The ‘derelict dump’ was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

People shop in a high street in Derby

There is more to Derby than meets the eye (Photo: Getty Images)

From bustling Liverpool to bustling London and beautiful York, Britain is packed with cities and towns that are definitely worth a visit.

But while there are some places we Brits love to return to again and again, other destinations aren’t as popular.

And now a ranking has revealed the best and worst places to visit in Britain, and one city in the East Midlands is right at the bottom of the list.

Described as ‘run down’ and a ‘dump’, Derby can now, for a brief pause, claim the ‘prize’ as the worst major British city.

It only narrowly defeated Leicester and Wales’ second city, Swansea, to claim the not-so-coveted title.

Which? created their rankings by surveying 3,967 members who rated British towns and villages they had visited for leisure purposes and where they had stayed at least one night since April 2022. The results were split into small, medium and large cities – with a list of 62 destinations in total.

An exterior view of All Saints' Cathedral in Derby

The site of Derby Cathedral dates back to 943 (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

So what makes Derby so good, nonsense? According to Which? it scored ‘poor in food and drink, accommodation, cultural and tourist attractions, shopping and ease of transport – all just two stars’. Ouch.

And to the uninitiated, Derby may not seem like an exciting outing.

Often seen as a place you simply pass through, visitors on Reddit described it as a place where they felt “lonely and depressed.”

Locals added that ‘it never feels like there’s much to do’, and a third said it ‘lacks identity’. Others called the place ‘a dump.’

But don’t start writing if you’re not ready yet; dig a little deeper and Derby might surprise you.

Firstly, there is the beautiful Derby Cathedral, which houses the oldest ring of ten bells not only in Britain, but in the world. Most of them have been there since 1678. And the original church is said to have been built around 943.

Meanwhile, Derby-based sculptor April Jones told the Independent that her city was ‘an artistic sleeping giant’. Thanks to Derby’s Vibrancy Fund, a £250,000 pot handed out to local artists, the place is quietly creative. The money financed street art, murals and installations.


Best major British cities for a short break, according to Which?

  1. Liverpool
  2. Edinburgh
  3. York
  4. Belfast
  5. Glasgow
  6. London
  7. Newcastle upon Tyne
  8. Portsmouth
  9. Bristol
  10. Cardiff
  11. Manchester
  12. Brighton & Hove
  13. Leeds
  14. Hull
  15. Nottingham
  16. Plymouth
  17. Birmingham
  18. Coventry
  19. Sheffield
  20. Milton Keynes
  21. Aberdeen
  22. Southampton
  23. Leicester
  24. Swansea
  25. Derby

There’s also the recently renovated Derby’s Museum of Making, the Derby Art Gallery and the stylish Sadler Gate, a trendy street full of independent shops and boutiques.

It even has the ambition to become the British City of Culture by 2029.

Derby also has a rich motoring heritage. The city began producing Rolls Royce cars in 1908 and also briefly made Bentleys in the 1930s. A new museum, Great Northern Classics – housed in the former Rolls-Royce Heritage Center – is a great place to admire classic cars.

A view of the Peak District National Park

The beautiful Peak District National Park is not to be missed (Photo: Getty Images)

And you can’t ignore the fact that Derbyshire is home to the Peak District National Park, which welcomes 13.25 million visitors every year. Stroll the picturesque streets of Castleton, or pick up a famous pastry in Bakewell.

And while the Which? The survey may have scored the city poorly in terms of food and drink, but every resident will mention Birds Bakery as a Derby favorite. Started by three brothers in 1919, their famous flasks still draw queues out the door.

And if you’re lucky, you might even see a few famous faces when you visit. Niall Horan and even George Clooney are said to be fans of Derby County Football Club.

So while it may not have the appeal of some of the top-ranked British cities – including Liverpool, Edinburgh and York – perhaps it’s time to give Britain’s ‘worst’ city another chance.

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