If there’s one thing you can rely on in the UK – it’s the weather.
Yep, you can always rely on it to mess up your plans on a regular basis. Especially when you’re on holiday.

I’ve always loved holiday-makers, in the ‘hot spots’ of England, wandering around in their shorts, sandals and cagoules, bracing themselves against horizontal rain. We’ve even done it ourselves (minus the sandals) on more than one occasion.

We have a nice long list of things to do within 45 minutes of The Laurels. However, we also wanted to make sure there were things on that list, that you could do when the weather was somewhat inclement.
With that in mind, we thought we’d pay a visit to the Emma Bridgewater Pottery in Stoke on Trent. For just over two quid (That’s two pounds Sterling if you’re from The US of A) you can book a factory visit that demonstrates the whole process from start to finish. So that’s what we did!

Emma Bridgewater Factory Tour

Having wandered around, staring over the shoulders of the employees engaged in their various tasks, we moved on to the glazing department. The glaze is applied in a very fetching shade of purple (or fuchsia, lavender, magenta – who knows), which apparently allows any missing bits to be spotted more easily.

Stoke on Trent Pottery Factory Tours

The thing with glaze though, it makes the bottom of the bowl, plate, or whatever, stick to the shelf in the kiln. This clearly isn’t a good thing. So if you’ve ever wondered why your cup has a rough ring around the bottom, that’s why.

To get around this, one of the workers acts as a ‘Footwiper’. This task involves taking every single piece of pottery produced in the factory and wiping its bottom free of glaze. I sure hope the pay’s good.

The best part is saved for last though. If you want to, you can also book up a decorating session. This allows you to paint a piece of your choice, have it fired, then take it home. Obviously not on the same day though, as it’s likely to be a tad warm…
Having initially looked upon this activity with all the glee one does of a wet Bank Holiday (oh wait, it was a wet Bank Holiday) I very soon warmed to this activity as we chose our paint colours and decided on our designs.

Pottery decorating studio

Emma Bridgewater Decorating Studio

Having spent 90 minutes fine-tuning our designs, (you can probably guess which one’s Helen’s) we were ready to start again and create even more pottery perfection.

And here’s the finished article;

Emma Bridgewater mug