Home » Residents living in city voted worst to visit in Britain reveal ‘rundown dump’ has become a ‘ghost town’ with lack of jobs for locals and youths running riot

Residents living in city voted worst to visit in Britain reveal ‘rundown dump’ has become a ‘ghost town’ with lack of jobs for locals and youths running riot

Derby residents are in despair at living in a ‘rundown dump’ named Britain’s worst city to visit, which is now a ‘ghost town’ plagued by yobs and antisocial behaviour.

The unwanted title was given to Derby after a poll of nearly 4,000 people about their experiences of visiting UK cities in the last two years by consumer group Which?

It got just two stars for food and drink, accommodation, cultural sights and tourist attractions, shopping and ease of getting around – coming 62nd out of 62 cities.

Derby had a score of 56 per cent, below the next five worst towns and cities of Fort William, Torquay, Bournemouth, Swansea and Leicester, which all got 58 per cent.

Now, locals have revealed what it is really like living there – with many agreeing the ‘neglected’ city is worthy of the label amid a scourge of loutish behaviour.

Residents and business owners say the once-thriving city is now full of boarded-up empty units and there’s little on offer in terms of leisure and entertainment.

Derby Council has however hit back, criticising the poll and saying the city is packed with interesting museums, parks hosting major cultural events and ‘restaurants galore’ – including the Michelin starred Darley’s and more than 200 real ale pubs.

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

A police officer in Derby city centre which residents have described as a "rundown dump"

A police officer in Derby city centre which residents have described as a ‘rundown dump’

Derelict former events venue Assembly Rooms has been closed since a fire caused major damage in 2014 ¿ although it is set to be demolished for a new ¿cultural heart¿ of the city

Derelict former events venue Assembly Rooms has been closed since a fire caused major damage in 2014 – although it is set to be demolished for a new ‘cultural heart’ of the city

Locals say more people are staying away from Derby or visiting nearby cities like Nottingham

Locals say more people are staying away from Derby or visiting nearby cities like Nottingham

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain 

Derby residents said they are living in a "rundown dump" named Britain's worst city to visit

Derby residents said they are living in a ‘rundown dump’ named Britain’s worst city to visit

The overall city score based on visitors' overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend

The overall city score based on visitors’ overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend

But locals said Derby has become a magnet for crime and homelessness which is leading to more people staying away or visiting nearby cities such as Nottingham.

Tony Dickens, 76, who moved to Derby from Burton-on-Trent just over ten miles away, said: ‘I can’t think of anywhere off of the top of my head that deserves it more.’

He also spoke about a reduction of work from industry in the city, saying: ‘The amount of industry that used to be here. Take Rolls Royce out and there’s nothing. There’s nothing in Derby but traffic. Compared with Nottingham or wherever, what is there in Derby, entertainment wise?’

He cited the derelict former events venue Assembly Rooms, which has been closed since a fire caused major damage in 2014 – although this is set to be demolished for a new ‘cultural heart’ of the city.

Mr Dickens continued: ‘If you come down here at 8pm on a Saturday night, it’s dead.’

He said Derby Museum was ‘very good’, but ‘I don’t think it’s being pushed enough – nothing is being pushed enough’.

People in Derby said there is little on offer in terms of leisure and entertainment in the city

People in Derby said there is little on offer in terms of leisure and entertainment in the city

Residents and business owners say once-thriving Derby is now full of boarded-up empty units

Residents and business owners say once-thriving Derby is now full of boarded-up empty units

Tony Dickens, 76, who lives in Derby, told MailOnline: "The amount of industry that used to be here. Take Rolls Royce out and there's nothing. There's nothing in Derby but traffic'

Tony Dickens, 76, who lives in Derby, told MailOnline: ‘The amount of industry that used to be here. Take Rolls Royce out and there’s nothing. There’s nothing in Derby but traffic’

Locals told MailOnline that Derby has become a magnet for crime and homelessness

Locals told MailOnline that Derby has become a magnet for crime and homelessness

Derby was described by locals as a "ghost town" plagued by yobs and antisocial behaviour

Derby was described by locals as a ‘ghost town’ plagued by yobs and antisocial behaviour 

Mr Dickens added: ‘I’m a pensioner and a lot of this is pedestrianised. To get to these shops is a long walk. It’s alright having these areas, but not for elderly people. So people can’t get to these shops, and people shop online. So many have shut up now.’

