We did consider going to Stafford for a couple of days, but we decided on just the day visit. This proved to be enough, but there are still plenty of sights to see in this interesting town. Here are five things to do if you found yourself stranded in Stafford for a day…
1. Ancient High House – This is the largest remaining timber framed town house in England. It was built in the late 16th century and Charles I stopped there in 1642 while on route to Shrewsbury. It was in 1986 when it opened to the public as a museum. It now has a Savers and a phone shop inside it, presumably to help pay for the upkeep. To our dismay it closes on Sundays and Mondays. We should have known better going to an English town on a Sunday. The museum is free admission as well!
2. River Sow Walk – The River Sow encircles most of the town and gives plenty of opportunity to walk alongside of it and not stray too far from the town centre. There’s a lot of bridges, as well as points of interest along the way to stop off at, such as Victoria Park, which has woodland, a bowling green, an avery and even a greenhouse filled with unusual and pretty plants. There’s also the site of the old mill on Mill Bank Road.
3. Mr Simms Sweet shop – We both love a good sweet shop. Especially ones like Mr Simms that design their shops as if it was around 50 to 100 years ago. This particular one was down the alley behind the Ancient High House. There were all kinds of sweets and loads of colourful variations in jars behind the counter. Emma bought 100g of fudge, but had to return later to buy 100g of fizzy dummies.
4. Stafford Castle – We nearly missed out on the castle. I had done some research and found out that it was free admission, but it closed at 4pm. We parked up outside the visitor centre at 3:45pm. Luckily it was just the visitor centre that closed at 4pm and not the actual castle. It’s easy to see why a castle was built on this vantage point at the top of a hill. The views of Stafford and beyond are beautiful and expansive. Back in the day the occupants of the castle would have seen an enemy from quite a distant away. We ourselves heard a repetitive drumming beyond the trees. I believed we were about to be attacked by an invading force, Emma’s explanation was probably more realistic and a lot less fanciful…sadly access inside the castle isn’t possible, which is why it’s free. But there are information signs dotted around the castle and grounds.
5. A Promising Future – There was a decent amount of construction going on around the town. M&S had moved to a plush new open aired shopping mall, which included a lot of shops, including a Primark opening on 13th October 2016. But along with the new there is still plenty of the old. History is dotted all over the town and I think in a couple of years time Stafford will be a really cool blend of history and modernism.