Affordable and easily accessible, with a healthy urban-rural balance, Staffordshire holds plenty of opportunity.
Landlocked Staffordshire is bordered by no less than seven other counties: Cheshire to the north-west; Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east; Warwickshire to the south-east; the West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south; and Shropshire to the west.
But the county also enjoys sprawling countryside, with Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and parts of the Peak District National Park and National Forest also within its boundaries.
Living in Staffordshire: what to expect
Both the Staffordshire Moorlands and the town of Stafford were among the top 10 happiest and most affordable places in the UK, according to Hamptons International research in 2015.
Perhaps best known as an historic centre for ceramic production, some of Staffordshire’s potteries are still active today, including Burleigh, Moorcroft and Aynsley.
But the county is also home to many national and international companies, including JCB, with headquarters in Rocester, and Britannia Building Society, which has its head office in Leek.
Staffordshire is well placed if you’re a commuter. Stafford, for example, which is situated more or less in the centre of the county, is under an hour away from Manchester and just half an hour away from Birmingham by train.
The county offers a varied property portfolio across cities, large towns, smaller towns and a plethora of rural villages. And Staffordshire’s properties currently average £175,261 – significantly cheaper than the UK average of £297,959.
Where to start your property search
Urban living: Stafford has a busy centre brimming with shops, restaurants and cafés. Situated just off the M6, it also boasts excellent road and rail connections. You’ll find terraced streets, Victorian semis, and plenty of modern and new-build properties, including maisonettes and apartment complexes.
Further north along the M6, and closer to Manchester and Liverpool, is Stoke-on-Trent. Flats, terraces and buildings in need of renovation or modernisation can come to market at well under £100,000.
Lichfield is a compact yet cosmopolitan choice. It has a large shopping centre, a market square, restaurants serving wide-ranging cuisine, an iconic three-spired cathedral and a canal network currently undergoing restoration. City Wharf and New Minster House are particularly sought-after city centre locations.
To the north-east, the smaller towns of Cheadle and Uttoxeter have recently seen positive press in quality of life polls. The former was named the 10th best place to raise children in England and Wales in research conducted by OneFamily, while the latter is among the happiest places in the county according to the results of a survey carried out by This is Staffordshire.
Rural living: The gently undulating countryside, the rugged landscape of the Peak District and the many beautiful Staffordshire villages make for particularly idyllic residential surroundings.
For the best of both worlds, Biddulph is located just north of Stoke-on-Trent in the Biddulph Valley, set in the picturesque surroundings of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
The district comprises seven small settlements of Gillow Heath, Knypersley, Biddulph Moor, Bradley Green, Brown Lees, Biddulph Park and the town of Biddulph itself, which has a busy centre with plenty of amenities and local events, such as an artisan market.
As well as being situated in a lush green valley, Biddulph is known as the Garden Town of Staffordshire, winning gold and being named overall winner in the Britain in Bloom Heart of England campaign in 2015. The beautiful Victorian Biddulph Grange Garden, owned by the National Trust, is also nearby. There are several ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools in the area.
Also to the north of Stoke-on-Trent is the town of Kidsgrove, where you'll find all the amenities you need for day-to-day living. Here you can find new-build homes at Taylor Wimpey's Mitchell Gardens development.
Getting around in Staffordshire
Train: Staffordshire is served by a network of local and national routes as well as the West Coast Mainline, with high-speed services available from Stoke-on-Trent, Stafford and Lichfield Trent Valley stations.
The journey time from Stoke-on-Trent to Manchester is 40 minutes; to Liverpool and London it’s one and a half hours; and to Birmingham it’ 50 minutes. Travelling to Birmingham from Lichfield takes around 30 minutes, and from Cannock, 40 minutes.
Car: With the M6 running through the centre of the county, access to Manchester, Liverpool, Wigan, Preston and the Lake District to the north is made easy. Travelling south, the M6 provides access to Birmingham and the motorway network south-west to Cheltenham, Bristol and Exeter, and south east to Oxford, Milton Keynes and London.
Air: Staffordshire is located in between two major international airports: Manchester and Birmingham. From Stafford, the journey time by car is an hour to Manchester Airport and 45 minutes to Birmingham Airport. The airports can also be easily reached by rail.
The smaller East Midlands Airport in Derby is also nearby, and offers mostly domestic and European flights.
Things to do in Staffordshire
Attractions: The most popular attraction in Staffordshire must surely be Alton Towers Resort, with its theme park, water park and spa, among other activities; but Drayton Manor Park near Tamworth and Waterworld in Stoke-on-Trent also provide plenty of excitement for all the family.
Meanwhile, Trentham Monkey Forest is the only place in Britain where you can walk among 140 Barbary macaques roaming free in 60 acres of forest.
History and heritage: Explore Staffordshire’s rich industrial heritage through the World of Wedgwood visitor experience; the Spode Works Visitor Centre; the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre, with its Grade-II listed bottle oven; the Middleport Pottery, home to Burleigh pottery; and the Emma Bridgewater Factory, where you can peek behind the scenes at a more modern ceramics brand.
Other historic buildings in the county include Middleton Hall and Tamworth Castle in Tamworth, and the Ancient High House in Stafford and the Shugborough Estate just outside the town.
Countryside: The 555 square mile Peak District National Park provides plenty of opportunities for walking, hiking, cycling and wildlife spotting, both within Staffordshire and over the border into neighbouring Derbyshire and Cheshire. Its windswept landscape of moors and craggy outcrops promises plenty of spectacular views.
Spoilt for choice, visitors and residents of the county can also enjoy the largest surviving area of lowland heathland in the Midlands, as well as woodland and parkland, at Cannock Chase, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The Staffordshire and Worcester Canal and Shropshire Union Canal also pass through Staffordshire, perfect for a leisurely waterside day out or boat trip. Meanwhile, the National Memorial Arboretum is a centre of remembrance set within 150 acres of peaceful woodland.
The Staffordshire Hoard is the most valuable treasure find ever made, worth £3.3m, and includes some 1,800 gold and silver Anglo-Saxon artefacts.
At the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia exhibition at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, visitors can view 200 of the items, set in the context of everyday Anglo-Saxon life and death.
There are also permanent displays of Staffordshire Hoard pieces at Lichfield Cathedral and Tamworth Castle.
6 reasons to live in Staffordshire
Varied property across large urban centres, small towns and rural villages
Easy access to plenty of green spaces, including rolling countryside, the Peak District and Cannock Chase AONB
Excellent transport links
Centrally located in England
Rich industrial heritage
Home to key sites for many large national and international companies, and also a great commuter location