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Friday, 16 March 2018

#243 Toby Carvery Festival Park (aka China Garden), Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire : 1991 to 2017

Wherever possible, we try to avoid chain establishments on our canal trips, but sometimes they are the only option when we need food. Wetherspoons, Vintage Inn, Hungry Horse, Crown Carvery and Toby Carvery have all come to our rescue on our travels.

When passing through Stoke, on the Trent & Mersey Canal, there are few easily accessible places for a lunchtime stop. (In the evenings, we have more time to wander and there are plenty of options.)
Our first encounter was on the evening of Thursday 25th July 1991 as we moved Emma Jane from her northern mooring. I have little recollection of the evening (or the pub), but my photographic records indicate that we didn't venture any further into Stoke on that evening.

Since that time, we've travelled through Stoke on many occasions, sometimes mooring up outside, but we didn't go back inside until lunchtime on Sunday 15th March 2015 (Mother's Day).
China Garden
This was, again, on a boat moving trip; we were moving the new boat Peggy Ellen from the boat builders (Braidbar) down to her mooring at Kings Bromley. We stopped quite early (for us) just after midday expecting it to be fairly quiet having forgotten that it was Mother's Day! Nevertheless, after a bit of a wait, we were seated and had a reasonable carvery lunch. 

We'd noticed that the name 'China Garden' had long since disappeared (as with the previous names of all other Toby Carveries), but were unaware of the name change until now (when I looked it up on Google; although I suspect many people still know it as China Garden rather than Festival Park!)

Our most recent visit was at lunchtime on Friday 9th June 2017 on the morning after THAT General Election!
China Garden
We had another pleasant lunch (as befits a Toby Carvery) and went on our way heading up the Caldon Canal.

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