Stoke-on-Trent is a small English city about 160 miles north of London and just south of Manchester, known as the world capital of ceramics. Stoke-on-Trent, commonly referred to as just Stoke, is actually a collection of five smaller towns: Hanley, Burslem, Tunstall, Longton, and Fenton. Hanley is the main one, and if you arrive by train or bus, that's where you'll be dropped off.
The train is the fastest way to get to Stoke but it can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you don't buy tickets early. A cheaper train that makes more stops is also an option, although it still isn't as cheap as the bus. If you have a car, driving yourself is a great way to get there and to explore more of the surrounding area.
|Train||1 hour, 28 minutes||from $45||Arriving on a time crunch|
|Bus||3 hours, 55 minutes||from $6||Traveling on a budget|
|Car||3 hours||158 miles (254 kilometers)||Exploring the local area|
What Is the Cheapest Way to Get From London to Stoke?
The bus is the slowest way to get from London to Stoke, but it's by far the cheapest. The ride takes just under four hours and tickets only cost about $6 if you purchase them at least a few days in advance. But even if you buy tickets for travel on the same or next day, prices shouldn't rise above $15—which is significantly cheaper than last-minute train tickets.
Buses are provided by National Express, and you can catch the bus in London from Victoria Station with connections to the Circle, Victoria, and District lines of the Underground. The Stoke coach station is located in the center of the primary town, Hanley. If you're staying in one of the other four towns that make up Stoke-on-Trent, you'll need to take a cab or another mode of transport to get there.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get From London to Stoke?
You have two train options to get from London to Stoke, and the faster option transports passengers from city center to city center in under 90 minutes. That speed comes with a price, however. "Advance" pricing tickets start at 36 pounds (roughly $45), which is substantially more than the bus but potentially worth saving yourself two and a half extra hours of travel time. The real problem is that if you miss out on the elusive Advance pricing, you're stuck paying for Off-Peak or Anytime tickets, which cost upwards of $90 and $180, respectively, for a one-way ticket.
The second train option makes several stops on the journey from London to Stoke, so it takes much longer—three hours, or twice the amount of time. In return, it's offered at a much more affordable price. The train starts at roughly $10, only slightly more expensive than the bus and with almost one hour less of travel time.
Whether you select the express train or the local train, they all depart from Euston Station, which is adjacent to St Pancras Station. The Stoke-on-Trent train station is located on the outskirts of Hanley, and you'll likely need to take a cab or other means of transport to get to your final destination.
How Long Does It Take to Drive?
The drive from London to Stoke takes about three hours depending on traffic, which can be especially congested when you're leaving London. But once you're out of London, it's a scenic drive through the English countryside and you can easily continue on from Stoke to the nearby cities of Liverpool or Manchester, or even further north to Scotland. Some routes do include tolls, so make sure you map out your directions before leaving or carry some pounds with you in the car just in case.
When Is the Best Time to Travel to Stoke-on-Trent?
As with most parts of the U.K., the winter months are long, cold, and wet. The most comfortable time to visit Stoke—and therefore the busiest—is between June and September, when the sun is shining, the days are comfortably warm, and the average high hovers between 65 degrees and 70 degrees F.
What Is There to Do in Stoke-on-Trent?
Stoke-on-Trent is most famous for its ceramic production, and if you're a fan of pottery it's like visiting Utopia. The five towns that make up Stoke are collectively and lovingly known as the Potteries, and several world-famous ceramic companies are headquartered within its borders. You can visit the still-working factories—many of which are also museums—that have been creating earthenware, porcelain, and china for centuries. The World of Wedgwood is just one example of the several pottery attractions in the area, with a factory tour and hands-on experience of the Wedgwood headquarters.