Staffordshire Centre

Join Us For A Visit

Our programme of visits for 2023 starts with a car visit to BIFoR. Note that all visit places must be pre-booked and paid for using the booking form on the buttons below. To view details of an individual visit on a device with a small screen, such as a mobile, click on the relevant picture.

2024 Visits Programme

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Richard III Visitor Centre

A Coach Visit on Wednesday 18th September

Leicester Cathedral reopened after an extensive 2 year restoration in November 2023.  King Richard III was re-buried in the Cathedral in 2015 and we will have a 30 minute “Richard III” tour with a guide, and then time to explore the Cathedral at our own pace. The King Richard III Visitor Centre, just opposite, was built over the site of the Grey Friars Priory, where King Richard’s remains were buried 500 years ago, following the Battle of Bosworth.  The Centre houses, amongst other things, a Dynasty exhibition, which tells the story of his rise to power and also a new exhibition entitled Murder, Mystery and Mayhem. It is suggested that we will need at least an hour and a half in the Centre.  We will need to divide into two groups and there will be plenty of time for coffee, lunch etc. There is an on-site cafe and many other places to eat within walking distance.

Pick up: Stafford Station  8.40, Wildwood Shopping Centre 8:50

Prices : members and non-members of the Centre £32.00

Booking Deadline: 18th August

Organiser: Margaret Winfield

Fish & Chip Canal Cruise

A Car Visit on Friday 12th July

Following the success of our chippy cruise last year, we have again booked a two-hour Canal Cruise with a Fish and Chip lunch on 12th July.
We will set off from Parkgate Lock and cruise down to Acton Trussel. Tea and coffee is included in the price and the Georgie Kate is fully licensed so there will be an opportunity to order other drinks and/or desserts on board. Car parking is available at Parkgate Lock.
All visits must be paid for in advance.

Meet: 11.45 at Parkgate Lock, Teddesley Road for a 12.00 start.
Sat Nav ST19 5RH
Price: £25.00 per head
Booking Deadline: 12th June – To allow numbers to be confirmed
Organiser: Margaret Winfield

Harvington Hall

A Car Visit on Wednesday 17th April

This event is now closed

Discover the house of secrets! Step back in time to discover how English Catholics lived in terror during the second half of Elizabeth 1st’s reign.
An imposing medieval moated manor house, it can be traced back to the 13th century, each corner and staircase reveals a history of Recusant Catholic priests being hunted and the sordid history of torture and execution.
Harvington is unique. It has seven remaining priest holes, more than any other house in England and visitors can experience the unique beauty of Elizabethan wall paintings, original panelling and floorboards. The Hall’s staircases, passages and doorways disorientate and trick the mind.
The Hall is owned by the Archdiocese of Birmingham, bequeathed in 1923 by Miss Ellen Ferris, a wealthy Catholic lady, but it had links with the Throckmortons of Coughton Court (National Trust) in the early 18th century who had no use for it and it fell into disrepair.
NOTE: The Hall is not wheelchair accessible, apart from the ground floor. Chairs are offered in every room and alternative staircases for those with walking/mobility difficulties. For anyone wanting further information there is a 360 degree virtual tour on the Harvington Hall website to explore the logistics of the house.

There is uneven flooring on the upper floors.
Price: £11.50
Booking deadline: April 7th
Meet: Harvington Hall, 10.30-10.45 Sat Nav: DY10 4LR
Organiser: Ruth Williams
Refreshments available on site in the Malt House café.

If calling at Dudmaston Hall (National Trust) Quatt near Bridgnorth on the way home (optional), remember to bring your National Trust membership card or Volunteer card to avoid paying the standard entrance fee of £5.50.

Skittles At The Royal Oak, Gnosall

A Visit on Thursday 22nd February

This event is now cancelled

ome and join us for some fun at our inaugural skittles day, to be held upstairs at The Royal Oak.
We’ll have teams of 4, which you can nominate (or we’ll pick on the day). We expect the competition to take around two hours so there’s time for everyone to join in. The price includes a buffet lunch – what more could you ask for?
Price: £10

Organiser: Margaret Winfield
Meet: Royal Oak, Gnosall, ST20 0BL, at 12.00
Please Note: this suggestion has already proved popular and the maximum number of participants we can book is 20 – so please act now if you want to join us!

Visits From 2023

Ludlow Food Festival

A Coach Visit on Friday 8th September

On the Sausage Trail at Ludlow Food Festival by Jeremy Bolwell

This event is now closed

The date for us to purchase discounted tickets for our day at the famous Ludlow Food Festival inside Ludlow Castle has now passed so we are no longer able to offer an inclusive price for this outing. However, there are still places on the coach and, if you want purchase your own individual tickets to the festival from the organisers (currently £14.50), you can still buy seats on our coach and be dropped off at the entrance to the Castle, with no worries about about finding (or paying for) parking.
The castle grounds are laid to grass with some gravelled areas and toilets (including disabled) are available within the castle grounds.

