There are plenty of reasons to visit East Staffordshire throughout the year, including the relaxing shopping experiences at Barton Marina, the serenity of Blithfield Reservoir, and the family fun of the National Forest Adventure Farm.

The borough is also home to some of Staffordshire's best events too, where you can celebrate the area's history, pay tribute to fallen heroes and see some of our sporting greats - current and future - in action.

Here are five to tempt you into a visit...

The Betfred Midlands Grand National

In March Staffordshire plays host to one of the biggest jump races in the country at Uttoxeter Racecourse.

The UK's second-longest steeplechase after the Aintree Grand National, the Betfred Midlands Grand National attracts thousands of racegoers and strong competition for the £125000 prize pot.

And it will be a double celebration this year, as it falls on St Patrick's Day! There will be coverage of the England v Ireland Six Nations rugby fixture after the day's racing.

Tickets are available now at https://www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on/betfred-midlands-grand-national

(Image courtesy of Nigel Kirby Photography)

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

A quirky ritual dating back to 1226, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance certainly offers an entertaining day out!

After collecting the ancient reindeer antlers from St Nicholas Church in the morning, the 12 dancers including Maid Marian (a man in a dress), The Hobby-horse and The Fool, parade through Abbots Bromley and neighbouring villages, stopping at regular intervals to perform the dance.

We are not sure why it started. Some theories say it began to thank King Henry I for giving villagers the right to hunt. Others say it's a fertility ritual.

What we are sure of is it's the definition of a unique experience, and with exhibitions, stalls and the local pubs to enjoy too, it's well worth a visit.

The Vintage Years Festival

If you like a spot of nostalgia then the Vintage Years Festival at the National Brewery Centre is right up your street.

It's a celebration of life in the post-war years, with loads to see and do including World War Two vehicles, a vintage tea shop, dance workshops and live music, not to mention the WW2 Memorial Flight (weather-permitting).

Combine your visit with a look at how Burton upon Trent became the centre of the UK brewing industry, with guided tours available.

End on a high by sampling some locally brewed ales in the William Worthington microbrewery.

Ride to the Wall

The hugely popular Ride to the Wall attracts thousands of motorcyclists to the National Memorial Arboretum every year.

The memorial ride, which starts at 11 locations around the country including Drayton Manor Park and Wolseley Bridge Garden Centre, is followed by a service of remembrance, giving visitors the chance to give thanks and pay tribute to the fallen servicemen and women named on the Armed Forces Memorial.

Now in its 11th year, Ride to the Wall has raised more than £600,000 for the National Memorial Arboretum.

Details of the 2018 ride are available at the Ride to the Wall website: https://www.rttw.org/index.php

The UEFA Under-17 European Football Championship

The best young footballers in the world will descend on Staffordshire for the Under-17 European Championship in May.

Six matches, including the opening fixture and some key group games, will take place at St George's Park, the FA's National Football Centre near Burton upon Trent.

Can England, winners of this competition in 2010 and 2014, repeat their success of Autumn 2017, when they won the Under-17 World Cup in India?

Tickets are on sale now at the competition website: http://www.thefa.com/competitions/uefa-under-17-championship

Other great events in East Staffordshire

There's something for everyone in the East Staffordshire event calendar!

There's great live music this Summer at Uttoxeter Racecourse, home of the Acoustic Festival of Britain, the Live Music Raceday featuring Heaven 17 and The Lightning Seeds, and the Ladies Day with this year's DJ Gok Wan.

And at the National Brewery Centre, you'll discover BurtonFest 2018, with performances from The Hoosiers, the multi-platinum selling indie rockers and 90s boy band 5ive.

For something a bit more peaceful and laidback, try the National Forest Walking Festival, with a host of walks for all ages and abilities to enjoy.

How to get to East Staffordshire

Centrally placed in the heart of the UK, it's easy to get to East Staffordshire.

There are mainline train stations at Burton upon Trent and Uttoxeter, offering regular services to Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby and Stoke-on-Trent.

And if you're travelling by road, the A50 and A38 offer speedy connections to the M1, M6, M6 Toll and M42.

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