The Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke-on-Trent houses a cafe, shop and decorating studio that makes for a nice day out for those who love the iconic British brand.
What is Emma Bridgwater?
Founded in 1985, Emma Bridgewater is a modern pottery brand, known for its high-quality English earthenware, thoughtful messages and classic designs. As the ‘world capital of ceramics’, Stoke-on-Trent is home to the Emma Bridgewater factory which produces 1.7 million pieces of pottery each year.
Why Visit the Emma Bridgewater Factory?
Besides the on-site gift shop and sample sale, there are many reasons to visit the factory:
- Afternoon Tea Experience Day
- Breakfast Experience Day
- Baby Print Experience
- Decorating Studio
- Factory Tour
- Breakfast, Lunch or Afternoon Tea
Had we planned our day better, we’d have fit in a factory tour and afternoon tea but instead opted for lunch and then the decorating studio.
At the time of our visit, it was still required to book online for a visit to the cafe, unfortunately, we left it a little too late to select afternoon tea and opted for the only time left – 11:30am. We had travelled 1.5 hours so we were ready for an early lunch, opting for a loaded jacket potato and a cup of tea.
Upon booking, we paid a £5 deposit which was deducted from the final bill.
Visiting a few days after the Jubilee weekend, the cafe still held jubilee decorations.
The Decorating Studio
We booked online selecting the date and time, and we went with a 13:00 start to allow us time to travel without having to leave too early. We paid a £2.95 deposit per person to secure our spot, you pay for the items you decorate after your session. Sessions are meant to last 1.5 hours, however, since there were no further bookings after us we were allowed to stay until closing at 4:30pm.
On arrival, we were given a quick brief and shown to our table which was ready and waiting with paintbrushes, water and empty paint palettes.
The first port of call is to choose what item you’d like to decorate, we were directed to a bookcase with the available items. I opted for a soup bowl intending to use it as a spaghetti bowl and my friend opted for a plate. There’s no restriction on how many items you can decorate, so long as you decorate them within your allotted time.
Once you’ve selected your item, a member of staff will come over to take your order and whilst waiting for the items to be bought over, it’s time to choose your paints and decorating tools. The studio has a wall filled with sponges, the sponges are held in a mug or bowl that shows you what that sponge looks like glazed. They had everything from letters, numbers and characters to animals, vegetables and other objects.
They even had a special bookcase dedicated to jubilee sponges, it’s assumed that this changes seasonally to match the season of your visits such as Halloween or Christmas.
On your table you’ll find a plate that looks a little like a clock, each number corresponds to the paint colour and how it looks once glazed. For example, the number 10 is red, D is blue and so on.
Take your empty paint palette and load up the colours you’d like to use and then it’s time to decorate your masterpiece!
On the table you’ll also find a red pencil, a black pencil and a sander. The red pencil will be invisible once the item goes through the kiln, however the black pencil will show which is great if you’re opting to draw your design as my friend did. If you make a mistake with the pencil, paint or sponge, once dried you can simply buff it off using the small sanding tool.
Each piece is adorned with the official Emma Bridgewater stamp.
The Final Result
As we didn’t live close by, we opted for the items to be delivered to us at no extra cost. They arrived three weeks later via DPD, we received a full tracking number and intended date and time of delivery. The items arrive fully packaged in an Emma Bridgwater box and lots of protective packaging.
How much did it cost?
Not including the cost of fuel for travelling or the spending in the gift shop of course, it was an inexpensive day out coming at £25 per person.
- £5 Lunch deposit
- £3.15 Jacket Potato and Tea (minus deposit)
- £2.95 Studio deposit
- £13 Soup Dish
- £24.10 Total