There has been a flurry of activity in Staffordshire over the last couple of weeks that has meant that my feet have hardly touched the ground. I can only describe it as an early spring in the county. Bookings for Rowan House holiday cottage are busy as are other holiday houses I believe...people are planning their stay in the Staffordshire Peaks early. There have been lots of meetings about 2011 and what this area has to offer this year - where to walk, what to eat, when to visit, who to see...I can only describe it as a swell of excitement! It seems that the future of Staffordshire as a destination of distinction is bright!
The national press finally seems to have realised that Staffordshire is a county worthy of note and exploration. There seems to be a slightly quieter snigger when visitors plan a holiday in the area. The Country File effect is certainly being felt all over the Staffordshire Peak District as it is realised that we are so much more than an old industrial city and that place next to the Peak National Park. We also seem to be realising that we have something to really shout about. It may even be time for Staffordshire to start to show off (something that doesn't come naturally!). This month alone, there are items in Olive magazine, Country Living Magazine and The Guardian as well as last years Times and Guardian articles about the benefits of a Staffordshire Short Break.
This renewed vigour is key to an exciting future for Staffordshire. We have the hoard, the walking, the undiscovered and the secret. To compliment that, we have the food, ale and scenery! For those who need a prompt to come, the theme parks Alton Towers and Drayton Manor (watch out for the new Ben 10 ride mums and dads...) are a perfect pull to the area. What is so exciting is that we now know that visitors want to discover more of Staffordshire once they arrive. We can now be honest and proud of what we have to offer without trying to repackage it first. Leek is "what it says on the tin"and is a case in point. Without having to alter its long held and essential character, Leek has everything a visitor could want. There are great shops to mooch about in, food to buy and try and restaurants to relax in. There is the architecture, scenery and the people as well as the new Nicholson Gallery and the history. The Tourist Information shop is unique in its quality and accessibility. Set out as a shop, the staff have knowledge and understanding in bucket loads and are able to use their friendly approach to help visitors and locals alike - a service that time hasn't jaded and that is an asset not only to the town but the surrounding area.
It seems to me that now is the time for us in Staffordshire to stand firm and proud of what we offer as a destination and begin to blow our own trumpet a little louder. We need not be the quieter neighbour to the Yorkshires and Lakes of the world. We have qualities that can be argued to better these areas if only because not everyone floods in to visit!
Rambling is what I have done, but I hope to find like minded folk that love the county and what it has to offer as I do!