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Darlington is a town in County Durham. Best known for its pioneering role in the development of the railway in the 19th Century.

Get in[edit]

Teesside International Airport [3] - 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 [4] - 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:

  • EE
  • The Student Loans Company
  • Amazon
  • The Department for Education
  • Cummins
  • Northgate Vehicle Hire
  • Bannatyne's Group

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.

See[edit][add listing]

  • The Darlington Railway Centre and Museum exhibits some of the earliest steam locomotives including Locomotion No.1 (the first steam engine to pull passengers) to be found any where in the world.
  • "Art in the Yards" - large scale art works in an open air setting.
  • Ulnaby - buried medieval village, half mile walk from town.
  • The Brick Train - a huge brick train sculpture to recognise the town's railway heritage. Accessed behind Morton Park retail park. Also visible from the A66 ringroad.
  • South Park - a large, Victorian city park. Mature trees, boating lake, river and playing fields as well as bowling green and mini golf.
  • Darlington Indoor Market - a large indoor market of Victorian origin, located just off the main square.
  • St Cuthbert's Church - a large, prominent Norman church dating to the early 1200s located in the town centre off the market square.
  • Skerne Bridge - the world's oldest railway bridge still in use, dating back to 1825. Featured on the old £5 notes.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Darlington Hippodrome, [5] - take in a show or concert at Darlington's biggest theatre.
  • Rugby, take in a rugby union game at one of Darlington's two major teams. Darlington Mowden Park play in the 3rd tier of English rugby and occupy a 25,000 seater stadium on the South East edge of the town. Admittance £10.
  • Walk, walk around one Darlington's many parks. Notably do check out South Park.
  • Shop
  • Eat and drink, wide range of bars, restaurants and cafes.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Darlington has all of the usual high street suspects such as well known clothing brands such as River Island, Next, Topman etc.

  • Cornmill Shopping Centre - [6] A small shopping centre in the centre of the town. Here you will find several clothes shops as well as electronics shops and a couple of places to eat.
  • Next, Northgate. Well known fashion retailer.
  • Binns (House of Fraser), High Row, Darlington. Department Store located over four floors selling well known, luxury brands.
  • Waterstones, Prebend Row. Book shop with a cafe upstairs.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Uno Momento, Imperial Centre, Grange Road, [7] - 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 [8] - 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 [9] - 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, [10] - 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, [11] - National chain restaurant serving Italian style food such as pizzas and pasta dishes. Decent wine selection.

Garden of India, 43-44 Bondgate, [12] - 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.

Drink[edit][add listing]

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.

  • The William Stead, Crown Street. This is a Wetherspoons pub spread over two floors located in Darlington's shopping district around 5 minutes walk from the main cluster of bars. As is typical with a Wetherspoons pub you can pick up a pint of ale from as little at £1.50 here with a pint of Guinness costing around £2.50. There's usually drink offers on offer too. Lots of people meet here for some civilised and cheap pre-drinks prior to heading to the main cluster for a night out on Blackwellgate/Houndgate. Table service on offer via the Wetherspoons app.
  • Tanners Hall, Skinnergate. This is another Wetherspoons pub located on Skinnergate (closer to the main cluster of bars). It can feel a little dark and dingy in this particular Wetherspoons bar but it's safe, cheap and you know what you're getting. Table service on offer via the Wetherspoons app.
  • The Quays, Tubwell Row, Darlington. Cheap beer with local clientele.
  • Boot and Shoe, Church Row (market sq). Lively and usually full of locals. One of the few bars you'll find where you can party at lunchtime on a Monday.
  • Hoskins, Houndgate. Located at the very centre of the town's nightlife area, Hoskins is a lively bar on a Friday and Saturday night with loud, cheesy music and cheap drink offers (though pints of beer can be expensive, so stick to their plethora of drinks offers). The clientele here can be quite rough and you'll often find groups of 18 year old soldiers in training from nearby Catterick Garrison. However, if you can see past that, you'll have a good time. No cover charge.
  • The Joseph Pease, Tubwell Row. Loud music common on a weekend. Locals.

