Who are you?
Trish Deeley, semi-retired aerobics instructor and reader-contributor to Practical Motorhome with more than 40 years of experience of touring.
Why are you a local authority on Burton-upon-Trent?
Our daughter has lived here for 18 years and we visit regularly. So regularly in fact, that nine years ago we decided to move here!
What do you love about it?
The river. On a sunny day there is no better place to be. There are several parks where you can access the Trent and in the summer, you’ll often see people on the water with dinghies, canoes and paddleboards. We enjoy taking our kayak out on a sunny day.
It’s amazing just how different the landscape looks from the viewpoint of the river, not to mention the joy of being up close to the ducks, geese and swans. It’s very useful to know where the two weirs are situated before setting off, however.
What’s your favourite place to visit in the area?
Stapenhill Gardens and the adjoining Hollows provide a beautiful, tranquil setting along the banks of the river. They are part of the Washlands, a large area of grassland, meadows and woods adjoining the Trent.
There is something very peaceful about being beside water, especially when it is surrounded by greenery and overhanging trees.
These lovely gardens are replenished four tomes a year with seasonal flowers displayed in a series of terraces. It’s best appreciated mid-season, when the flowers are in full bloom. Burton sits on the border with Derbyshire, and the Peak District National Park is only an hour’s drive away.
Which campsite would you recommend, and why?
Conkers Camping and Caravanning Club Site, at Moira, is in the heart of the National Forest, adjacent to the Conkers Discovery Centre. Beehive Woodland Lakes has 66 acres of woods and three fishing lakes. Don’t go via the A38 – there’s a narrow bridge.
What food and drink is the area known for?
Burton is famous for beer and Marmite. Once known as the Brewing Capital of the World, it was home to more than 30 breweries. The magnesium and calcium content of the water, together with its low sodium, rendered it ideal for brewing Burton Ale and India Pale Ale. It is still well known, although only two main breweries remain – Bass and Marston’s – together with a few microbreweries.
Visit The National Brewery Centre to appreciate the town’s brewing history and enjoy some tasting.
Beer and Marmite go hand-in-glove: yeast extract is a byproduct of brewing. Opened in 1902, the Unilever factory now churns out 6000 tons of the stuff – about 50 million jars – a year.
Tell us somewhere great to eat or drink!
For cheerful good value, I’d recommend The Sump, a pub overlooking the weir on Newton Road. If fine dining is more your thin, Pascal at the Old Vicarage will whet your appetite with a French/English fusion. If you like red meat, try the Miller & Carter Steakhouse.
Where can you get spare kit?
Where can you find The Cheapest Petrol/Diesel?
Morrisons, Wellington Road, DE14 2AR
Where should you avoid when you’re in the area?
The area around Pirelli Stadium when Burton Albion are playing at home, owing to traffic congestion.
Share a secret highlight that only a local would know…
I am reliably informed that even some of the locals don’t know what a gem of Victorian engineering is showcased in the wonderful museum at Claymills Victorian Pumping Station. It’s unique, with four original beam engines and many smaller engines, all powered by the 19th-century steam boilers.
The pumping station was built to deal with brewing industry waste – every pint of beer meant a gallon of effluent.
You don’t have to be mechanically minded to appreciate the skill and dedication of the volunteers who work tirelessly to restore each machine to its original state. There is a small café, and Steam Days, when the machinery is operational, are highly recommended.
Burton-upon-Trent can be accessed via the M1 (Junction 24) followed by the A50 and A38 or the M6 Toll (JT4/5) followed by the A38 from the south.
Alternatively, the M42 and A444 will lead you direct to the town.