For those inspired by Sheila Hancock and Gyles Brandreth’s TV travels on Great Canal Journeys, Stoke-on-Trent offers plenty of ways to enjoy a calming canal cruise through the heart of the world-famous Potteries.

More4’s hit TV show about sailing Britain’s canals saw the two presenters taking the helm for the 12th series, which featured a whole host of attractions and canal delights through Staffordshire’s ceramics capital.

Trent & Mersey CanalAnd anyone tempted to follow in the wake of the celebrity cruise to Stoke-on-Trent, can take to the water by hiring their own narrow boat… or for the more energetic, pick up a paddle to tackle a 20-mile heritage canoe trail.

Back for a new series, Great Canal Journeys saw Sheila and Gyles embark on a two-part special, touring Staffordshire's waterways and navigating the Caldon, and the Trent and Mersey Canals.

As well as exploring the picturesque waterways, the TV stars - who recently took over as presenters from Prunella Scales and Tim West - followed the route of boats that served the Staffordshire ceramics industry, bringing in raw materials and transporting finished products.

Discovering more about the history of the Potteries, known as the world capital of ceramics, including Stoke-based Wedgwood, the pair also got some hands-on experience too.

They tried their hand at ceramics at the award-winning Middleport Pottery, stopped off at famed ceramicist Clarice Cliff’s home and enjoyed a spot of hand-painting with well-known local artist, Emma Bailey.

For Giles, the trip also gave him the chance to pay tribute to one of his greatest heroes, Potteries-born author Arnold Bennett, best known for his highly detailed novels of the ‘Five Towns’, The Potteries of Stoke-on-Trent.

Plus they also enjoyed a cup of tea – in Wedgwood fine bona china cups, of course.

For a short break or a day trip, Stoke-on-Trent’s canals, which are also popular for waterside walks and cycle rides, are home to narrowboat hire companies, including Black Prince Holidays, which has a popular starting point at the re-developed National Garden Festival site. Other companies include Heritage Narrow Boats, Anglo-Welsh Holidays, and Canal Cruising.

While Stoke-on-Trent's Heritage Canoe Trail, for paddlers of any ability, is a historically rich section of waterway with special route markers along the 20-mile canal-based route from Stoke-on-Trent to Froghall in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

Among the many attractions near to the canal network are the World of WedgwoodMiddleport Pottery, Emma Bridgewater, Etruria Industrial Museum, Spode Museum Trust Heritage Centre as well as The Trentham Estate.

Discover more about canal attractions and cruising with this our guide to the city's canals

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The World of Wedgwood, a unique visitor experience celebrating the very best of British industrial and design heritage. Experience Wedgwood for the day through shopping, food and visitor tours.

Middleport Pottery
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Middleport Pottery, home of Burleigh, is an award-winning visitor destination in the heart of Burslem, the Mother Town of the Potteries. World famous Burleigh pottery has been created here using traditional methods since 1889.

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Black Prince Holidays Ltd
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Black Prince Holidays has a fleet of bespoke, modern, award winning canal boats with brilliant facilities and all the normal comforts of home.

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Anglo Welsh Holidays
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Anglo Welsh Holidays

If you're the kind of person who likes lots of choices, then this is the canal boat hire base for you. We're situated on the crossroads of the Staffordshire & Worcester and Trent & Mersey, so which way do you go.

Canal Cruising
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Canal Cruising

Situated in Middle England in the picturesque town of Stone at the centre of Trent and Mersey our base is the ideal starting point for a special type of holiday. Whether visiting Wedgwood, the Potteries or south for Shugborough.

Westport Lake Visitor Centre
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Westport Lake Visitor Centre

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