What I thought about Derby on my first visit to the city

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'I felt an emptiness - but I shall return'

Before this weekend I had never been to Derby. I lived 'down south' for the first 22 years of my life before making the move to Chesterfield - which is lovely.

I had been told many a good thing about Derby but, in truth, my knowledge stretches to hazy memories of a poor Robbie Savage running around kicking balls, though more often kicking shins, in that doomed 2007/08 Premier League campaign.

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Regardless I had big plans for my first outing - the Cathedral was to be conquered and I would indulge myself in pastries galore.

And it was nice. But it was also just like a bigger version of Basingstoke. And as anyone will tell you - visitors rarely return to Basingstoke.

I travelled by train and made the short walk to the city centre. First impressions were good - lots of very modern brickwork to the buildings - but everything seemed to lack personality. It was quiet, even for a Sunday, but a lot of it felt forgotten about.

Don't get me wrong, I had a relatively nice time but the city centre itself could effectively be dropped in any other location across the country. Cathedral aside there was no distinguishing feature that shouts "this is Derby".

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The Derbion was mammoth. And Doughnotts was an absolutely delightful offering - more on that in a separate review.

Coffee, too, from Bear proved to hit the spot. I had a black Americano, mainly because milk makes my tummy produce all sorts of noises, but it was a strong start to the afternoon.

Look, I didn't dislike Derby but there is something missing. I'm not sure what it is except as I left for the train station I felt an emptiness about the day - I didn't feel as though Derby had slapped me around the face and made me want to return.

But return I shall - and hope that Derby woos me in the way I was told it would.

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