11 wonderful reasons to fall in love with Hanley


Our city centre is a bustling hub of art, culture and heritage, with much to celebrate.

And we are determined to remind you why Hanley is such a brilliant place to live and visit.

From theatres and museums to shopping and dining, the heart of the Potteries is something to support and cherish.

Alexandra Poole, Marketing Manager for Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID agreed, and said: “In the last few years, our city centre has come on leaps and bounds, particularly with the rejuvenation of The Cultural Quarter which is home to many unique and independent bars and eateries, each boasting a diverse menu and great atmosphere.

“From a coveted heritage to learn about at Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, independent shops and big name brands for a spot of shopping, restaurants serving up world cuisine and a line-up of unrivalled theatre shows, music events and cinema screenings, there’s something to suit all tastes and all ages here in our city.”

Here are our 11 reasons to love Hanley:

The street art

With a city full of creatives, it’s only natural to use them to brighten up the place. Back in 2012, an artist known as Know One spray painted owls in the city, on Stafford Street, Marsh Street and Clough Street. They’ve since become iconic in Hanley, and are still pointed out by shoppers today.

Door on Brunswick Street by Katrina Wilde

More recently, the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID commissioned artists from Staffordshire to take part in the Our Front Door project, which saw 18 unloved doors brightened up with original designs from young creatives – one even features the infamous owl.

Walking through Hanley you’ll also see murals painted by We Are Culla – formerly Entrepreneurs Network – including North’s frontage and The Underground.

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The buildings

There is some really stunning architecture to be seen in the city centre – including a number of listed buildings. Notably beautiful buildings in Hanley include The Sentinel office and The Telephone Exchange – both Grade II listed buildings, and Bethesda Chapel, a Grade II* building.

Airspace Gallery is also housed in a gorgeous property with stone pillars, and don’t forget to check out the former Smithfield bottle oven. Look up to admire the tiles and stonework within the city – and send us your best photos on Instagram @stokeontrentlive.

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The music scene

The Sugarmill and The Underground play host to some of the best of Stoke-on-Trent’s musicians, bands and artists. The grassroots venues are a huge part of the city’s nightlife and offer a sense of community, as well as entertainment.

Thousands of artists have performed at The Sugarmill since 1994, some of whom have gone on to see huge successes, like Stereophonics, Coldplay and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

The Underground – which recently underwent a major refurbishment – is a cool bar on Morley Street. It regularly hosts indie nights, quizzes, and Staffordshire artists like Megan Dixon-Hood, Vulgore and Look Busy, among big-name acts.

The annual Your City festival is held in venues across the Hanley each summer – a fringe festival offering the opportunity to venue hop to discover the diversity of musicians we have to offer.

Outside the Underground, Hanley
Outside the Underground, Hanley

The independent businesses

More and more people are looking to support independent businesses locally, which we think is great – seeing as we publish our Shop Local feature each Monday.

Hanley is bursting with independent retailers like Goodwins Jewellers, JM Edwards Tobacconist, Vision personalised gifts and XP-VR virtual reality experience. In 2021, the Stoke-on-Trent City Centre BID will roll out the MiRewards scheme, where shoppers will earn loyalty points for shopping with registered small businesses.

Independents provide the city centre with a wide range of products you may not otherwise find on the high street, and injects vibrancy into Hanley, alongside a more personalised shopping experience.

Food and drink

Of course we all love an oatcake in Staffordshire, but Hanley has so much to offer when it comes to dining out.

We’re spoiled for choice on Piccadilly alone with The Corner, The Slamwich Club, NORTH and Klay – and don’t forget Bloom and Gin Rummy for a tipple!

From chip shops and takeaways to fine dining and pub grub – there’s something to everyone’s taste in Hanley.

The Victoria Lounge and The Coachmakers Arms are a great place to sit and relax with a pint after hitting the shops – as well as The Albion and Wetherspoons.

The Coachmakers Arms in Hanley

The Potteries Centre

As well as independent stores, we wouldn’t be without The Potteries Centre. With around 60 retailers, nine eateries and Cineworld, shoppers can make a day of it at their favourite shopping centre. And don’t forget the market where you can pick up essentials, fresh produce and even gifts!

There are big name retailers like Primark and Next where you can pick up some new pieces for your wardrobe, or some accessories from Louvisa and Claire’s. For music lovers, we recommend HMV or The Music Store, whilst The Entertainer is ideal for kids to pick out a new toy. Or if you’re hoping to unwind, visit Lush to pick up the perfect bath bomb or bubble bar.

The theatres

From musicals to comedians, the stages of The Victoria Hall and The Regent Theatre are full of love and laughter year round.

The Regent Theatre was originally constructed in 1929 as a cinema, and is a number one touring venue for the city, playing host to War Horse, Mamma Mia! And Dirty Dancing. It’s also a major part of the festive season holding the annual panto with Jonny Wilkes and Christian Patterson!

The Victoria Hall was built in 1888 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. It’s seen famous faces such as Paul Weller, Morrissey and Jimmy Carr through its doors, and is the centre of a number of memorable nights for Stokies.

The Regent Theatre, Hanley, Stoke on Trent.
The Regent Theatre, Hanley, Stoke on Trent.

The history

Hanley is steeped in history, from pottery to coal mining, and famous faces in sport, music and engineering. Notable names include writer Arnold Bennett, Lemmy, of Motorhead, and football’s Sir Stanley Matthews.

Did you know that in 1227, Hanley was reportedly known as Hanlih – and I bet you read that with a Potteries twang.

The city centre was an important manufacturer of china and earthenware from the 18th century onwards.

As a result, we’ve become a city of plate turners looking for Staffordshire made pottery all over the world, with the Emma Bridgewater factory still producing work in the city.

The museum

A great place to learn about Hanley’s history is The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, established in 1911. The Hanley Museum & Art Gallery, became the Stoke-on-Trent City Museum & Art Gallery when it moved to new premises in 1956.

The museum underwent major expansion in the late 1970s, winning the ‘Museum of the Year’ award in 1982. Six years later, the museum was rebranded as The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.

The museum’s collection of Staffordshire pottery is widely acknowledged as the finest in the world and other collections of fine and decorative arts, natural science, social history and archaeology have local, regional and national significance.

You can also find artefacts from the Staffordshire Hoard, digging deep into the past of our home.

The site is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am to 4pm on Sundays.

Councillor Lorraine Beardmore at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

Hanley Park

Hanley Park just the other side of the ring road is one of the city’s heritage parks near to Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent Railway Station and the city centre.

It makes for a gorgeous walk with accessible trails, and the restored Pavilion cafe and boathouse.

The 60-acre park opened in 1897, and has been brought back to life after the park underwent a multi-million pound restoration following a successful bid from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2015.

In October 2020, the park was awarded Green Flag status and recognised nationally as a quality green public space by the charity Keep Britain Tidy.

The Pavilion cafe is open seven days a week for food and drink, including afternoon tea and Cheshire Farm ice cream.

The people

Of course, it’s the people and the diversity which makes our city centre the successful, vibrant and welcoming community it has fostered.

We’re a friendly bunch, always up for a chat or to hear a story about Hanley, and will always prick our ears up at hearing ‘ay up, Duck’ or ‘fancy an oatcake?’.





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