to book.
Water World, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5PU (15 miles). The UK’s no. 1 indoor tropical water park with white knuckle rides and beach effect wave pool.
Amerton Farm, Stowe By Chartley, ST18 0LA, 01889 270294 (16 miles). Farm shop, bakery, shopping area, children’s play barn, pottery shop/paint your own, animal rescue centre, a stream railway, restaurant, etc., which should keep you there most of the day.
Alton Towers, ST10 4DB, 0871 222 3330 (27 miles). Yes, THE Alton Towers.
The Star Inn, Copmere End, ST21 6EW, 01785 850279 (1½ mile). Award winning pub food.
Merckx Belgian Bar, 27 High St, Eccleshall, ST21 6BW (2½ miles). Just the beer. Convivial.
The Royal Oak, 25 High St, Eccleshall, ST21 6BW (2½ miles). Good (Joules’s) beer, and has a restaurant.
The Peel Arms, 83 Church Rd, Ashley, TF9 4JY (5½ miles) 01630 674260. Good pub grub.
London House, Eccleshall, ST21 6BZ, 01785 850055 (2½ miles). Consistently excellent Indian cuisine. Does take-away.
Jasmine Peking, Eccleshall, ST21 6BW, 01785 851200 (2½ miles). Chinese fare. Does take-away.
Old Smithy, Eccleshall, ST21 6DF, 01785 850564 (2½ miles). Great atmosphere, great food.
The Swan at Fornton, Forton, TF10 8BY, 01952 812169 (8 miles). Restaurant with Sunday carvery.
Swan with two Necks, Maer, ST5 5EH, 01782 680343 (9 miles). Very popular gastro-pub.
Pasta Di Piazza, 12 High Street, Stone, ST15 8AW, 01785 813214 (9 miles). Italian restaurant.
Thai Lanna, 11 High Street, Stone, ST15 8AJ, 01785 819000 (9 miles). Nearest Thai restaurant.
Also in Eccleshall are a fish bar and the take-away Star Pizza (01785-850122).
Apple and pear juice from our own walled garden.
Stone Farmers’ Market, first Sunday of every month.
Stone Food & Drink Festival, 6, 7, 8 October 2017 (9 miles). www.stonefooddrink.org.uk. The North Midlands’ biggest and busiest.
Nantwich International Cheese Festival, 26 July 2017, CW5 8DB (20 miles). www.internationalcheeseawards.co.uk
Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat, near Stone, ST15 8WF, 01782 399000 (12.1 miles). firstname.lastname@example.org (9 miles). Country spa retreat offering spa days, spa breaks and treatments.
Hoar Cross (20 miles). Spa days offered in a country house environment.
Gym and Pool
Alleyne’s Swimming Pool, ST15 8DR (8 miles). 25m pool with public sessions in the afternoons. 01785815715
M Club Spa and Fitness, 01782 667900 (12 miles). Gym, pool, etc. You must register beforehand. http://mclubspaandfitness.co.uk/register-with-m-club-spa-and-fitness/
Should you wish for quadbiking, archery, laser combat or team-building activities.
The outdoor activities are offered by local businesses who will be fully insured.
Staffordshire is famous for its canals, especially the Trent and Mersey and the Shropshire Union. Narrowboats can be hired from the latter at Norbury Junction (6 miles). Norbury Wharf Ltd. (01785 284292) offers day hire from 9.00 am to 16.30 pm.
Cannock Chase Horse Trekking (12 miles). 2 hour or all day treks across this semi-wild area.
Walking and cycling
Local canal tow-paths are popular.
For more exertion and beauty there is Cannock Chase AONB
Badenhall (4 miles). Several pools stocked with mixed exotic coarse fish, including carp, chubb, bream, roach and tench. Day tickets available.
Loynton Trout Fisheries (8 miles). Stillwater fly fishing of high quality offered; ‘Corporate Days’ can be booked.
Clay pigeon shooting
West Midlands Shooting Ground, Hodnet (13 miles). Offers lessons and caters for groups.
Tony Roe of the Rowley Gun Club in Croxton (1 mile). Phone: 01630 620248.
Beau Desert, Rugeley (18 miles). Currently ranked well within the top 100 courses of England, it does offer 18-hole day rates to visitors.
Hawkstone Park (15 miles). Two courses are situated in 400 acres of undulating parkland surrounding the cliffs of the world-famous 18th Century Follies providing a spectacular backdrop. Visitor rates available on enquiry.
Chaos Leisure, Ollerton Ln, Ollerton, Market Drayton TF9 2BS, Phone: 01630 285050, https://www.chaosleisure.com/ . Outdoor activity organiser offering corporate days and kids birthdays for Monster Trucks, Quad Bikes and Laser Shooting.