It's that time of year again when you need to find that last-minute present or stocking filler.
For anyone with an interest in fascinating tales, historic houses and the sights of splendour which Staffordshire has to offer, then you can't go far wrong with the new book by author and historian Robert Nicholls.
The book "50 Gems of Staffordshire" published by Amberley does exactly what it says on the cover – it takes 50 fascinating landmarks from across the county offering each its own description, photograph and postcode for would-be visitors.
The book overall is a stunning read but clearly we have an interest in the places Mr Nicholls has selected from this area.
In Burton, the Ferry Bridge was selected with a few paragraphs on its history and two colour photographs. Also from the area is the Fauld Explosion Memorial, St Werburgh's Church at Hanbury, the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance and the National Memorial Arboretum.
It's clear that plenty of background research has been carried out by the author on each "gem" with the Ferry Bridge section revealing its links to Michael Arthur Bass, its construction, its early toll charges and how renovations in the late 1960s resulted in the loss of many decorative features.
The author goes to great lengths to ensure would-be visitors inspired by the book can visit the same places with ease. Anyone who has hunted for the Fauld Monument without prior research will testify that it's not easy to find – but the author offers step-by-step instructions.
The choice of images is also inspiring. For example, one of the images used to illustrate the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas is of the Showmen's Guild memorial – perhaps one of the most colourful and unusual at the venue while another is the very moving "shot at dawn" statue.
While it’s great reading about the places you already know and have visited countless times before, I was inspired to look at what else Staffordshire has to offer. I've learned that there are so many great places to visit yet I've only just started to scratch the surface. The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Gailey Top Lock and Stewponey Lock certainly looks inviting.
Priced at £14.99, this paperback works equally as well as a history book as it does a tourist guide to the area.