Pseudo City Guide: Stoke on Trent

So many newbies (students to both Staffordshire University and Keele University alike) will be moving to the
glorious city of Stoke on Trent this coming September, so I thought I’d give
you all a little bit of an insight into this city I call home. I’ve lived in
Stoke my WHOLE LIFE. It’s been a long time; 26 years in fact, I also went to
University here, and the amount of information available can lack somewhat. Apart from the universities own venues and Alton Towers there is a few other things Stoke has to offer. There’s
quite a lot of untapped potential to this city and a lot of places to go,
people to see and regional dialect to get to grips with. So bear with me and
I’ll try and make it sound as concise as I can, duck.

So, the first thing you will notice when you get to Stoke is the
accent.The main thing you will pick up on is that we like to say our ‘lewks’
‘bewks’ and ‘cewks’ (I’ve spelt it like that so you can see what I mean. I
still remain certain that we say it is the correct way – it’s a double ‘o’ not
a ‘u’!) Everyone calls each other ‘duck’ ‘shug’ or ‘mate’ and there’s a lot of
‘erms’ and ‘larks’ (likes) between words.
An example of a stoke sentence would be
something like this:
‘Errmmm where lark are them oatcakes
lark in ‘ere duck?’
Which translates as
”Where can I find the oatcakes”.
This brings me pretty quickly on to the second treasure of Stoke:
The Staffordshire Oatcake. I’ve heard a nasty rumour that these are also known
as Derbyshire Oatcakes too, but I can assure you, Staffordshire ones are the original
and best. They’re not like those Scottish Oatcakes which are more like an oaty
biscuit though. Staffordshire Oatcakes are a savoury oat based pancake and you
will soon find that they are one of your student diet staples. They’re pretty
cheap weighing in at around a £1 a packet. You have them with cheese and bacon
as an unwritten rule but when I lived with international students they all
loved them with honey and chocolate spread, which was a little odd, but as long
as they loved them life is ok.
Another bit if key information to note about Stoke on Trent is
that ‘Stoke’ the little town just downwind from the University campus is not the city centre!
Confusing right? The city centre is called Hanley and it is currently going
through a lot of regeneration, which I’m quite excited about. I mean, imagine a
city with a H&M and Wagamama’s?! (Sorry to disappoint, we don’t have such
luxuries yet. There’s a Starbucks though) don’t let that put you off though.
Hanley has all the essentials one would need from a small city without the
masses of people everywhere getting in the way. If you do get a hankering for
the fancy pants places then it’s only about 50 minutes on a train to Manchester
or Birmingham costing you around £11 a journey which isn’t too bad. I like to
think of Stoke on Trent as a pseudo city, it’s got the title but it’s not as
city as you would usually think of it. The glorious thing is that unlike most
cities you are never more than a 10-15 minute walk away from a massive green
area which you can lounge around in during the summer days, which unfortunately
we have lacked in a little this year. There are a few lovely places to visit
though if you appreciate a good bit of country air, such as Mow Cop castle,
Trentham Gardens or even just Hanley Forest Park which is a bit more of a
friendly atmosphere than Hanley Park in Shelton. Hanley Forest Park has the
biggest outdoor skating plaza in EUROPE which I personally think is pretty
awesome. Even if you’re not into sports and activities like that it’s always
great to pop down and have a look at the people who are! Going back to Mow Cop,
it’s a little place where I grew up. It’s a nice walk up a big hill where you
can see for miles around; from the Welsh mountains to across Cheshire and
Liverpool. It’s a nice quiet place to go if you’re feeling a little home sick
too and only a 20 minute drive from campus. And obviously Trentham Gardens is
where you are set to graduate. It’s a beautiful spot and even if you don’t want
to go on the bare foot walk or visit the monkey forest, you can have a mooch
around the shops, which reminds me a lot of Sylvanian Family toys I used to
have as a nipper! There’s so much outside stuff to do and it’s only a 30 minute
drive to the Peak District, ah country air!
Never mind the countryside though, let’s get down to proper
business; eating and (more importantly) drinking. Where to go in Stoke for a
banging time? Well, your choices are limited but I like to think it is quality
over quantity around here anyway. Hanley is brilliant for a hassle free night
out any night of the week, albeit often a quiet one unless it’s a Monday, Friday
or Saturday but you can always pop to Newcastle Under Lyme on a Wednesday or
during the weekend too.
Monday night is student night around these parts, but despite this
Staffordshire University doesn’t open its night time venue, the LRV, for a
proper night out. I think it does a pub style quiz but that’s about it. The uni
will push you to go to Liquid for some unknown reason to myself. It’s ok if you
like it chav with the latest chart ‘hits’, but for the more discerning drinker
