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Day Trip for Couples in Staffordshire

Planning a perfect day out for couples in the Midlands really isn’t very hard. With some of the most historically and culturally significant cities worth visiting in the UK, not to mention tonnes of opportunities to explore the great outdoors and adventure activities, couples are spoilt for choice.

But what if you wanted it all? A non-stop day of fine dining, nature, and relaxation. We’re talking about starting with a breakfast adventure and not stopping until the sun has set and you’ve had your fill. We know it sounds like a lot, but hear us out…

We worked long and hard to put together this itinerary that combines great local eateries, fun and educational excursions, falcons, and more; all at a pace that won’t wear you out by tea time. It’s the perfect day trip for couples from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, and everywhere in between.

In summary, we’ll kick the day off with a hearty breakfast on one of Churnet Valley Railways’ vintage steam trains for a relaxing morning meander through the Churnet Valley. From there, it’s a short drive to the Kingsley Bird & Falconry Centre, where you can learn about and interact with birds of prey from around the world. Falcons, eagles, and owls are followed by an on-foot exploration of the Dimmingsdale Valley and Furnace Forest, optional cream tea at the legendary Rambler’s Retreat, and, finally, a walk through the historic parish of Cheddleton and dinner at The Boat Inn, the local pub known for its ambience and loved for the steak.

 

Important notes before setting off:

  • Make sure to book your tickets and falconry experience in advance. Churnet Valley Railway is very popular, especially in the high season, while Kingsley Bird & Falconry Centre only allows a limited number of visitors per day. We’ll provide booking links and information wherever possible.
  • This day trip includes a lot of time spent outdoors and might not be suitable for a wet, cold, or windy day. Be sure to check the weather before heading out.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be grateful when rambling about Dimmingsdale.
  • This day trip for couples in Staffordshire is suitable for self-driving couples or those making use of rideshare apps such as Uber. We managed to keep the whole day’s driving, from breakfast to dinner, to under an hour.

 

Use this free companion map with all the attractions and locations pinned and indicated for easier navigation.

 

 

Stop #1: Breakfast on a Vintage Steam Train | Churnet Valley Railway

Churnet Valley Railway is a bit of a local legend in the Midlands. They offer a wide range of themed and seasonal train rides and events along a track that twists along the track through Churnet Valley, offering spectacular views of the Moorlands and surrounds in every season. Their breakfast train departs from Kingsley and Froghall Station on Wednesdays and the weekend during the cooler months, with midweek breakfasts added in the busier months.

Serving local Staffordshire delights such as sausage, bacon, or vegetarian potters, alongside a scrumptious eggs benedict and the classic Old English, Churnet Valley Railways’ Breakfast Train is guaranteed to be the best possible start to a long day of adventuring.

Expected costs:
£28.50 per person. Includes hot drinks, but not alcohol
Prebooking required:
Yes. Book on Churnet Valley Railway's Breakfast Train page.
Time check:
Train departs at 10:30 on Wednesday and the weekend. Additional trains run in summer. The experience should finish at roughly 11:45.
Address:
Kingsley & Froghall Station, Froghall, ST19 2HA.
Website:
https://www.churnetvalleyrailway.co.uk

 

Stop #2: Birds of Prey and Falconry Experience | Kingsley Bird & Falconry Centre

Kingsley Bird & Falconry Centre offers guests the chance to learn about and interact with one of the UK’s largest collections of birds of prey. To avoid large groups that would disrupt or upset their birds, they strictly operate on a small-group and pre-booked basis. You’ll find the booking link below.

Depending on your level of interest, you could opt for a 1-hour flying lesson where you learn how to fly and handle a bird of prey in the surrounding woods, or a more intensive 2-hour, half-day, or full-day experience that includes flying, hunting with hawks, meeting a variety of birds up close, and learning more about the sport of falconry and their husbandry. In order to stay on track with a busy day, we recommend the 1-hour option.

Expected costs:
£65 per person for 1 hour of bird flying
Prebooking required:
Yes. Email info@kingsleyfalconry.co.uk or visit their Facebook pageFacebook page to make a booking.
Time:
One or two hours. Aim to depart here by 13:00
Address:
Banks Lane, Stoke-on-Trent, SB10 2BX
Website:
http://kingsleyfalconry.co.uk

 

Stop #3: Light Lunch | The Grosvenor Restaurant at Hales Hall

Sitting on a 15-acre site and in a Grade II listed building, The Grosvenor Restaurant on the Hales Hall grounds has made quite the name for itself since opening in 2017. Their expert chefs have put together an extensive menu of local foods and international favourites, making it the ideal spot to try more than once.

