Shropshire Star

Challenge Dan: A great day out in Wellington for just £20?

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, we know how difficult it can be to have fun and keep yourselves chipper if you’re understandably watching the pennies carefully.

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How far will £20 get Dan The Man?

Yet, our region is blessed with plenty of towns with a lot of bang for their buck, and it might be cheaper than you think to enjoy all of the special things about them and give yourself the treat you deserve.

But where do you start? Well, luckily, at Weekend Towers we have just the chap to steer you straight and guarantee you the good time on a budget you’re looking for. We’d trust him with our pocket money, and he’s a dab hand at getting the most out of his own, squeezing the laughs out of every penny in his purse.

Here, folks, Dan The Man Morris straps on his canny shopper head, and aims to prove that with less than £20, you can have a great day out right here on our doorstep. Mission: Impossible? Nothing so beige, dear readers. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Challenge Dan...

Having been given my mission-should-I-choose-to accept-it by Weekend’s gaffer-in-chief Caroline “you will accept it” Jones, I recently set out, armed with my trusty twenty, for the town of Wellington.

A gem of the Telford borough, this one is a relatively easy commute from most of Shropshire and the Black Country, and seemed like the ideal place to see what a purple pic of our late Queen could do. A charming market town full of secret surprises, Wellington offers something for all and a lot for most. Packed to the brim with character and personality, its lively town centre can be the perfect place to while away a pleasant day – and you don’t have to be Rockefeller to enjoy it.

For me, the secret to a perfect day out is not to over pack it – quality over quantity, with plenty of breathing space, is key.

Therefore, when arriving in Wellington, I looked to undertake a nice, wholesomely fun activity, followed by a bit of tucker, and then – if the brass would allow – a bit of liquid refreshment.

The game was on...

Trip to the flicks

Dan Morris and Wellington Orbit manager Damian Breeze

First stop for a film nerd like me had to be Wellington’s superb independent and community-run cinema, The Orbit. This 63-seat gem offers of lovely and intimate viewing experience for those who, like me, just adore the magic of the flicks. And with standard tickets going for £9, it offered me the perfect way to start a relaxing afternoon. With a showing of Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, £9 was well spent, and an additional 75p for a bag of popcorn made the movie experience perfect without breaking the bank.

Staff and volunteers were delightful, and made this trip to the cinema a very good one for the soul.

Still, it wasn’t long before a touch of hunger set in...

Let me eat cake

Cake at the Masovia Craft Bakery

Wellington boasts a wealth of lovely eateries where you can grab some savoury sustenance. But I was in the mood to indulge my new-found sweet tooth, and so headed for an independent gem a colleague had tipped me off about. Specialising in fresh artisan breads, pastries and cakes, Wellington’s Masovia Craft Bakery is nothing less than an Aladdin’s Cave for those looking for a premium quality sweet fix. Staff are lovely, and their sumptuous goods are very reasonably priced – my hearty slab of delicious chocolate cake cost £2.77. I was unable to finish the mammoth creation there and then, but the delightful lady who served me was more than happy to box up the remains. Happy days.

Now, it was time to quench a well-earned thirst.

Proper brews

A pint in The Pheasant Inn

With a number of fine public houses in town, I would have been remiss not to have rounded off a delightful afternoon without a swift visit to a recommended inn. The tap house for the on-site Rowton Brewery, The Pheasant Inn is a traditional pub that prides itself on great beer, and is a perfect fit for a town with Wellington’s rustic market heritage. At the recommendation of staff, a pint of their signature Ironbridge Gold went down an absolute treat, and at £3.50 it was priced very reasonably. Cheers, landlord!

A sterling success

So, to round up, a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon was had in Wellington, where modest pleasures put a lovely skip in my step. There was plenty to see, do, and indulge in in the town – including its well-known indoor market – that would have to wait until next time. Yet the taste of Wellington I had will be more than enough to get me back to sample these further delights.

Happily, my mission was a resounding success, with my cinema ticket, popcorn, cake and pint chocking in at only £16.02 in total – proof that this Shropshire gem can make an ideal budget day out.