Visiting Gladstone Pottery Museum

Visiting Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke with kids.

Gladstone Pottery Museum in Stoke on Trent is the last Victorian pottery factory in the UK. Making it a fascinating place for a day out with kids in Staffordshire. Where better to learn age old techniques and try your hand at your own spot of pot throwing.

old street at gladstone pottery museumold buildings at gladstone pottery museum

We were gifted tickets to the museum during the October half term holidays and spent a wonderful morning reliving what life was like for the potters of Stoke. Gladstone focused on day to day ceramic items for the mass market to be shipped worldwide, an ideal place to experience real life in the Victorian era.

entering the gladstone pottery museumfiring over at gladstone pottery museum

We began our visit with a short video describing the history of the potteries and Gladstone’s part in the industry. Then you are free to explore the factory and its various exhibitions at your own pace. You’ll be given a numbered map showing you where to find each area, you can explore by number order or head to which area interest you the most. We approached it in a slightly haphazard fashion as we wanted to visit some of the timed activities which worked well.

video about gladstone pottery museums pastreviewing our visit to gladstone pottery museum

Gladstone Pottery Buildings

I absolutely fell in love with the beautiful old buildings at Gladstone, the towering bottle kilns and cobbled courtyard. Most of the original bottle kilns are open to enter and set up for the processes they were used for – glazing, firing etc. I can only imagine what the heat felt like when in use! Most of the buildings are open to look inside and full of machinery and information from Gladstones operational days.

bottle kiln at gladstone pottery museumvisiting gladstone pottery museum

Getting hands on at Gladstone

This was Pipers favourite part of the museum, she’s a very creative kid so it was wonderful to see her get hands on and practice a new skill. There are various opportunities to do so around the museum.

Throwing a pot

At the end of our visit we were able to try some pot throwing and learnt how to make our own vase. Skilled instructors talked Piper through the process, carefully showing her how to shape the clay from a lump on the wheel to the finished product.

piper throwing a pot at gladstone pottery museumpiper quinn throwing a pot at gladstone

She was so proud of her creation. Once she’d finished the shaping process, and washed off the clay, her vase was boxed up and left for collection near the exit. The clay will not be fired so will not be as sturdy as normal, we left it to dry out for a few days then had fun painting it at home. It cost us an extra £3 to throw the pot.

making a pot at gladstone pottery museumpiper quinn with finished pot at gladstone pottery museum

Painting some ceramics

We also visited Gladstone’s painting room which is set up on the first floor of one of the buildings. They have a selection of premade object ready for painting and plenty of paints, brushes and tiles for you to get started. Being Halloween, of course Piper chose a gargoyle! The objects range in price from £2 to £10 and whilst I’m not normally a fan of having to pay extra when we visit somewhere, but entry tickets were such good value, I thought these prices were perfectly reasonable. It was also lovely to have a little souvenir to take home.

painting room at Gladstone pottery museumpainting ceramics at gladstone pottery museum

You can also learn how to make a pottery flower at Gladstone for just £2. This looked like a great activity, unfortunately we didn’t have time to take part.

Exhibits at Gladstone Pottery Museum

The exhibits at Gladstone are well thought out and cover many years of the potteries. I think most kids favourites will be the old street area with the stinky sewer, part of the toilets exhibit.

piper quinn at the stinky sewer at gladstone pottery museumstinky toilets at Gladstone pottery museum

Weirdly the area dedicated to toilets through the ages was fascinating. Aptly called “Flushed with Pride”.

flushing toilet at gladstone pottery museumstinky sewer exhibit at gladstone museum

Piper insisted on sitting on every one she could and even got hands on figuring out some age old toilet paper alternatives! Yuck but a total child pleaser!

flushed with pride exhibit at gladstone pottery museumtoilet trivia at flushed with pride

The museum also has rooms full of old machinery and some interactive exhibits, ideal for getting little ones engaged.

interactive exhibits at gladstone pottery museumvideo about pottery at gladstone

I really enjoyed the informational videos in some of the rooms, it really bought alive the tough lives of the potters of Stoke and the complicated process required for each and every piece of pottery created.

peering into a kiln at gladstone pottery museumbottle kiln exhibit

Special events at Gladstone Pottery Museum

We were visiting Gladstone over the October half term and were there for their Halloween fun day. They had magic shows, face painting and balloon modelling which added to the fun of the day.

magic show at gladstone pottery museum

There are plenty of child friendly areas around the museum with interesting books to read, jigsaws and pictures to colour. It’s a nice touch and great to offer little ones a bit of down time.

colouring area at gladstone pottery museumstory area at gladstone pottery museum

They hold various other events across the year, their upcoming Victorian Christmas event sounds fun. Check for upcoming events at Gladstone here.

Useful Information about visiting Gladstone Pottery Museum

Admission prices for Gladstone

Adults: £7.75
Children: £5.40 (4 – 16 years)

A family ticket for for two adults and two kids is £23. If you plan on visiting more than once then it’s well worth getting an annual pass, it’s just £11.50 for adult and £9.50 for kids.

Where to eat at Gladstone Pottery Museum

The museum has a sweet onsite tea room serving hot and cold food on china made in Stoke on Trent. They also have kids snack packs with various activities on the boxes. It looks like a lovely place for lunch with great views out to the factory. We stopped for a coffee and ice cream before leaving.

inside a bottle kiln at gladstonecafe at gladstone pottery museum

Opening times of Gladstone

Tuesdays – Saturdays and Bank Holidays

October – March: 10am – 4pm
Tea room: 11am – 3:30pm
April – September: 10am – 5pm
Tea room: 11am – 4pm

How to get to Gladstone

Gladstone Pottery Museum is located in Longton and is well signposted off the A50. The nearest train Station is Longton, just a mile away from the museum.

Gladstone Pottery Museum
Uttoxeter Road
Longton
Stoke-on-Trent
ST3 1PQ

bottle kilns at gladstone pottery museumpiper quinn at gladstone pottery museum

Parking at Gladstone Pottery Museum

The museum has a large onsite car park on Chadwick Street. Just drive past the main museum entrance and follow the signs to the car park on your left. Make sure you get a token from reception when you get your ticket so you can get out.

How long to spend at the museum

We covered most of what we wanted to see in 2.5 hours but leave more time if you want to stop for lunch or take part in extra activities.

machinery at gladstone pottery museumold pots at Gladstone

If you’re after an entirely different pottery experience, then make sure you visit the beautiful World of Wedgwood.

Or if you’re visiting Stoke in good weather, I highly recommend a visit to Trentham Gardens and the nearby Trentham Monkey forest for some fabulous outdoor fun with the kids.

Make sure you pin for later when planning your visit to Stoke on Trent with kids.

review of gladstone pottery museum in stoke on trenta review of gladstone pottery museum

I was provided tickets to Gladstone Pottery Museum as part of my role supporting #mystokestory, an initiative to highlight the many amazing cultural activities Stoke has to offer. All opinions are as always my own. I am proud to be an official ambassador of this wonderful campaign, and am really enjoying all the wonderful activities Stoke has to offer. If you’re looking for more fantastic ideas, events and things to do in Stoke make sure you take a look at the Visit Stoke website for inspiration.

piper quinn my stoke story

If you visit somewhere fantastic in Stoke, make sure you use the hashtag #mystokestory to join the community or search the hashtag on social media to find more great events in Stoke on Trent.

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