This fully licenced restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with daily specials. Our personal favourite is the Wednesday night steak special, which offers an 8-ounce steak of your choice with a glass of wine for £20. Not one to miss ...

While we encourage you to enjoy your lunch, don’t fill up too much, or the next stop might be a bit uncomfortable ...

Expected costs:
Varies as per your order
Prebooking required:
No
Time:
Open 9:00 to 21:00 every day. Aim to leave at around 14:15
Address:
Oakamoor Rd, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 4QR
Website:
https://haleshallcaravanandcampingpark.com/restaurant/

 

Stop #4: Forest and Valley Hiking | Dimmingsdale Valley & Furnace Forest

Located a 15-minute drive west of The Grosvenor Restaurant, Dimmingsdale Valley and Furnace Forest offer hidden hiking and nature exploration gems. Its crisscross of lakes, streams, and rivers creates the perfect habitat for wild fowl, amphibians, crayfish, and other species. Well-maintained roads and level pathways make it easily accessible to hikers and photographers alike.

With routes ranging from 2.7km to 6km or more, you can choose between a comfortable stroll through beautiful forests and valleys or give yourself the goal of working up a serious appetite before the next stop. Depending on how your day out is going, you should have between 1.5 and 2.5 hours to spend exploring on foot or taking it easy on a bench. The car park closes at 18:00.

Expected costs:
None. Entrance is free
Prebooking required:
No
Time:
Car park closes at 18:00, but later during the summer. Contact for details.
Address:
Oakamoor Rd, Cheadle, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 4QR
Website:
https://www.ramblersretreat.co.uk/dimmingsdale-walks/ . This page provides useful hiking trail route information and pdf maps.

 

Stop #5: (Optional) Cream Tea in the Forest | Dimmingsdale Valley & Furnace Forest

Depending on your appetite for walking vs. your appetite for food, you could cut the walk short in favour of a sit-down and some tea.

Right in the Dimmingdale Valley car park, you’ll find one of the most iconic little country tea rooms for miles around: Rambler’s Retreat. This award-winning spot has been serving up traditional and homemade meals, snacks, and cakes since 1981, and with many seasonal events throughout the year, remains a local treasure. The only downside is that they close at 16:00.

Situated in a protected area, they extend their commitment to sustainability by actively searching out and supporting local suppliers. Using what is available, their talented chefs put together traditional local delicacies and Sunday roasts that attract clients from hours away.

Expected costs:
Varies as per your order
Prebooking required:
No
Time:
Various opening times to 16:00. Closed on Mondays.
Address:
Red Rd, Alton, Stoke-on-Trent ST10 4BU
Website:
https://www.ramblersretreat.co.uk

 

Stop #6: The Slow Drive | Dimmingsdale to Cheddleton

Not really a "stop", but considering how charming the drive from Dimmingsdale to Cheddleton is, we decided to count it anyway. With the sun sinking lower over the Midlands and people starting to call it a day, a slow and relaxing drive along the meandering farm roads of the interior is a great way to enjoy the golden hours of the day.

While this adds a couple of miles to the journey, taking Ellastone Road means not having to drive through any town—just a few short miles of beautiful farmland to your left and right.

 

Stop #7: Wrapping It Up | Boat Inn, Cheddleton

End your day at Boat Inn, the last of many local legends you’ll have visited today. Boat Inn, situated on the banks of the Caldon Canal, hosts regular quiz nights and live entertainment events making it a popular place for locals to hang out. Delicious meals and local craft beers make them all that much easier to love. If you’re not hungry yet, consider a walk along Caldon Canal or through this ancient parish’s streets.

From Cheddleton, you’re not much more than 1.5 hours away from many of the biggest cities in the Midlands, meaning you’ll get home early enough for another day of exploring the next day.

Expected costs:
Varies as per your order
Prebooking required:
No
Time:
11:00 to 23:00 every day.
Address:
170 Basford Bridge Ln, Cheddleton, Leek ST13 7EQ
Website:
Boat Inn Facebook Page

 

There you have it. A full day filled with the best food the Midlands could offer, interesting and historically significant attractions, birds of prey, stunning scenery, and meandering roads all packed into one fun-filled day.

 

Remember to download our free companion map to make navigation a breeze.

Happy and safe travels,

The team at Churnet Valley Railway