It does not sound very attractive. "The Potteries" conjures up a vision of "The Five Towns",  grimy, damp, cobbled & swathed in smoky fog.  It's not quite like that, these days.  Stoke & its sister towns are clean, now & cultured & bright & well worth a visit.    Not quite inside the Five Towns area is Wedgwood.  A huge factory,  it also has a demonstration suite where visitors can watch artists at work & ask questions as to how it is done.Lichfield

The county has a number of marvellous places to visit. Stately Homes - how about Shugborough, home of the Anson family, where the late Lord Lichfield had his "Council Flat", which was how he named the wing he retained for himself,  having donated the house to the local authorities.

Speaking of Lichfield,  there is the marvellous Cathedral with its three spires,  but the town is forever linked with the name of Dr. Sam Johnson.     His house is still here, full of memorabilia & there is even a statue of his companion & chronicler,  James Boswell.  The city is also associated with another former resident,  Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of the famous Charles & originator of many of the ideas & theories which made the latter famous.

National Service memorial, Nat.ArboretumFinally, a more recent spot for a pilgrimage - the National Memorial Arboretum.  This magical place,  sad but not at all gloomy,  has memorials to any organisation you can think of, which has lost members in actions,  military or civil,  since WW2.  The most moving place I have ever visited in my life.

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