Dudley

This popular ‘capital’ of the Black Country, attracts families and working professionals looking for an affordable place to call home. So what’s it really like to live in Dudley?

 

“Situated a comfortable ten miles away from Birmingham city centre, inhabitants of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley enjoy a lifestyle that’s relatively quiet”

Moving to Dudley

Described by American consul Elihu Burritt as ‘black by day and red by night’ in 1868 due to its incessant industrial smoke and glowing furnaces, the Black Country is an icon in British history, having even inspired the works of JRR Tolkien. The region is made up of a collection of West Midlands areas with the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley as its renowned ‘capital,’ and while the factories have long gone quiet, this industrial history can be seen throughout the area – not least in the Black Country Living Museum.

Situated a comfortable ten miles away from Birmingham city centre, inhabitants of the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley enjoy a lifestyle that’s relatively quiet, yet far from dull. Dudley is rich in cultural and historical attractions which combine the delicate charm of the past with the energy of the modern day, as well as a vast retail park, good schools and award-winning green spaces. Whilst many commute out into the busy city centre of Birmingham, the borough is relatively self-sufficient with most choosing to work in Dudley itself.

House prices in Dudley

For young adults looking to get their feet on the property ladder, house prices in Dudley are promising. In 2015, terraced properties sold for an average price of £115,154, while detached properties fetched £220,854. Flats and apartments are widely available in each town, as well as decent semi-detached and detached accommodation a few miles out of the bustling centres – all are great choices for working professionals or families. Alternatively, for those who wish to escape urban centres there are a number of desirable and well-priced homes available in the countryside.

“For young adults looking to get their feet on the property ladder, house prices in Dudley are promising”

Transport

Transport in the Dudley Borough is reasonably good, with buses running from each town into Birmingham every seven minutes on average. Stourbridge can also be reached by narrowboat and has two train stations that connect with Birmingham and London. Alternatively, main roads link each town to its neighbouring districts and there are plenty of cycle networks for those who prefer to travel on two wheels.

Lifestyle

Dudley’s dining scene isn’t particularly exciting, with many residents choosing to travel into Birmingham for a more eclectic restaurant and bar scene. However, that’s not to say that Dudley is devoid of good dining – a mix of cuisines can be found here, with renowned local spots including Th Fellows, The Old Glasshouse and Spices, while chain restaurants such as Chiquito, Bella Italia and Pizza Express continue to be popular among locals.

While all the urban centres in Dudley offer their own small shopping facilities,such as the Cornrow Shopping Centre in Halesowen and the busy Stourbridge High Street, its the vast Intu Merry Hill Shopping Centre that draws the most visitors. Located in Brierly Hill, just outside Dudley, this immense retail park is home to over 250 shops as well as restaurants, a cinema, and 10,000 car parking spaces. Anchor stores include Marks and Spencer, Primark and Asda, while everything from luxury fashions to homewares can also be found.

Groceries

Many major supermarkets can be found throughout Dudley, including a Tesco Superstore in Stourbridge, a large Asda in Halesowen and branches of Iceland and Farmfoods in Dudley Town. Alternatively, delis such as The French Delicatessen in Stourbridge and Mrs B’s Delicatessen in Dudley offer freshly-prepared, healthy foods with both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

Health & Sport

Dudley may be the largest town in England to have never had a league football club, but that’s not so say that exercise facilities in the area are limited – a selection of gyms and council-run leisure centres can be found across the borough, including a PureGym in Dudley, the Crystal Leisure Centre in Stourbridge and Halesowen Leisure Centre in Halesowen.

Culture

There are plenty of historic sites to be found in Dudley for curious residents, including Himley Hall, the majestic Dudley Castle with zoological gardens, the Dudley Canal and the award-winning Black Country Living Museum, which attract older adults and young children alike. Alternatively, the neighbouring town of Halesowen is centred around a beautiful Norman church with excellent access to the countryside. Picturesque natural sites such as Clent Hills and the Grade I listed Leasowes Park are also located here, while cinephiles will enjoy Merry Hill’s large Odeon cinema.

“Dudley shines through as the best borough in the Black Country for educational achievement among younger children, with St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School receiving an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report last year”

Schools and Education

The Metropolitan Borough of Dudley has a number of good educational establishments, a big draw to the area for families. One of the highest-achieving schools in the county, the state-funded boarding school Old Swinford Hospital School in Stourbridge, boasted 94 per cent of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at A* to C in 2010. Windsor High School in Halesowen is another leading choice, with 69 per cent of pupils gaining these grades in 2015. Dudley also shines through as the best borough in the Black Country for educational achievement among younger children, with St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School receiving an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report last year.

Safety

Dudley is considered to be a safe area with low crime rates compared to the national average, although crime rates do vary across the borough with Kidderminster and Stourport-on-Severn considered to be among the least safe areas statistically, and Dudley and Stourbridge among the most safe.

Green Space

The Metropolitan Borough of Dudley has a number of open, green spaces, many of which offer exercise facilities, playgrounds and cafés alongside vast expanses of greenery. A number have even won prestigious Green Flag Awards, including Huntingtree Park, Abbey Road Allotments and Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge – the latter of which recently recieved a £3.1 million  Heritage Lottery Fund investment to create a new visitor cafe, restore the bandstand and war memorial and make significant improvements to the pool.

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