Pick up : Stafford Railway Station – 09.30, Wildwood Shopping Centre – 09.45

Pricing: The price of a place on this coach is £23.00 This price does NOT include admission to the Food Festival itself. To gain admission to the Food Festival you will need to purchase individual tickets (currently £14.50) from the organisers.

Booking Deadline: Currently you need to purchase your tickets to gain entrance to the Festival before September 4th to avoid having to collect them in person from the Ludlow ticket office.

Organiser: John Willis

Fish and Chip Canal Boat Cruise

Wednesday 23rd August

This event is now closed

As part of our 50th-year celebrations, we have booked a two-hour Canal Cruise with a Fish and Chip lunch on 23rd August.
We will set off from Parkgate Lock and cruise down to Acton Trussel. Tea and coffee is included in the price and the Georgie Kate is fully licensed so there will be an opportunity to order other drinks and/or desserts on board. Car parking is available at Parkgate Lock.
All visits must be paid for in advance.

Meet: 11.45 at Parkgate Lock, Teddesley Road for a 12.00 start.
Sat Nav ST19 5RH
Price: £23.00 per head
Booking Deadline: ASAP – Places are limited

Organiser: Margaret Winfield

Staunton Harold Church and Calke Abbey

A Car Visit on Wednesday 19th July

Staunton Harold Church was built in 1653 on the instructions of the royalist Sir Robert Shirley, 4th Baronet as a defiant political statement against the Commonwealth and in defence of the divine right of kings. He did not live to see its completion as he was imprisoned by Cromwell in the Tower of London where he died in 1656. After the restoration of the monarchy the church was completed in 1665. The exterior is a fine example of the Gothic Revival style. The interior furnishings are Jacobean with oak box pews and wood panelling. We will have a guided tour and talk which last approximately one hour, including time for questions at the end.We then make our way to Calke Abbey, free time until 1.00pm, view house, eat, shop or wander around grounds (note: there may be waiting times for the house on busy days).

Calke Abbey – the un-stately home and country estate, a place where time stood still. 600 acres of historic parkland with ancient oaks including 1,200 year old ‘Old Man of Calke’ and a Baroque-style mansion with peeling paintwork and abandoned rooms portraying the dramatic decline of a country house estate. Learn about a family who amassed a vast collection of hidden treasures, the Harpur Crewe family. The natural history collection is the largest in the National Trust’s care.
We will have a private tour of the garden at 1.00pm, home to an orangery, glasshouses and gardener’s bothy.

Eating and Shopping: Restaurant and café, Gift shop, bookshop and plant sales in the Stableyard.
Meet: Staunton Harold Church: Staunton Harold Estate, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, 10.00am.
Sat Nav: LE65 1RW (also LE65 1RU) (nearest toilets 500 yards (not NT).
Price: Members: £10.00. Non-members £12.00.
Note Non-members of the National Trust will have to pay normal admission charges upon entry to the estate (£7 to grounds and parkland and £11 for timed admission to house), in addition to the above charges,
Access: See here to view the Calke Abbey Access statement
Organiser: Ruth Williams

Packwood House and Baddesley Clinton

A Coach Visit on Wednesday 28th June

Packwood House is a timber-framed Tudor manor house with a famous Yew Garden containing over 100 trees which was laid out in the mid-17th century. We hope to be given a guided tour of the garden which will take just under an hour.
After the tour, we will have time for lunch before we travel on to Baddesley Clinton
Outside of the guided tour of the garden at Packwood, you are free to explore the grounds and house at both properties. Entrance to both houses is by timed ticket which start at 11 am. Both properties have some areas of gravel pathways and rough terrain.
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Pick up: Stafford Station: 08.15, Wildwood Shopping Centre: 08.30
Prices: Centre members: £24.00, Visitors £26.00. Non-members of the NT; Additional £13.00
Organiser: Pam Page

Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR)

A Car Visit on Wednesday 19th April

BIFoR FACE facilty at Norbury

This event is now closed

BIFoR is a University of Birmingham facility, situated in a mature oak woodland at Norbury, in the heart of Staffordshire. The aim of the ten year Free Air Carbon Enrichment (FACE) experiment is to establish what effect increasing levels of carbon dioxide will have on forest and woodland life, on those people who live and work in forests, on forest products for industry, building and agriculture and most importantly on our health and well-being. In October 2018, when the project was about two years into its work, we organised a presentation by Anna Gardener for the Centre. During this visit we will have a tour of the project site guided by Dr Sam Dobbie. She will update us on what progress has been made to date with this real, large-scale experiment that will help answer some important questions about trees and the influences of pollution and of climate change.

Meet: 1.45pm, Mill Haft, Norbury Junction Sat Nav: ST20 0FJ
Price: Members £8.00, Visitors £10.00
Booking Deadline: Numbers are restricted for this visit. Please book before April 12th to enable numbers to be confirmed.
Organiser: Sue Willis
The Tour takes about one and half to two hours and is entirely outdoors. Some paths are unven and there are some steps, so walking boots are advisable. This visit is not suitable for wheelchair or scooter users. Toilets are available on site but no eating facilities. Nearby venues for refreshments are The Junction Inn at Norbury and the Tearoom at Norbury Wharf.