Mid-range -

  • Voodoo Bar, Skinnergate (at the "happening" end of Skinnergate near the intersection with Grange Road). Very popular bar with a Latin theme. Voted best Latin bar outside of London. Excellent array of cocktails and rums as well as beers, wines and spirits. Average prices for beer at around £3 to £4. Cocktails will cost around £7 here. Salsa and Tango dancing on Tuesday and Thursday nights.
  • Hash, Coniscliffe Road. Busy on a Friday and Saturday night. Mostly a younger crowd but all ages can be found and are welcome. Pints around £4 here. Groups of same-sex people on a Friday night or Saturday night might struggle to gain entry, especially if dressed in sportswear. There is also a popular terrace bar here with heating available in winter.
  • Number 22 bar, Coniscliffe Road. Just a few doors from Hash. This is an excellent bar for real ales (with tasting on offer) and a place to have a chat and a debate. A lot of the people in here are generally active and retired public sector workers such as teachers, civil servants and police. There is no music here and if you come in winter you will be blessed with the bonus of a crackling fireplace. Atmospheric. No chance of groups of young men on a Friday and Saturday night. Beers slightly above average at around £4 per pint.
  • Dr Inks, Conisliffe Road. Opposite Hash. This bar is spread over 3 floors with an additional seating area outside. This bar caters to people wanting to spend a little more but you can find drinks offers quite often. You won't find groups of young men causing trouble in here but you'll pay for the privilege. Around £4.50 for a pint and big city prices for a glass of wine. Nice atmosphere but finding a seat can be difficult at popular times.
  • Macy Brown's, Grance Road. This is a cocktail bar which has offers Mon-Thursday. It is located in a semi-basement with steps leading down from Grange Road. The bar normally has a DJ on a Friday/Saturday night and serves all types of drinks from beers, to alcopops to wine, but it is most known for its cocktails. A cocktail here will cost around £7 but you can buy one, get one free offers Mon-Thu. Beers around £3.75 on tap for a pint. Wide range of ages on a night out with average ages probably around mid-20s to mid-30s. All ages can be seen however.
  • The Quakerhouse, Clarks Yard. Located on one Darlington's "yards" (the narrow alleyways connecting the two main shopping streets). The Quakerhouse is known for its live music scene and for its real ales. The clientele are a bit older here and one might say a little more "alternative". Very friendly pub. Tastings on offer. Pints around £2.80 to £4.20 on average.
  • Hole in the Wall, Market Square. Located about 3 minutes walk from the main cluster. Known for its live music, quizzes, real ales and its pies.
  • Number One Bar, corner of Skinnergate and Conniscliffe Road. Large venue in an old bank. Quite pricey for what you get which is normally European lagers or Gin and Tonics. Average sized dancefloor with a DJ on weekends.

Splurge -

  • Juniper Tree, Grange Road. Cocktails, wines and beers. Well to do clientele for Darlington. Beers could cost up to £5 per pint.
  • Wandering Duck, Grange Road.
  • Vesuvio Wine Bar, Houndgate. Wine and gin bar. Small, cozy venue.

Late bars/clubs

  • The Grange, Grange Road. Free entry but pricey drinks. Usually open until around 02:00 to 03:00 on a weekend. Large outdoor area as well as an upstairs "dance" room. Different music downstairs. Most nights end up in The Grange as Darlington's nightclubs have now closed down.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

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.

  • Blackwell Grange Hotel, Darlington, County Durham, DL3 8QH, [1]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. From £45.  edit
  • Bannatyne Hotel, "Darlington,, [2]. From £50.  edit
  • Headlam Hall Hotel, Headlam, near Gainford, Darlington, DL2 3HA. "", a country hotel 7 miles from Darlington (about 20 min drive) with spa and golf facilities. Rooms from £90.
  • Mercure Darlington Kings Hotel, 9 - 12 Priestgate, DL1 1NW DARLINGTON "", The hotel is located at the centre of the historic market town, with good access to the A1 train st. and airport. Originally built in the 1600s as a Coaching Inn, the hotel received a large scale refurbishment in 2012 and now offers a nice blend of original features and contemporary design.


  • Rockcliffe Hall, Hurworth-on-Tees, Darlington, DL2 2DU. "", a luxury 5* country hotel 5 miles from Darlington (15 min drive), with spa and golf facilities. Contact hotel for room rates (expect £200+ per night).


Stay Safe[edit]

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.

Get out[edit]

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.

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