Town with Nicholas Crane


Episode 1 Ludlow



Shoreline perambulator Nicholas Crane ditches his tour-guide brolly and heads inland. In his own four-part series, the Coast co-host explores alternatives for urban living beyond simply packing people in, and finds out why certain towns work and what makes them special.

He starts in Ludlow: small and landlocked, yet packed with treasures. The Shropshire market town boasts more listed buildings than anywhere else its size in Britain, two Michelin-starred restaurants and a picture-postcard castle that was once effectively the capital of Wales.

The librarianish Crane studiously winkles out the quirks of local history and architecture, but occasionally sheds his fogeyish raincoat to immerse himself in the experience. So as well as joyriding in a two-man helicopter and saying, “Ooh!” when sampling spicy fare at the market, he takes up a clipboard for a street survey and dons boxing gloves for a quick bout in a poorer part of town.

It’s lush and good-looking, in that Britain-from-the-air kind of way, but the series’ slightly woolly rationale gives it the feel of a geography field trip. While you’re watching, eat a bag of crisps and scribble illegible notes in pencil for the full effect.


Nicholas Crane investigates an alternative to city life in Britain. Approximately 92 per cent of the population will live in congested metropolitan areas by 2030, and in light of this figure, the geographer sets out to highlight the benefits of living in smaller towns. He begins by visiting Ludlow in Shropshire, which has more listed buildings than anywhere else of comparable size, and two Michelin-starred restaurants. Nicholas discovers how the town came to be packed with treasures, and whether it is as perfect as it first appears.
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