you won’t want that. I suggest you head to Revolution for a few sneaky
cocktails on offer, then maybe to Walkabout for a bit of a dance and some more
cocktails, then if you’re feeling a bit ‘indie’ go down to The Underground
where you will find Stoke’s answer to Kasabian partying hard. It doesn’t get
going in The Underground til around 12.30am but once it does, well, I’ve had
many a brilliant night there topped off by £1.50 drinks.
On Wednesday it’s student night in the local town of Newcastle
under Lyme. Once again, a really relaxed place and around a £5 taxi journey
from the uni. It gets a bit more cheesy there with places like Reflex and Yates’s
being top pick, well, after a few cocktails in Rev’s again that is. Wednesday
nights tend to end a little earlier than your typical night out and you can
expect to grab a taxi home at around 2am but it’s always so much fun when you
go once in a while rather than every week.
Friday is my favourite night out in Hanley as it is Electric
Friday’s at the Sugarmill. They’re predominantly an indie club but they mix it
up a bit dropping some Skrillex or Nicky Minaj in for good measure (you roll
your eyes but after a few £2 drinks you will love it) They have an amazing roof
terrace there which is awesome in the summer and the only place in the city
with a roof top bar, which is quite the novelty. They also cater for the more
alternative folk with Room 2 which is punk and metal, but that can turn into a
laugh when they pump out the Limp Bizkit. Me and my friends either head to the
mill at around 1am or around 11.30 we will go to Rev’s again first. Friday
tends to be the ‘big one’ and sometimes the mill will also have an all nighter
on till 6am which is always a treat, it does get very busy though so be
Saturday I used to like going up Newcastle instead of Hanley for a
quieter night after giving it the big one on the Friday, yes as a student two
nights out in a row are possible. Same as Wednesdays but you will probably stay
out a little bit later but have just as much of a good time. I think once
again, Staffs uni tend to neglect Newcastle a lot when telling new students
about places to go! Newcastle also has two great pub’s which are a bit more for
the older indie rocker called The Brown Jug, which often has live acoustic
bands on and a great atmosphere, and The Full Moon which is just across the
road and serves cocktails in pint glasses; PINT GLASSES I TELL YOU. If you’re a
bit more alternative than that (read; like your Metallica, GnR and Motorhead)
get yourself to The Rigger for some super happy fun times. Ok, maybe not super
happy fun times, but maybe a few go-go juices.
You may also want to note down that every other Thursday at
Jumping Jaks Devils Night takes place which always has some kind of Zombie
theme or another, great for having a laugh (at others) and getting your 2002 nu-metal on
Now onto the food, you’ve got your oatcakes, you’ve had your fun,
now to feed yourself a few proper meals. Like I said, Stoke doesn’t hold such
wonderment as Nando’s or Waga’s but there’s a few hidden treats here and there.
Here are my Top 5 places to eat in Stoke on Trent.
Name: Miso
Food: Japanese
Place: Stoke town
Prices: Reasonable, around £6-£10 on average per main dish.
Recommendations: Black Pepper Chicken Bento Box!
Additional Comments: This is Stoke on Trent’s only Japanese restaurant;
the staff are friendly and efficient, the only downside being the location. It’s
not on the nice side of the tracks but is worth it for the food! Why they don’t
move into the city centre I really don’t know.
Name: Art of Siam
Food: Thai
Place: Newcastle Under Lyme
Prices: A little bit more with mains ranging from £8-£15 not
including rice/extra’s.
Recommendations: Massaman Curry with Coconut Rice.
Additional Comments: Amazing service from authentic Taiwanese
staff, the decor is absolutely amazing and a proper little treasure, especially
if you’ve never experienced Thai food before.
Name: The Furlong
Food: Pub Grub!
Place: Tunstall
Prices: So cheap!
Recommendations: The Sizzler with Chinese Pork and Cajun Chicken!
Additional Comments: This is where you befriend a driver in your
halls of residence as it’s a bit further out this one, but it’s worth the
journey for a friendly home cooked meal.
Name: Revolution
Food: A mixture with seasonal menus.
Place: Hanley/Newcastle
Prices: 50% off on Mondays!
Recommendations: The chicken, bacon and goats cheese salad sounds
like a boring healthy choice but it’s SO good and only costs you around £3.50
if you go on a Monday, alongside any meal which is half price. Amazing offer
and good service from both.
Name: Walkabout
Food: Australian, apparently
Place: Hanley
Prices: Mega cheap
Recommendations: The mother of all burgers!
Additional Comments: Walkabout gets on the list purely for the
price of their food and value for money! You can get a ‘mother of all burgers’
for £6.59 which contains a massive amount of content, including beetroot, egg,
jalapenos and cheese, it’s amazing. Weatherspoons prices but a bit more

I’ll be doing a few follow up posts to this so keep a look out and if you have any suggestions of mint places to go in Stoke then leave a comment below!