Shropshire Star

Don't be so quick to scoff, Telford is a great night out - here's why

I was as cynical as the rest of you when I read a report this week claiming Telford boasts the fourth-best town or city in the UK for a night out.


Having spent most of my life in this town, and most student nights walking across the sticky floors of one of the few clubs the borough boasted back in the 2010s, I am partially qualified to comment on the quality of Telford's nightlife.

And should this report have been sent to me circa 2011, I would've point-blank refused to have my name attached to such a claim.

But that was over a decade ago, and after I finished scoffing at the new data compiled by Get Licensed, I did stop and dwell on my experiences over the last few years.

Let's break that data down for a minute.

Sure, we're bottom of the list when it comes to the number of bars and clubs per 100,000 people (seven), but is anyone mad about that?

In pubs, we hold our own with 101 per 100,000 people. And speaking from experience, our range is incredible.

Whether it's craft ale, speciality gins, live music, quiz nights, beer gardens or bistro food - there's one, or many, for all tastes in Telford.

Ironbridge's selection alone stands head and shoulders above most British towns I've visited, and Wellington has come on leaps and bounds since the sticky floors of student nights.

Who among us could have predicted the stellar success of Wellington's late-night market a decade ago?

Now, once a month, the revamped food court and outdoor space is jam-packed with revellers enjoying drinks, an amazing range of food and live music.

And Telford's beer is cheap. Yes, it might skew the data in our favour, but it's an important point not to miss.

With some of the cheapest beer in the top 20, the average pint costs £3.69 here. Even just down the road in Dudley, a cold one is going to put you back £4.54 - and that's outside city prices.

The same study also has Telford as the safest large town or city for a night out, with the number of people worried about being assaulted, mugged or robbed considerably lower than many of the places on the list.

Now, as a young woman, I didn't feel safe on a night out in Telford. As a teen, I learnt not to exchange a 'funny look' with friends, walk home on my own, talk back or speak up.

In 2010, I witnessed a man get his ear bitten off in a brawl outside a pub. And it wasn't even an anomaly - violence, and trying desperately to avoid it, was just a part of a night out in Telford.

But about a month ago I walked home, alone, after a night in Wellington's pubs. Not only did I feel safe, but I didn't think about it at all.

I didn't have to skirt around a scuffle or dodge a flying beer bottle or soggy box of chips. Getting mugged, robbed or assaulted didn't even cross my mind. And in a large town, that's quite a privilege.

I think it's quite a natural response to hate your home town. As residents, we often see the worst of it and, as Brits, we love to complain about it.

Telford might not be in the top five of any of our lists for a night out. But with a host of incredible pubs, an amazing live music scene and an array of awesome places to eat, maybe it should be.