A UK Canal Boating Article

Category : Places


Legend states that Stafford was founded around 700 AD by the Mercian prince Bertelin who established a hermitage on a secluded marshy island. Translated Stafford means staithe, by a landing place, and ford as it was once a crossing point in the marshy valley of the River Sow, a tributary of the River Trent. Iron age man settled here because of its rich mineral deposits and vast forests. Stafford played a central part in the build up of the pottery industry in the Staffordshire area.

The Shire Hall Gallery is housed in a Grade two listed building and hosts a diverse programme of temporary art and craft exhibitions throughout the year. Visitors can also explore the historic Victorian Crown Court which still stands within this listed building. Learn about the fate of the people who stood in the dock and see the holding cells where prisoners once awaited trial.

St Chads Church dates from the 12th Century and is full of stone carvings including fantastic animal and human figures, abstract patterns and the ubiquitous ‘Green Man’, who has both Christian and Pagan associations. Behind what appears as a largely Victorian exterior lies a rich heritage of twelfth century architecture and sculpture.

Victoria Park is an award winning park situated on the banks of the River Sow close to Stafford town centre. The park has many features including aviaries and a glasshouse full of exotic plants, a bandstand and bowling green. The new play area includes swings, a multi play unit, and ground based trampoline.There is also a splash pad, which shoots six different jets of water and sand pit with play equipment and sand diggers as well as a sports bowl for skaters, bikers and BMXers.

Stafford Castle was built by the Normans who quickly recognised this prominent vantage point and strategic site and build a timber fortress here by 1100 AD. The site itself extends to over 26 acres and consists of Keep and woodland. The Visitor Centre has a display telling the history of the castle and hands on activities. The Visitor Centre offers a wide range of gifts and outside visitors can experience the herb garden and discover what they were used for in the medieval period.

Embark on a journey from Elizabethan days through the turbulent Civil War era to the more refined Edwardian period at the Ancient High House. There are hands on activities, children's games and quizzes as well as an exciting range of events and workshops throughout the year. Four hundred years of history are waiting to be discovered within the walls of England's largest timber framed town house.

At Shugborough Hall, home of the late Lord Lichfield, take a journey through the historic estate and experience the UK's best 'upstairs downstairs' experience. See history brought to life by costumed living history characters who share their lives and powerful stories from the past with visitors. Within the park you can explore the beautiful gardens, magnificent monuments and wander through the island arboretum.

Stafford offers the very best in shopping with a great mix of national and independent retailers along the bustling high street, in modern indoor shopping centres, and in picturesque cobbled streets. The Guildhall Shopping Centre is home to 40 shops including and vibrant markets are held on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday each week. Stafford has something to offer from many cuisines from all over the world whether you are looking for that special restaurant or an informal cafe bar.



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