Darlington is a town in County Durham. Best known for its pioneering role in the development of the railway in the 19th Century.
Teesside International Airport  - located just 5 miles from Darlington with regular bus link to the town. This airport offers domestic flights to/from London City, Southampton, Belfast, Cardiff and Aberdeen, as well as international flights to/from Dublin and Amsterdam.
Newcastle Airport - major airport for North East England located 50 minutes drive north of Darlington. Train access via Metro and national rail from Newcastle to Darlington.
Bank Top Station  - train station with local and mainline services. British Rail connects to Darlington Railway Station from most large towns and cities. There is an office for Europe car Hire cars in the town.
Arriva buses connect Darlington to most local areas.
Darlington is a medium-sized town of around 100,000 people located in County Durham. It is located only a couple of miles from the northern edge of the county of North Yorkshire. Darlington is well known for being the birthplace of the railways and was located halfway along the route of the world's first passenger railway (The Stockton-Darlington railway) which opened in 1825. It therefore isn't known for coal mining like lots of other County Durham towns and is more known for its railway and agricultural heritage. Today it is home to many large businesses and governmental organisations which provide a lot of employment in the town, including:
The town is well connected to the rest of the region and to London via the A1 and the mainline railway. It has a lot to offer for the visitor but is mostly a local town where people live and work rather than being a tourist destination. Having said that, there's a lot of railway heritage to be seen as well as numerous museums and a good selection of nightlife and restaurants. It's a very "authentic" English town without the visible (and often cheesy) effects of tourism as seen in other, more popular destinations such as Durham and York.
Darlington has all of the usual high street suspects such as well known clothing brands such as River Island, Next, Topman etc.
Uno Momento, Imperial Centre, Grange Road,  - Reasonably priced Italian style dishes such as pasta and pizza as well as the local favourite, the chicken parmo. Uno Momento is a local favourite and can now be found in several towns nearby including Middlesbrough, Durham and Northallerton. Happy hour runs Monday to Thursday all day and Friday to Sunday before 18:30. During happy hour it is possible to pick up a starter and a main for as little as £7.95 (or around £12 for two courses if you want a bigger main such as chicken). Can be a little rowdy on a Friday or Saturday evening.
Cafe Spice, 19 Clarks Yard  - Local award winning Indian restaurant known for excellent food and excellent service. Slightly pricier than most Indian restaurants in town but it can be expected for the extremely high quality of food and service as mentioned above. Famous customers have included Top Gear's James May and former Chancellor Sajid Javid.
Tomahawk Steak House, Feethams  - Delicious steaks with equally delicious sides
Stable Hearth Pizzeria, Duke Street, Darlington - award winning Pizzeria (best pizzeria in England award). Fairly pricey for pizza but excellent quality that you simply won't find elsewhere in the region. Check out trip advisor for high reviews.
Soho Restaurant, 156 Northgate,  - Chinese buffet restaurant with many different dishes to choose from. Open 7 days a week from 12 noon to 11pm, prices range from £4.90 to £7.90 per person depending when you go. Also does takeaways.
Pizza Express, 1 Skinnergate,  - National chain restaurant serving Italian style food such as pizzas and pasta dishes. Decent wine selection.
Garden of India, 43-44 Bondgate,  - featured in the Wining and Dining Guide, serves it's own lager, Kayani.
Hole in the Wall, access on the Market Square, - Good pub food well known for its pies and its sharing platters. Excellent Trip Advisor reviews. Reasonably priced.
Darlington Indoor Market, large indoor market with several eating establishments inside offering hot, reasonably priced food to take away.
The pubs and bars here focus on the town centre but there are of course good pubs around the suburbs and residential areas of the town.
Pints of beer range from £1.50 in "locals" pubs to £5 in swankier bars in the Grange Road area. Typically you'll pay between £2.20 to £3.50 if you want a pint in an enjoyable atmosphere. For "real ales" visit Number 22, Hole in the Wall or The Quakerhouse where you can enjoy a wide selection in a civilised atmosphere. For everything else (including more info on the above) read below.
The main cluster of pubs and bars is located around the intersection of Grange Road and Skinnergate. This is where the evening nightlife is most lively, but you will find bars worth visiting (and avoiding) all over the town.
Except for the two Wetherspoons pubs listed below, most "budget" bars in Darlington tend to be old-fashioned pubs catering to an older, local clientele. They can be a bit shabby around the edges but you're generally not going to notice. There have been reports of some people being abused for speaking languages other than English in some of these so called "locals" pubs but you would be extremely unlucky to experience anything untoward.
Except for one or two luxury hotels, most accommodation in Darlington is of a similar, good standard and of a similar price to one another. You can expect to pay around £35 to £90 per night depending on time of year and whether big events are scheduled. There are no hostels in Darlington.
Darlington is a safe town (an extremely safe town by global standards) but as is the case with anywhere, a few points must be made to ensure that people have a safe and enjoyable visit.
Context: Darlington is a disparate town with staggering variances in wealth located over short distances. Extremely wealthy neighbourhoods are located a stone's throw from some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country. It's not uncommon for communities of large, 6-bed mansions with a swimming pool and tennis court to be located 2 minutes drive from semi-abandoned streets with boarded up houses and bedsits where lots of the residents have drug dependencies. The large variance in wealth inevitably leads to some crime but it isn't really any worse than a typical English city such as Leeds or Manchester, and considerably less than in London. It's also important to note that it normally affects other local people in a similar situation to the culprit. The town centre is especially safe as are the Western and North Eastern (Haughton and Whinfield) suburbs. Some of the residential areas off North Road can feel a little unsafe but in reality it's just that they are quite poor areas and in reality you'd be very unlucky to experience crime both day and night. Muggings do not happen in this town and so the main thing to watch out for are pickpockets in the town centre. The main concern in Darlington are drunk revellers on a Friday or Saturday night in the town centre. Most are happy and approachable but some can be confrontational. Leave them alone and they'll leave you alone. Violent crime is otherwise extremely rare in Darlington. Knife crime is extremely rare (making local news) and gun-crime is non-existent.
Taxis are safe in Darlington (as in the rest of the UK). You will not be scammed in a licenced taxi in Darlington or across the UK.
Darlington is well located for access to a multitude of attractions, depending on your interest. The town is 30 minutes drive from two beautiful national parks (The North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales) both known for their stunning scenery, gentle valleys and opportunities for hiking and outdoor pursuits. Darlington is also located near to the vibrant city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne easily accessible by train in only 35 minutes from Darlington's Bank Top station. England's highest waterfall (High Force waterfall) is located around 40 minutes to the west of Darlington and is worth a visit and a walk. You can visit nearby Northallerton and visit Betty's Tea Rooms or visit a plethora of historic castles and sites nearby including Raby Castle, Richmond Castle and Fountains Abbey.