Derby: A great city for young professionals. No, really.

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Drop that eyebrow please, I’ve got a serious, if somewhat philosophical, point to make here:
Derby is a fantastic place to establish your career and to start building your life – and I’m tired of pretending that it isn’t.



Sadler Gate, our ‘posh’ shopping street with some fantastic bars & restaurants

(Photo credit: Marketing Derby https://www.marketingderby.co.uk/resources/)


There’s a notion that for graduates, millennials or other ‘avocado-aligned adults’, the big four cities (Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol or the one to rule them all…London) are the only places worth considering moving to for work.

They have all the glamourous nightlife, attractions and reputation that stereotypically should attract young professionals like myself, but does that make those places great to live in?

For some people, the wallet crushing rent prices and higher cost-of-living is absolutely worth the metropolitan lifestyle – and I mean that with full sincerity!

But what about those who just want a decent place to live, work and play?

Well, consider ‘Derbados’…


Derby, a fantastic place for living

Derby - Derbados

According to the Derbados Facebook page: ‘Derbados is not just a place, but a state of mind’


As with most stereotypes, they quickly fall apart when you look at the wider spectrum.

Not every graduate or young professional is necessarily keen on the fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle. Many of us would like to simply crack on with our careers and start building our lives, and Derby is a fantastic place to do that.

Now, I could argue the business case for the growing city that is Derby – a birthplace of the industrial revolution (as seen by the fantastic Museum of Making that our colleague Richard attested to).

I could point out that Derby is chock full of high-tech businesses including Toyota and Rolls-Royce and a wealth of opportunities in a huge range of different sectors.

I could point out that Derby has been recognised as the best city in the UK for millennials to start a business with excellent transport links, a central location and well-priced and abundant commercial property.

But not all of us are necessarily looking to set up our own enterprises – so what does Derby have to offer for its residents?


Derby view

Small enough to be knowable, large enough to have everything you need

(Photo credit: Marketing Derby https://www.marketingderby.co.uk/resources/)


The Goldilocks City

With a city population of over 250,000 (and the greater metropolitan area somewhere around 700,000), Derby is by no means a small city. But it also isn’t too large to feel unwelcoming as cities like the ‘big four’ can do.

In practical terms this means that you are likely to find every business, hobby or sports group that you could possibly need, without having to feel like an ant in a concrete jungle or packed like sardines into sweaty public transport.

Derby is a very affordable city with relatively low property prices, (in the same way that the temperature of the surface of Venus is lower than that of the sun at least), which should make that the process of saving for a deposit that little bit easier.

So, in simple terms: it’s not too big and not too small.

But what is here that’s worth celebrating?


Plenty to Offer

I’m not going to jettison those precious few shreds of integrity that survived my stumble through higher education by claiming that Derby is the place to be for nightlife.

It isn’t’, but that’s kind of the point – not everyone wants that. Some people want a more relaxed experience in the pub for instance. And Derby has a seriously impressive range of fantastic pubs for people from all walks of life, including several CAMRA Pub of the Year titleholders (My personal favorite is The Seven Stars).

Derby - seven stars

The Seven Stars – If the word ‘Pub’ in the dictionary came with a photograph


More young adults than ever are keen on outdoor pursuits such as hiking, particularly since the pandemic, and Derby is certainly well situated if that’s your thing!

Some parts of the Peak District, famous for its…uh…peaks, are as little as 20 minutes’ drive away with the popular walking routes of Mam Tor and Kinder Scout can be reached in under an hour.

Derby stepping stones

The stepping stones of Dovedale are a 20-minute drive away from Derby


There are also regular bus services to the picturesque towns and villages of Ashbourne, Bakewell and Castleton – making a day out perfectly reasonable on short notice.

For the musically inclined, Derby is well-known for its diversity of independent music venues who regularly host performers from all known and yet to be discovered genres.

And perhaps one of the best but overlooked benefits of Derby is its centrality…

Derby on the map


Close to everywhere

Almost nowhere, at least in England and Wales, is unreasonably far away. Both Brighton and Newcastle (complete opposite ends of the country) are around three hours drive. The same is true for the coastline and castles of North and South Wales. London is around an hour and a half by train with direct services available.

An experience familiar to young professionals regardless of whether they personally went to university or not is seeing all your friends move to towns and cities all over the country. Personally, I have friends that have moved to Cardiff, Newcastle, Cambridge, and London; and all of them are within reasonable travelling distance from me which over the years I have come to appreciate immensely.

If you do want that large city experience, then Derby still has you covered through its proximity to Nottingham!

Putting the rivalry aside, the ease of travelling to and from Nottingham is stellar – with direct and regular coach services between the two cities. It is incredibly easy to decide last minute to go to Nottingham of an evening and then be able to get back to Derby.

Even at 3AM after a beverage or three. Not that I’d personally know that of course.

Derby’s Actually Pretty Alright

Now, as I made reference to at the beginning of this piece, not all of you will necessarily find Derby appealing. And that’s OK.

Everyone wants different things from their lives. Some seek the constant thrill of adventure. Some relish the fast-faced lifestyle that large cities promise.

And some enjoy the process of building their lives, meeting new friends, getting stuck into various hobbies or starting a family – whilst also enjoying a productive career.

Derby is a great place to live for all the reasons I’ve stated here, but don’t forget there are wonderful opportunities here too. Which is why I have chosen, as a young professional, to make it my home.

Interested in a career in the heart of Derby city centre?  See our current vacancies here: https://nielsenmcallister.com/about/careers/
Derby: A great city for young professionals. No, really.


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