Your 2020 holiday plans may have gone out of the window, but you haven’t needed to travel far from your front door to enjoy a whole summer of fun.

Residents across the city have been enjoying their own Stoke-cations by visiting our parks and open spaces, as well as supporting the city’s paid for attractions.

Resident Terri Lowe said about her Stoke-cation: “When the world was on pause at the start of lockdown we spent our time exploring local walks along the greenways and cycle paths. It was fantastic to explore the areas right on our doorstep and discover how quickly we could walk from town to town. We quickly created a regular route that took us about an hour and we managed to go between two brilliant country parks and back again. Fast forward to the world opening up we have been to Trentham Gardens and Chatterley Whitfield, which is a great walking route where you can see the historical site that makes up part of our mining history. I have been extremely impressed with the places I have visited so far, particularly the pubs in Burslem. Titanic Brewery appear to have made a distinct effort across all their pubs – the booking system, table service and space between the tables made it absolutely fantastic. We felt completely safe at all times and the staff were amazing.

“If you haven’t already had your own Stoke-cation adventure, I would definitely recommend The Rabbit Hole Tea Room in Stoke, it is always my ‘ace card’ when it comes to hidden treasures. It is a family-run business that creates the most amazing cakes in a fairy tale tea room – we always book in for afternoon tea on any occasion we can. I also have a massive soft spot for the Titanic Plum Porter at the moment. Getting it on tap in a local pub is definitely my favourite thing to consume lately.”

Resident Laura Carter said about her and her young family’s Stoke-cation: “During our Stoke-cation we have been visiting as many parks and outdoor spaces as possible in and around Stoke-on-Trent. I chair the Refugee Mothers’ Support Network and run the Stoke-on-Trent Mum’s Club and throughout the Covid-19 lockdown my aim was to show mums how much green space we have within the city that is not only free to use but also really suitable for all ages and safe to visit. Our favourites are Burslem and Tunstall Park where we’ve been meeting some of our mums at a social distance. One of the places that we visit several times a week is Holden Pools and Ford Green Nature Reserve. It’s only a couple of streets away and the paths that were installed make it very child friendly and an easy stroll with pushchairs and bikes. The pools offer some amazing wildlife spotting opportunities, we love to visit and say hello to the regular fishermen that we meet. All in all it’s just a beautiful place to visit filled with friendly Stokies. The indoor spaces that we have visited have all been amazing with following social distancing. They’ve allowed more space for queuing and have been cleaning a lot more. Everything I have witnessed has made me feel really confident that the people and businesses of Stoke-on-Trent are doing everything possible to protect us from Covid-19. Stoke-on-Trent has so many versatile spaces, we have such lovely green spaces, traditional markets and the city is absolutely packed full of culture.”

Tourism attractions across the city have been communicating re-opening messages so that visitors feel safe and know what to do ahead of their visits. This is providing visitors with the reassurance they need to confidently revisit the city as more attractions have re-opened again over the summer break.  From pre-booked time slots to one-way routes, attractions are taking great care to ensure that there are measures in place.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore, the city council’s cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said:  “It is great to hear so many residents have been exploring what our great city has to offer this summer, and I’ve loved seeing the photos people have been sharing on social media. We have some amazing, family friendly attractions and venues across the city that are back open and have been welcoming visitors in their usual ‘Stokie’ friendly way.

“Stoke-on-Trent has so much to offer, but too often people can overlook what’s right on their doorstep, tourism in the city supports thousands of jobs and creates in the region of £357m for our local economy, so it’s essential that we continue to support local businesses. We have worked with attractions across the city to encourage them to achieve the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry mark, so that visitors can be assured that correct and safe procedures are in place when they visit.”

Visit Stoke, the council’s Visitor Economy Team are also asking residents to share photos of their summer Stoke-cation adventures on social media using the hashtags #Stokecation and #MyStokeStory to be in with a chance of winning prizes from some of the city’s rich cultural, tourism attractions.

Prizes include: Family ticket to Gladstone Pottery Museum, A day ticket to the Trentham Estate, Takeaway Afternoon Tea for Two from the World of Wedgwood, Tickets to the new factory tour at the World of Wedgwood, A family ticket for this year’s, Christmas show Beauty and the Beast at the New Vic Theatre, Family pottery throwing session for 4 at LoveClay, A set of artist designed collectable postcards by football artist Paine Proffitt courtesy of Barewall Gallery, Hot beverage and cake for 2 at Hanley Park’s Pavilion Cafe.
More information on the campaign is available at: www.visitstoke.co.uk/stoke-cation.

Residents are reminded to follow Public Health England guidance when visiting attractions across the city. For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

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