Set in beautiful countryside, World of Wedgwood comprises a working factory, visitor centre, country estate and showroom where you can enjoy a delicious afternoon tea. It is located near Stoke upon Trent, one of six towns that make up an area known as “The Potteries”.
Stoke, as it is known locally, is a bit run down these days. Although still officially home to Wedgwood and a few other ceramics manufacturers, it is also known in the UK as “Brexit Central” (in 2016, 69% of the votes cast in the referendum were for Leave) and the effects of high unemployment are noticeable.
But let’s focus on the positive! The countryside around the Potteries is beautiful and World of Wedgwood is well worth a visit.
The Wedgwood Estate
Starting with the beautiful countryside, the Wedgwood Estate covers 240 acres and includes woodlands, nature trails and a lake with a cafe. Also part of the Wedgwood landscape is Barlaston Hall. This has only been part of the estate since 1937, when Wedgwood moved its factory from Etruria to the present site, and was built between 1756-8 for a solicitor called Thomas Mills. In the 19th century it came to the Adderley family as part of an inheritance. Barlaston Hall has never been occupied by a member of the Wedgwood family.
The Wedgwood Museum
Not to be missed is the Victoria and Albert museum curated collection of 80,000 Wedgwood works of art, ceramics, letters and photographs.
We chose to go around the factory by ourselves (we wanted to take our time and found it so interesting that we returned for a second visit) but there is the option of a guided tour of about an hour.
The World of Wedgwood Factory Tour
On a one-hour tour of the factory, visitors can watch the production process from a network of balconies. The application of gold edging to lines such as Wild Strawberry can be seen at the work station and, for an additional charge, visitors can try their hand at throwing a pot.
The World of Wedgwood Tea Room
We are so happy when we go somewhere for afternoon tea and they get it right! Hats off to World of Wedgwood for not only serving the delicious teatime treats on their beautiful china, but also for getting it in the right order (sandwiches on the bottom plate, scones in the middle and fancies on top).
Further information on the history of the area
Whilst the area is worth visiting for the countryside alone, to learn more about the broader history of the area it is worth paying a visit to The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery .