Where to “Feel Free”, and find a “deconstructed hotel”, this summer

New attractions and wide-open spaces are set to welcome visitors back to Staffordshire this summer.

Under the banner of Feel Free…’, Enjoy Staffordshire’s new campaign aims to highlight how the county is opening-up again for tourism – and with availability – for Staycations this summer.

From an adrenaline rush in the UK’s ‘Attractions Central’ at two of the best UK theme parks, to celebrating a hidden heroine of history at a new interactive gallery in a 900-year-old castle, the campaign highlights top visitor experiences.

And with countryside and the open-air at the top of the wish list for many holidaymakers post-lockdown, the campaign also reveals where to go, and stay, to really ‘Feel Free.’

While most people think of Derbyshire when mentioning the Peak District, it also stretches over the border, where the National Park makes up to a third of the Staffordshire Moorlands district with views ranging from rocky outcrops to rolling hills and valleys.

At its heart, The Roaches – dubbed the gateway to Staffordshire’s Peak District – has soaring rock faces and heather-covered hillsides, while more walking and cycling routes can be found exploring The Manifold Valley, a deep limestone valley of steeply wooded slopes and towering rock pinnacles.

For an extra buzz, mountain bike routes are so good at Cannock Chase – England’s smallest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – that the area will host mountain biking events next summer for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Adrenaline junkies, or those looking for action, adventure and fun days out, can find man-made thrills a plenty too, with Staffordshire home to both Alton Towers Resort and Drayton Manor Resort, plus a whole host of other attractions – from the original UK indoor ski slope, Snowdome Tamworth, to Waterworld Stoke, one of the country’s top indoor water parks.

New for 2021 at Alton Towers Resort Theme Park is the chance to take a spin with Gangsta Granny in ‘The World of David Walliams’, a themed area featuring a host of rides and attractions. Enjoy the ultimate stay in a themed Gangsta room in the Alton Towers Hotel.

For a fresh perspective on history and heritage, Tamworth Castle has unveiled its new interactive gallery celebrating the town’s Anglo-Saxon history, including a forgotten ‘warrior queen’. Once the ancient seat of Mercian Kings, the Castle’s story has been brought to life as part of ‘Battle and Tribute’, offering visitors a family friendly way of exploring the town’s rich heritage, including the story of Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great, one of the most powerful figures of her time.

And at the National Memorial Arboretum, the UK’s year-round centre of remembrance celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, a new AR family trail, available as a smart phone app, guides visitors to eight locations around the Arboretum, where an augmented reality character will appear. Set within 25,000 trees, the NMA has almost 400 memorials creating a living tribute to the sacrifices made by the UK’s Armed Forces and civil services.

New accommodation opening this summer adds to the sense of freedom and getting back to nature, thanks to a “deconstructed hotel” in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside.

The Tawny Hotel is due to open in early July, set within the 70-acre grounds of the restored wild garden of Consall Hall Estate, close to the south-western boundary of the Peak District National Park. As well as a central building housing a restaurant, accommodation comes courtesy of 55 eco-conscious shepherd’s huts, treehouses, boathouses, retreats and the Lookout, each inspired by its surroundings and sympathetically designed (https://thetawny.co.uk).

For more information about visiting, and staying in, Staffordshire, visit http://www.enjoystaffordshire.com

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    The striking Plumicorn offers a range of dining options at the new Tawny Hotel