Boaters Flock to Stone Food & Drink Festival

Drifters Waterway Holidays invites holiday-makers to moor up in Stone this autumn for a real gastronomic treat
At the north Staffordshire town of Stone on the Trent & Mersey Canal, along the route of the Four Counties Ring, plans are well underway for its 2011 food and drink festival to be held Friday 30 September to Sunday 2 October. To celebrate, Drifters Waterway Holidays is offering 15 per cent off holidays starting 23-26 September 2011 from its bases at Anderton, Great Haywood, Stoke and Bunbury.
Festival Chairman Richard Stevens explains: “Now in its 7th year, the Stone Food and Drink Festival is Staffordshire’s biggest celebration of all things gastronomic and has grown year on year to become an event to which visitors flock from far and wide, including many travelling by canal.”
With the theme for the 2011 event set to be ‘the best of Staffordshire’ there will be a real focus on local produce, with a host of activities and events for all the family to enjoy. Top chefs will offer tips and new recipes during free, interactive cookery demonstrations and there will be the chance to pick up great local food in the High Street Farmers’ Market (Friday and Saturday only).
For serious ‘foodies’, the Gourmet Marquee and Taste of Staffordshire marquee will provide plenty of opportunity to browse stalls and sample food from artisan producers – both local and international – as well as purchase unusual items of kitchen and tableware.
Real Ale fans, meanwhile, will be delighted to hear that the festival will this year include the Titanic Beer Festival – with Dave Bott of the local Titanic Brewery endeavouring to offer for sale beers from every brewery in Staffordshire.
Add entertainment and live music, kiddies’ rides and a licensed bar and it’s easy to see why so many decide to make a weekend of the festival and moor up at the ample towpath mooring sites throughout the town.
If you’d like to extend your stay to a full week, the festivities go well beyond the three days of the main festival itself – in the run-up week local bars and eateries organise a host of special events and there’s always the opportunity to join the now famous ‘Manger a Trois’ roving meals (three courses, three different restaurants) or a minibus ‘Real Ale Trail’; taking in some of the best pubs in Stone and its surrounding villages. And with the Potteries within striking distance and attractions like Trentham Gardens and Monkey Forest nearby, there will be plenty to keep you occupied!

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SUMMER HOLIDAY BOATING

…take to the water this Summer for some holiday fun afloat with www.drifters.co.uk. From lazing on the Llangollen to cruising through the Capital, Britain’s canals offer the fastest way to slow down and a great family holiday.
With Britain’s 2,000-mile canal network in better shape than ever and hundreds of top quality boats available for hire, Drifters Waterway Holidays is offering some fantastic breaks on our peaceful inland waterway network this Summer.
Canal boat holidays are fantastic for families, offering the chance:
***to work together as a team to master navigation skills and operate the locks;
***to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the school run and slow right down to four miles per hour;
***learn the boating lingo – ‘windlass’, ‘winding hole’ and ’tiller’, to name but a few;
***spot wildlife, including the flashing blue of the kingfisher and ‘plop’ of the watervole;
***dust-off long neglected cards and board games for cosy onboard evening entertainment;
***explore mile upon mile of traffic-free towpaths by foot or by bike; and
***and breathe in plenty of fresh air to aid a peaceful night’s sleep.
Drifters canal boat holidays offer the choice of over 500 boats from 35 bases across the country. Here are some ideas for Summer cruising.
Cruise through the scenic heartland of Worcestershire…a short break from Drifters’ base in the beautiful city of Worcester where the River Severn meets the Worcester & Birmingham Canal is the perfect place to start a cruise of the brand new 21-mile Mid-Worcestershire Ring. The newly restored Droitwich Junction and Barge canals are due to reopen in July, creating the only loop in Europe that can be completed in a long weekend.
Holiday breaks from Worcester in July start at £582 for a short break on a four berth boat. NB to celebrate the opening of the Droitwich Canals, Worcester is offering 20% off bookings taken by the end of July.
Visit London by boat and cruise through the heart of the Capital…a short break from Drifters’ new base at Willow Tree Marina, near Greenford in West London could take you along the Grand Union Paddington Arm and on to the Regent’s Canal at Little Venice. This historic canal takes you right through the Capital, past London Zoo and Regent’s Park, through Camden and on to Limehouse Basin. Here boaters can take the to Thames and complete the London Ring or stick to the canals and cruise past the Olympic Park on the River Lee.
Trips from Willow Tree Marina start at £686 in July.
Explore crags and historic towns in Yorkshire…a short break from Sowerby Bridge could take you along the leafy Calder & Hebble Navigation to Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, navigating 20 miles and 32 locks. Hebden Bridge is an historic mill town nestled in a fork in the hills, with house piled tier upon tier. Visit its excellent shops and take a walk up the valley to crags, trees and stunning views of the moors above. Todmorden boasts fine Victorian buildings, including the Town Hall and a lively market. It offers many places to eat and drink.
Trips from Sowerby Bridge start at £415 in July.
Enjoy a trip to the theatre in historic Stratford-Upon-Avon…running from Birmingham’s suburbia to Shakespeare’s Stratford in 25 picturesque miles, the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal is a delightful waterway. Drifters’ base at Wootton Wawen is just a six-hour cruise from Shakespeare’s birthplace at Stratford, with 17 locks to negotiate along the way. Town centre moorings offer the ideal base for exploring the town’s pubs, restaurants, historic sites and the chance to take in a show at the famous Swan Theatre.
Cruises from Wootton Wawen start at £683 in July.
Chocolate, shopping & the bright lights of Birmingham…a short break from Tardebigge could take you along the Worcester & Birmingham Canal to Birmingham and back, with just ten hours cruising and no locks to negotiate. Stop off at the delicious Cadbury World then travel on to moorings in Gas Street Basin and explore the shoppers’ paradise of the Bullring and Mailbox.
Cruises from Tardebigge start at £574 in July.
Visit the “Stream in the Sky”…Drifters’ base at Trevor on the Llangollen Canal offers the chance to experience one of the UK’s most stunning stretches of waterway and to navigate the awesome World Heritage Status Pontcysyllte Aqueduct – an incredible feat of engineering standing at over 38 metres high above the Dee Valley.
Trips from Trevor start at £574 in July.
For more information about Drifters boating holidays call 0844 984 0322 or visit www.drifters.co.uk
For more information about Britain’s inland waterways visit www.waterscape.com
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For Drifters press enquiries contact Debbie Walker on 01628 635831/077486 40577 walker.debbie@sky.com