Another woman, who did not wish to be named, added: ‘Derby has half of what we need really. For us to come that far down is shameful. I feel like we’ve put our faith in the wrong people and our regenerations plans have been ruined.

‘Our shops are shut and there’s homelessness everywhere. It’s not exactly appealing for anyone coming to visit us. You come off at the bus station or by train and you get greeted with a ghost town some days. The city has just been neglected.’

Charity shop worker Rachel Brunt, 55, added: ‘It’s a bit rubbish because there’s hardly any shops out now. I mean Wilko has gone and that was a big one for us.

‘They’ve been closing down around here for years. They said the Assembly Rooms were being done up, but they’ve stopped it now. They used to have theatres and plays and all sorts there.’

Another lifelong local, who would only give his name as Trevor, 80, added: ‘You can go over to Nottingham, and there’s all the university life and it’s very vibrant.

Locals spoken to by MailOnline agreed the "neglected" city is worthy of the label from Which?

Locals spoken to by MailOnline agreed the ‘neglected’ city is worthy of the label from Which?

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

‘But if you’re a youngster that is better. There’s a lot over there. I think it’s turning into a lot of wine bars around here. What was once the market is now going to be a wine bar I think.

‘There’s not that much to do here which probably why a lot of people go outside of town.’

Gary Morrison, 62, owns the Little Cobbler and Key Smith, and has worked in Derby for 30 years.

He said: ‘They’re not doing anything to attract people into the town centre because out of town they’ve got free parking. Most of the shops haven’t picked up from lockdown either. It’s slow. I mean cathedral quarter put some events on.

‘To enter Derby you’ve got to pay. You can go shopping out of Derby and it’s free. All roads lead back to the council. I’ve badgered them about public toilets, there’s none this end of Derby. It’s basic stuff. Nottingham has got more.’

However Lisa Stewart, 65, said: ‘I saw we’d been ranked lowest on Facebook. I’m sure there’s worse cities out there. There’s Birmingham, they reckon Nottingham isn’t a good place to live. Leicester, too.

‘It’s not all bad here. But I suppose there’s not a lot here really.’

Derby had a score of 56 per cent which put it bottom of the Which? survey of towns and cities

Derby had a score of 56 per cent which put it bottom of the Which? survey of towns and cities

Derby Council has hit back, criticising the survey and saying the city is packed with museums

Derby Council has hit back, criticising the survey and saying the city is packed with museums

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

Scenes from Derby city centre this week after it was voted the worst city to visit in Britain

One man, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘It’s become pretty lawless as a result of being neglected by the council. I don’t feel safe in the city centre anymore.

‘No wonder people are staying away, I don’t blame them. ‘

Another local Andrew said: ‘It upset me, I’m from this town all of my life. This is for the local council, the police and the amenity people to put their heads together and sort it out.

‘They’ve run this city down for the last ten years. The shops, everything. The nice side of town has just been left while they just try and drive people to the Intu shopping centre.

‘What is that going to do to the people of Derby now that survey is out. That is a degradation of the city. They’re telling you to go wherever, to Leicester. That survey will drive people out of Derby.

‘I was so disgusted when I saw Derby at the bottom. Have they been to Stoke-on-Trent?’

But Derby Council has blasted the survey and posted a strong defence of the city, with a thread on X saying it was full of interesting things to do.

