Shropshire Star

Review: I visited a traditional Shropshire pub and was transported back to the 1980s

An old-fashioned pub with a traditional feel. A family-run establishment offering freshly cooked food.

The Wickets Inn, Wellington, Telford

A Telford hub for the local community that provides children’s meals, pub classics, and a pint of your favourite.

The Wickets Inn at Wellington is all of those things and more.

Located in Holyhead Road, The Wickets is the sort of place that’s become increasingly hard to find.

As pubs have succumbed to the pressures created by other forms of leisure, as it’s become harder for landlords and ladies to make ends meet, the team behind The Wickets Inn have kept going.

The Wickets Inn, Wellington, Telford

Bosses Lance and Debbie have cast their net wide, offering a range of events to remain relevant and attractive.

From regular live music and open mic nights to steak and wine specials, from acoustic music and DJs to the best of local bands, The Wickets has somehow managed to sustain the sort of venue and the type of activities that have become all too rare.

It helps that it’s in a location where people still have the energy to get together.

As we live increasingly remote lives, working from home, engaging with smartphones and laptops, the lure of the local boozer has become less and less.

'More to a decent evening out than a sensational plate of food'

The Wickets Inn gallery features a smorgasbord of generously-plated, home-cooked wonders, though nothing that any self-respecting, decent home cook wouldn’t be capable of creating in their kitchen. Yet there’s more to a decent evening out than a sensational plate of food.

And that’s where The Wickets Inn excels. It’s a pub that is at the heart of the community, a place where a warm welcome is pretty much guaranteed, a venue that’s interested in its locals and is determined to serve them well.

In many ways, it’s a throwback. We’ve become accustomed to eating food from around the world, to dining on dishes from TV chefs, to eating remarkable ingredients that have been shipped in overnight.

The Wickets Inn takes its customers back to gentler times, when a great pub was all about a well-kept, well-poured pint, a landlord and landlady with a smile, a band in the corner playing tunes and a menu that offered simple, easily-recognisable dishes.

Back to the 1980s

Even the prices feel like they’re back-to-the-1980s.

While many pubs now seem to charge around £50 or so for a three-course dinner, The Wickets Inn offers one course for £12, two courses for £15, or three courses for £18.

And that means it’s selling starters and desserts for £3 each – rather than the £8 or £9 each that you’d expect to pay at most gastro pubs.

There’s nothing wild or fanciful about the selections. Starters are homemade soup with artisan bread, prawn cocktail with Bloody Mary sauce, ham hock terrine with toasted ciabatta, or panko-breaded brie with apple chutney.

Wickets Inn at Wellington dinner

Mains are liver and bacon – throwback time – or honey-glazed gammon with pineapple and chips.

There’s a cottage pie with seasonal veg, beef lasagne with a mixed salad, a beer battered portion of fish with chips, or a wild mushroom risotto if you’re averse to meat.

And then to finish, there’s an apple cinnamon crumble with custard, a bread and butter pudding with custard, or a warm chocolate fudge cake with a dollop of ice cream and a swish of chocolate sauce.

And here’s the thing. It’s pretty good. If you pop in for a Sunday lunch, don’t expect your beef to be an A5 wagyu. The only A5 you’ll find in the building are the leaflets advertising upcoming bands.

But do expect homely, pleasant-cooked food from a team that’s eager to please and has plenty of pride in the standards that it keeps.

My verdict on the food at The Wickets Inn at Wellington in Telford

I started with a prawn cocktail and it was thoroughly pleasant.

Prawns were laid in a small black bowl, garnished with pea shoot, with a tiny slice of lemon and a knob of butter in two separate containers.

Half a ciabatta roll was served alongside. It was simple but wholesome. The prawns had plenty of flavour and while the bread was slightly bland, the context comes with the knowledge that it was served at a low-cost, high-value pub.

The prawns starter at The Wickets Inn at Wellington in Telford

I’ve seen and eaten worse at places where it’d cost twice the price.

I opted for steak as a main, with a creamy and indulgent Béarnaise sauce.

Two roasted tomatoes added sweetness and flavour to the dish and although the mushrooms were a little leathery, the steak had been served rare, as requested, and had bags of flavour.

With two big plates of protein, it didn’t seem wise to add the extra calories that a portion of fries would have bought.

The portion sizes were on the generous side of large and after consuming enough protein to last for two days, it was time to call it quits – I’ll have to make a return visit to see how good the crumble really is.

'Swimming against the tide'

And that was that. Pleasant and low-cost, filling and served with a side of TLC, homely and welcoming.

The Wickets Inn may well be swimming against the tide but it’s doing so successfully.

It’s remarkably in tune with its locals, providing the sort of entertainment and food – as well as a sense of community – that brings people together.

And its managers are to be congratulated for that. It’s one of the toughest gigs in hospitality, at present.

We’ve been through Covid, the energy price hike, the cost of living crisis, and the rise in both wages and the price of ingredients.

Yet, remarkably, The Wickets Inn is offering value-for-money, salt-of-the-earth hospitality.

It feels like such pubs have become all-too-rare, and so all power to The Wickets Inn in not just staying afloat, but remaining an integral part of its community.

Inside The Wickets in at Wellington in Telford

Sample menu

1 course £12, two courses £15 or three courses £18


Homemade soup with warm bread

Egg benedict with asparagus,chive hollandaise sauce

Prawn cocktail salad with bloody mary sauce & wholemeal bread

Main courses:

Lamb’s liver & bacon, rich onion gravy, mashed potato

Breaded chicken caesar salad

Beer battered fish, hand cut chunky chips & mushy peas


Bread & butter pudding

Warm chocolate fudge cake

Lemon meringue roulade