Renowned for its potteries, Staffordshire also boasts some strikingly attractive countryside. To the southwest lie Cannock Chase and the valleys of the Tame and Trent, and in the centre is rich farmland. To the north, the county includes some of the Peak District and the Staffordshire Moorlands, the southern part of the Pennines.
Little discovered by Londoners, despite a good rail link from the capital to Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, the county has traditionally attracted buyers from Birmingham and the Black Country.
Road communications are good but busy; the M6 runs through the west of the county, and the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, although the subject of environmental protests, will be welcomed by many.
Staffordshire has plenty of good clay for bricks and tiles, so houses are typically built of brick, or brick and timber; there are fewer black-and-white houses than in neighbouring Cheshire and Shropshire. The most popular areas are round Lichfield and Uttoxeter.
Stafford, Cannock, Lichfield, Tamworth, Rugeley, Stoke-on-Trent, Uttoxeter, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Burton-upon-Trent.
Train: Euston to Stafford 1hr 40min; Euston to Stoke-on-Trent, 1hr 50min.
Car: Stafford is 129 miles from central London and Stoke-on-Trent 156 miles, via the M6 and M1.
Lyncroft House School, Cannock (01543 502388). Co-educational, age range 5-18, day and boarding.
Lichfield Cathedral School (01543 306170). Co-educational, age range 4-13, day and boarding. www.lichfieldcathedralschool.com/
Newcastle-under-Lyme School (01782 633604). Co-educational, age range 8-18, day. www.nuls.org.uk/
School of St Mary and St Anne, Abbots Bromley (01283 840232). Girls only, age range 5-19, day and boarding. www.abbotsbromley.staffs.sch.uk/
Stafford Grammar School (01785 249752). Co-educational, age range 11-18, day. www.staffordgrammar.staffs.sch.uk/
Headington School, Oxford (01865 741968). Girls only, age range 3-18 (boys, 3-7), day and boarding.
Abbotsholme School, Uttoxeter (01889 590217). Co-educational, age range 11-18, day and boarding. www.abbotsholme.com/
Denstone College, Uttoxeter (01889 590484). Co-educational, age range 11-18, day and boarding.
Golfcourses: Beau Desert, Cannock (01543 422626); Brocton Hall, Stafford (01785 662627); Leek (01538 385889); Ingestre Park, Stafford (01889 270061); Stone (01785 813103).
Hunts: the Albrighton Woodland, the Albrighton, the North Staffordshire, the Meynell and South Staffordshire.