Gary Morrison, 62, owns the Little Cobbler and Key Smith, and has worked in Derby for 30 years. He said: 'They're not doing anything to attract people into the town centre because out of town they've got free parking. Most of the shops haven't picked up from lockdown either'

Gary Morrison, 62, owns the Little Cobbler and Key Smith, and has worked in Derby for 30 years. He said: ‘They’re not doing anything to attract people into the town centre because out of town they’ve got free parking. Most of the shops haven’t picked up from lockdown either’

Locals revealed to MailOnline what it is like living in Derby, with many critical of the city

Locals revealed to MailOnline what it is like living in Derby, with many critical of the city

The council said: A @WhichUK survey of just a few thousand people reckons Derby is the ‘worst city for short breaks’. So here are all the reasons they’re wrong and why over 260,000 people call this amazing city home and why this bank holiday weekend is well spent here.

‘Looking for exciting days out? @MuseumofMaking, Pickford’s House and Great Northern Classics are all great options. Derby Art Gallery also hosts the world’s largest collection of Joseph Wright paintings, as seen in @meettatebritain @metmuseum.

‘Nationally recognised parks? We’ve got plenty of them, including Derby Arboretum, Britain’s first public park and the inspiration for Central Park in New York. We’re also part of a @UNESCO #WorldHeritageSite thanks to our industrial revolution roots.

‘Our parks even play host to huge cultural events like @SmmrSessions and the Darley Park Weekender – which includes one of the UK’s biggest outdoor classical concerts!

‘But there’s nowhere good to eat on our city break in Derby,’ we hear you say… We’ve got restaurants galore, including the Michelin starred Darley’s, and over 200 CAMRA-approved real ale pubs.

‘For coffee and cake, there’s independent cafes and coffee shops too. @bemoreBEAR have made this city their home for over 7 years, and @derbyquad offer a packed cultural calendar on top of great food, including @formatfestival and events for @DerbyBookFest.

‘You won’t find yourself short of shopping options. From national favourites in @_Derbion to a whole host of independent gems in @DerbyCQ and @SPQDerby. There’s something for everyone!

‘If it’s sport you’re after, look no further. Take in the atmosphere with @dcfcofficial or @DerbyshireCCC.Or head to @derby_arena, one of only six indoor velodromes in the country. You could even whizz down the Water Park rides at Moorways Sports Village with the kids.

‘Derby is one of the most accessible cities in the UK. We’ve worked with businesses across the city to make sure that anyone and everyone can access everything we have to offer. Did you know that Derby has the highest population of deaf people in the country?’

Other people reacted to the survey on social media, with one commenting: ‘It’s got rough as hell in the past few years too. Full of crime and Asbo behaviour. Used to be lovely but now louts run riot.’

Another added: ‘Be honest, Derby is an absolute dump. Flats converted from shops; charity shops; empty shops.’

A third commented: ‘I used to love the Derby I grew up in now its ruined I hate going down to the town centre.’

And a fourth said on Reddit: ‘Derby city used to be okay but it’s pretty rundown and tired now.’ 

Best and worst UK locations for a staycation are named by Which… so where does your local town or city rank?

The best cities and towns in the UK for a staycation break were ranked by Which?, with Liverpool the number one big city, Bath the highest-ranking medium city and Wells first in the small city category.

Edinburgh and York tied for second place in the big city category, while Chester was runner-up in the medium city list and Durham and St Andrews ranked joint second in the small city category.

The results came from a survey of almost 4,000 Which? members, who were asked about their experiences visiting UK cities and towns in the past two years.

Each location was rated out of five stars on a range of criteria, including accommodation, food and drink, cultural sights and tourist attractions, ease of getting around, lack of crowds, and value for money.

