10 things to do in Staffordshire

love it!’s MARGARET McCAULEY spent a weekend in the Midlands getting some culture – and having plenty of fun! Here are her top 10 things to do and see…

1. LICHFIELD CATHEDRAL Discover 1,300 years of history at this medieval cathedral, the only one in England with three spires. You’ll find treasures such as the Lichfield Angel, Herkenrode stained glass and the St Chad Gospels. Free entry but donations are encouraged.

2. DRAYTON MANOR Home to Europe’s only stand-up rollercoaster, thrill-seekers will love Drayton Manor. Younger visitors can be magically transported to the island of Sodor in Thomas Land. All this and a zoo to boot! Prices start at £6.

3. DRAYTON MANOR HOTEL With its comfy rooms, great facilities and a top breakfast, you don’t need to be visiting the theme park to stay here. Treat the little ones by upgrading to one of the Thomas-themed rooms!

4. STAFFORD CASTLE This local landmark (panel pic, above left) dates back to the 11th century and has some of the best surviving Norman earthworks in England. Entry is free, with the exception of some events.

5. HALFPENNY GREEN VINEYARDS With 30 acres of vines (top, main pic) and set in the rolling countryside of south Staffordshire, it’s not just wine lovers who will enjoy a visit. With a tearoom, modern restaurant, deli and a craft centre all on site, there’s something for everyone. Guided tours of the vineyard and winery are highly recommended.

6. MONKEY FOREST Situated on the Trentham Estate and home to 140 free roaming Barbary macaques. Watch as they swing from the trees, relax on the grass, or even walk on the path right beside you.

7. PENKRIDGE MARKET If you like to pick up a bargain, Penkridge Market is the place for you. Open every Wednesday and Saturday, you’ll find around 100 stalls selling a huge variety of goods, guaranteeing you won’t be leaving emptyhanded!

8. TRENTHAM GARDENS Be enchanted by the fairy trail and challenged by the bare foot walk before visiting the shops, cafes and garden centre. The award-winning gardens will not disappoint.

9. NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM As the UK’s year-round Centre of Remembrance, this arboretum is home to more than 300 memorials, each with its own story to tell. The memorials represent military associations, charitable organisations and emergency services as well as individuals.

10. WATERWORLD This tropical indoor aqua park is a great family day out. With a wave pool, rides, slides, flumes and even a new outdoor pool there is plenty to keep all ages entertained.