The World of Wedgwood, Free Roaming Monkeys and a lovely pottery town near London (Stoke-on-Trent)

Crossing the road at the Monkey forest
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Take note of this name if you ever dream of England: Stoke-on-Trent.  This amazing area known as “The Potteries” is where you might find the birthplace of some of the very dishes in your cupboards at home.  We happened to be driving through on our recent trip to England and we needed a place to stop for lunch but if I could go back in time I would IMMEDIATELY have tried to stay here overnight.  I actually think I could spend days in this city exploring.  We only spent an afternoon here, but I was suprised at how much my whole family enjoyed our visit to the Wedgwood factory and we even found wild-roaming MONKEYS in England too!

World of Wedgwood outdoor play area for kids

Because we only had a short time to visit, I really wanted to see a factory that epitomized what pottery in England would mean to me when I went back home.  I had no idea how long the boys in my family could handle pottery factories and I knew we had a long drive ahead of us.  Thankfully because we have a T-mobile plan (I switched to T-Mobile in December and have LOVED my phone plan for travel in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and England) I had unlimited data in England and it was easy to search places to visit while we drove.  I found a site that talked about the ceramics trail  and decided we would eat at the World of Wedgwood before heading to London where we were staying that night.  (Stoke-on-Trent is about a 3 hour drive from London and this was an incredibly hard decision because there were so many intriguing pottery factories to choose from!)

I am so glad we stopped where we did.  Along our way to the World of Wedgwood, I noticed a sign that read “MONKEY FOREST” and I filed that in the back of my mind and this teeny sign totally changed my life forever.

Restaurant at World of Wedgwood

Amazing kids play area in the World of Wedgwood

We arrived at the Wedgwood factory and it was stunning.  I loved the tea garden play area for the kids and if we weren’t so hungry or pressed for time we would have stopped to play outside for a while. But we headed into the restaurant and found out even the kids’ meals here were superb-there were lots of choices for vegetarian and gluten-free too. There was even a beautiful and contained play area in the restaurant for young kids.  This is the type of place I would spend a lot of time in if it was in Seattle.  We were so enamoured that we decided to forgo our original plan of heading straight to London after lunch and spent the whole day in Stoke-on-Trent.

Eating lunch at the World of Wedgwood in Stoke on Trent

So many gorgeous displays at the World of Wedgwood

We wanted to see the factory so we went on a self-guided tour.  I was suprised at how much of the factory we were allowed to see (ALL OF IT!).  We saw the whole process a piece of pottery went through before it was finished and I loved how the factory workers were so kind to my family and welcoming as we toured even though we were just touring the factory ourselves. The end of the tour was my favorite because we had the option of throwing pottery. I spent a lot of time a few years ago learning pottery so I was amazed at how quickly my kids were able to pick it up with the help from the Wedgwood professionals and it was so adorable to watch them create vases on a wheel.  The World of Wedgwood even fires the pottery for you and ships the finished vases to the USA if you want to keep your souvenir.  (It was a little spendy but I love that they arrived a few weeks after we got home.)

Kids making pottery in the World of Wedgwood Mastercraft Studio in England

Kids making pottery in the Mastercraft Studio in the World of Wedgwood

I almost didn’t want to leave, but I remembered the “Monkey Forest” sign and had looked it up at lunch. I couldn’t believe our luck.  The Trentham Monkey Forest was mere minutes away and it is an area that is home to over a hundred free-roaming monkeys.  FREE ROAMING MONKEYS!

Monkey Forest with kids in England

I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived.

How could I?  Who would expect anything like this in England?

Monkey Forest in England with kids

Monkeys were everywhere.

This was my perfect day.

It was my kids’ perfect day.

And even my husband thought it was amazing too.

Monkey forest in England where they roam wild

Pottery and monkeys.

If you love these things, I hope you find Stoke on Trent in your future too.

(PS. I’m always a little worried about how animals are treated, but it seemed like the monkeys here had a lot of choice whether or not they wanted to be near humans and it seemed like they were well-taken care of.)

(PPS. There is an afternoon tea at the World of Wedgwood that looked absolutely fabulous-just dining on the beautiful dishes would be spectacular.  I also found some kind of coupon on the Stoke on Trent website that gave 10% off the visit and there were other coupons that might be useful there too.)

(PPPS We went to another pottery factory that did not ship to the US and I was so disappointed so it’s pretty amazing that the World of Wedgwood does send the make yourself things here.  I know the vases will be souvenirs I treasure for a long time!)




25 thoughts on “The World of Wedgwood, Free Roaming Monkeys and a lovely pottery town near London (Stoke-on-Trent)

  1. Wow first I was amazed when I saw the monkeys. They are everywhere here in SE Asia but I had know idea there would a place like that near London. On to the pottery factory. I have collected many types of glass and pottery through the years including Wedgwood. This would have been a perfect place for me.

  2. I really enjoy these tours of ‘how things are made’. Pottery is on my list as a hobby-craft to acquire this winter, so the topic is specially interesting for me right now. You must have come back more aware 🙂

  3. Congrats for tackling a potentialy tough topic–I think many people would consider a stop at the home of Wedgwood to not be an A-list site. I’ve been there myself, wasn’t my idea, and had a delightful time.

  4. I didn’t realize the Wedgewood factory was still open. For some reason I was under the impression it was closed. I love how you can make your piece of pottery – what a fun activity! Would definitely go out my way to visit when I find myself in England next.

  5. Oh! My! So close to nature!Definitely a memorable experience for kids.
    Your kids do have a creative bent of mind to enjoy pottery. Good to expose them to such creative fields early in life.

  6. We find it always fascinating to visit a place unplanned and then it turns out to be one of the cherished memories visiting that place. Glad that you decided to visit the Wedgwood factory and share such an amazing place with us.

  7. I had seen Stoke on Trent from the train while I was on my way to London. It seemed like a beautiful place even from the train and your post just proved that. I love that you get to see freely strolling monkeys here. In India too in some parts we have some notoriuous groups of monkeys snatching food and anything that they come across from the people. 😛

  8. Damn the British are crazy…a monkey forest…now that really is a tad random 😀 But the pottery place seems absolutly great…In Germany there is a tradition that whenever a couple gets married they have a day short before the wedding with friends visiting and family and everybody brings any kind of pottery or cheramics…the couple has to break it all into pieces, the more the better and then clean it up to the last shard for good luck (The mean friends bring usually a whole toilet seat)…Yeap throwing pottery is fun^^

  9. I had no idea that Stoke on Trent was so famous for its pottery factories, even if I live in the UK. I’d love to know more about how pots are made and even try it out myself. In the South of the country, where I live, there is a monkey sanctuary called Monkey World. Here monkeys roam free also. It is a rescue centre for abused monkeys and the animals are brought here from all over the world, being rescued from circuses or smugglers.

  10. Oh my! This is so cool! I love potteries and I didn’t expect as you the Monkeys thing! Damn that’s really amazing! Such a great and memorable experience for kids, and that’s sure I’m going to visit this place!

  11. Haha. Monkeys. I have had great monkey tragedies in my life but they are real funny. Pottery fascinates me a lot. I really want to visit London sometime soon.

  12. Having never been to Stoke on Trent , I am sad that I did not visit.I love factory tours and seeing behind the scenes so awesome you get to see all of the factory. The kids play area looks so cool. Love how you found discount vouchers online.

  13. That looks like an awesome family adventure. I’m amazed as well to see such a place in England…great job making the most out of that day!

  14. Loved this post because it highlights two aspects that we would usually not associate with England – Pottery and Roaming Monkeys. Quite an interesting and amazing place for people looking for something different in England.

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