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 prepared!

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 to.

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 quality.

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! 

 

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16 Comments:

  1. I go to Keele Uni and am in my 3rd year, but from Manchester. I think there should be so much more infor about the city because it took me the 1st two years to actually work out everything. Its such a pretty city, espesh in the countryside bits. This guide is really good, I actually learned some new things too, although shockingly I've still never had an oatcake!

    xoxo
    jessica
    from
    www.thecrownwings.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heyyy! Thanks! I know what you mean, it seems the uni's are all just focused on pushing their immediate area instead of exploring the surroundings! Glad this helped a bit. I work in Keele, woohoo!

      Delete
  2. Eee I'm rate confused. I thought Hanley was in Runcorn? Or is Stoke near Runcorn? Or are they two different places?

    Great post anyway, I will refer back if I ever go out in Stoke.
    X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stoke on Trent is pretty near runcorn. well maybe an hour away?! X

      Delete
    2. And just to confuse you further Sarah, we have a Cheadle....no, not the one in Cheshire! I believe there is also a Longton in Preston, as there is a Longton in Stoke.

      Delete
  3. Gotta love an oatie! When i moved up to cumbria i couldnt get an oatie for love nor money! No one knew what i was on about, i got massive oatie withdrawals, i had to go back down home, buy a load, and freeze them! They must be spreading though, because our local sainsburys has started selling them, happy days :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oatcakes will soon be worldwide, I'm sure of it!

      Delete
  4. As a Crewe-y I've spent many hours in stoke through my life and this post makes me smile. My love for oatcakes and people calling you duck has never waned over the years. :) Don't forget about the wonders of taybarns, buffet island and makro in newcastle too!
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah taybarns, I went there the other day with work, forgot how much I could eat!

      Delete
  5. I had this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12epwE7Wroc in my head the whole time I was reading this, sorry! It's a great post, and I might try and head over to Miso some time to check it out.

    Girl Reviews Things xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hahaha I know the exact lad you're on about when you say Stoke's answer to Kasabian. Best dancer in the mill!x

    ReplyDelete
  7. This article was a great nostalgia trip, thanks Terri!
    Name-dropping places like Revs, The Brown Jug and the Sugarmill really took me back 7 years to the nights where i would be pyrotechnically sick off the roof terrace bar, or being thrown out of Liquid for being 'abusive'.
    To my shame i never ate an oatcake whilst living in Stoke for 3 years. I'm a disgrace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're an acquired taste that's for sure! I never used to like them but now they're that tasty treat I take for granted.

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  8. Ha this post made me laugh! Brilliant post, duck! You forgot to mention Stokies call themselves Pot'erbs haha. And you know what? I've never been to Hanley Forest Park! I've got to visit it now! P.S My Spanish housemate used to have sprouts with her oatcakes! Yes, sprouts!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the comment!

About Hello Terri Lowe


A UK Lifestyle, Food, Beauty and Music Blog, based in Staffordshire, you can also expect to see reviews of places around the country. Often spotted Manchester or Birmingham at the weekends, you can expect to see a little bit of everything from festivals to food and everything in-between. When not blogging, you can find me having a nice sit down with my cats, Stevie and Kitty, or enjoying a fine cup of coffee. Don't forget to take a look at my 'about' page if you're interested in collaborating on any exciting opportunities!


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