Mummy nights out are a rare and elusive occasion! They need to be booked way in advance to ensure that childcare can be arranged, and invariably something will pop up at the very last minute to thwart all your well-made plans! But, a wonderful group of friends (whom I met at baby groups with my eldest) and I always try to have at least one night every year where we all get together and let our hair down! And this year, the Totally 90s night at Trentham Gardens in Stoke-on-Trent seemed like the perfect excuse for a good old boogie! And did Trentham Gardens do us proud??!! Oh my goodness…yes!!
What is “Trentham Gardens”?
Those who live in Stoke and surrounding areas will already be very familiar with Trentham Gardens, one of the main tourist spots for the area, and rightfully so! But….for those of you not so familiar, let me tell you more! The Trentham Estate was originally a royal manor; occupied by a priory and then a convent, until the dissolution of the monasteries in the time of Henry VIII. A house was then built on the land, which was then extended to a larger Elizabethan house and then probably demolished and replaced in Georgian times. The relatively small remains that we can see today served as the Staffordshire seat for the Duke of Sutherland and were described as a magnificent “elegant mansion.” The gardens and parkland at Trentham were designed by Capability Brown between 1768 and 1778 and Charles Barry designed a beautiful Italianate flower garden. Unfortunately, the house was demolished in the early 1900s but many older residents of the city have fond memories of the open-air swimming pool and both my father and father-in-law reminisce about nights out at the Trentham Ballroom, watching bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones Pink Floyd, The Who and Led Zepplin strut their stuff!
Before World War I, the Trentham Estate was used as a military training camp between 1909 and 1914, and during World War II it was used as a military regroupment camp for French soldiers, some Polish soldiers and a few German officers as prisoners of war.
The estate was sold in 1979 and fell into serious decline and disrepair. However, it was bought by St Modwen in 1996 and an £100 million transformation brought listed buildings back to life, reinstated the extensive flower gardens and restored the historic parkland to the beautiful landscape we can see today. Trentham Gardens and its shopping village and Monkey Forest (read my “Trentham Monkey Forest Review” here) are now the perfect place for a family day-out for those from the area and from further afield! In fact, if you’re local and stuck for something to do, Trentham will always be top of your list! You can read more about it in my “Trentham Gardens – A Family Day Out in Stoke on Trent” post, here.
Concerts at Trentham Gardens
Trentham Gardens is the perfect outdoor venue for live music and theatre. In fact, in my 20s I was in quite a few Shakespeare productions at the gardens, come rain or shine! There is a natural amphitheatre in front of the beautiful lake and it really is perfect for magical events! This year, from 8th June till 14th September, Trentham has gone bigger than ever before, celebrating 15 years of reopening with 15 concerts! With Elton John, George Michael, ABBA & Queen tributes; 80s, 90s and 00s shows, “Monster Rock Anthems”, “A Night at the Musicals” and more – Trentham really have surpassed themselves this Summer!
Totally 90s at Trentham Gardens
My friends and I were all teenagers during the 90s and grew up to a soundtrack of the Spice Girls, Peter Andre, Aqua, B*Witched, Blur, Oasis, Steps, Britney, All Saints, SClub 7 and, of course, Take That, so were incredibly excited at the chance to relive our youth. Ticketholders are welcome to dress up for the events so we donned our neon and glitter and one of my brave friends became a very convincing Britney Spears. I spotted quite a few Spice Girls, two Ali G wannabes and quite a few Dumb and Dumber costumes, to name but a few!
The singers and backing band were amazing (I’m proud to say that I knew one of them from my performing days!) and we danced until the sun went down, having a really fabulous time amongst the picturesque surroundings. I find it quite worrying that I remembered all of the lyrics and dance moves to the songs but nowadays sometimes can’t remember what I had for breakfast, and it was incredibly amusing when a group of about 100 women (us included!) realised that we were dancing the moves to Whigfield’s “Saturday Night” to the tune of “The Macarena” and vice versa!
If all this is making you yearn for those heady, Hooch and Smirnoff Ice powered days of the 90s; and you want to reach for your Game Boy, feed your Tamagotchi, tape the Top 40 on Radio One and watch Friends, Live & Kicking, The Big Breakfast or Shooting Stars. If the nostalgia really is getting too much for you then don’t worry – you have another chance! There is another “Totally 90s” night at Trentham Gardens on 14th September (tickets available here) – and look out for me on the dance-floor as I enjoyed it so much the first time I’m hoping to go back for a second helping! If the 2000s is more your thing then tickets are available to buy from the Gardens Entrance for “Absolute Noughties” on 20th July (I’m going to this one too and as the concerts are family-friendly we are also taking the kids!) and you can still get tickets for “Monster Rock Anthems” (27th July), the Elton John Tribute (10th August), “Soul Legends” (17th August) and the George Michael Tribute (7th September) by visiting the website here.
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Trentham Gardens, Trentham Estate, Stone Rd, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 8JG www.trentham.co.uk