The consumer champion calculated an overall city score based on visitors’ overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend. Here is the full data:

LARGE CITIES
Large cities Food and drink Accommodation Cultural sights Shopping Ease of getting around Lack of crowds Parking Value for money City Score
Liverpool **** **** ***** **** *** **** *** **** 84%
Edinburgh **** *** ***** **** **** ** * **** 83%
York **** **** ***** **** **** ** * **** 83%
Belfast *** **** **** *** ** **** * **** 77%
Glasgow **** **** **** **** *** **** * **** 76%
London *** *** ***** **** ***** * * ** 76%
Newcastle-upon-Tyne ***** **** *** **** **** **** *** **** 75%
Portsmouth ** **** **** *** ** **** *** **** 74%
Bristol **** **** *** *** ** *** * *** 73%
Cardiff *** **** *** **** ** *** * *** 72%
Manchester **** *** *** **** **** *** * **** 71%
Brighton & Hove *** ** *** *** ** * * ** 67%
Leeds **** *** *** **** ** *** ** *** 67%
Hull ** *** *** ** *** **** *** **** 66%
Nottingham *** *** *** **** **** **** *** **** 66%
Plymouth *** ** *** ** ** **** *** **** 66%
Birmingham *** ** *** **** ** *** * *** 64%
Coventry ** *** *** ** ** **** *** *** 63%
Sheffield ** **** ** ** ** **** ** **** 63%
Milton Keynes ** **** ** **** ** **** *** ** 61%
Aberdeen ** *** *** ** ** **** ** *** 60%
Southampton *** ** ** **** ** *** *** *** 60%
Leicester *** ** *** **** ** **** *** *** 58%
Swansea ** **** ** ** ** **** ** *** 58%
Derby ** ** ** ** ** **** *** *** 56%
MEDIUM CITIES
Medium cities Food and drink Accommodation Cultural sights Shopping Ease of getting around Lack of crowds Parking Value for money Customer Score
Bath **** **** ***** **** *** ** * *** 82%
Chester **** **** **** **** **** **** *** **** 80%
Lincoln *** **** **** *** ** **** *** **** 78%
Worcester ** **** *** ** ** **** *** **** 77%
Canterbury *** **** **** ** **** *** * *** 76%
Shrewsbury **** **** *** **** ** **** ** **** 75%
Harrogate **** **** *** *** ** **** *** *** 74%
Oxford *** *** ***** *** ** ** * *** 74%
Norwich *** *** *** **** ** **** *** **** 73%
Cambridge ** ** **** *** ** ** * ** 72%
Exeter ** **** *** **** ** **** *** *** 71%
Cheltenham *** **** *** **** ** **** ** *** 67%
Dundee ** ** *** ** ** **** *** *** 62%
Eastbourne ** **** ** ** ** **** ** *** 62%
Hastings ** ** *** ** ** **** * *** 62%
Gloucester ** ** *** ** ** **** ** *** 61%
Ipswich ** **** ** ** ** **** *** *** 59%
Bournemouth ** ** ** ** ** *** * ** 58%
SMALL TOWNS AND CITIES
Small towns and cities Food and drink Accommodation Cultural sights Shopping Ease of getting around Lack of crowds Parking Value for money Customer Score
Wells *** **** **** ** **** **** *** **** 86%
Durham *** **** **** ** ** **** ** **** 78%
St Andrews ** **** *** ** *** **** ** *** 78%
Winchester *** *** **** **** ** **** ** **** 77%
Stratford Upon Avon *** **** **** ** *** *** ** *** 76%
Salisbury *** **** **** ** *** **** ** **** 75%
Stirling ** **** **** ** ** **** *** **** 75%
St David’s ** **** *** * ** *** ** **** 74%
St Ives **** **** *** ** ** ** * *** 74%
Ely ** **** *** ** ** **** *** *** 73%
Windsor ** **** **** ** ** * * ** 73%
Chichester ** *** *** ** ** **** *** *** 69%
Inverness ** *** *** ** ** **** *** *** 69%
Oban *** **** *** ** ** **** * *** 69%
Lancaster ** **** *** ** ** **** ** *** 67%
Perth ** *** *** ** ** **** *** *** 65%
Truro ** **** ** ** ** **** *** ** 61%
Fort William ** ** *** ** ** **** *** *** 58%
Torquay ** **** ** ** ** *** * ** 58%