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Darlington is a town in County Durham, with a population of 93,015 in 2021. Locally known as "Darlo", it's best known for its role in the development of the railways in the 19th Century.

Understand[edit]

"Nothing remarkable but dirt" - Daniel Defoe's impression of town in the 18th century

To the Anglo-Saxons this was Dearthington, "the settlement of Deornoth's people", but the Normans shortened it to Derlington. It was a small market town until the dawn of the railway age: on 27 Sept 1825 Stephenson's steam locomotive hauled passengers through town on the inaugural run from Shildon to Stockton. Thus began 200 glorious years of railway cut-backs, as after that ceremonial run the passengers had to make do with horse-drawn coaches, while the steam loco hauled more profitable coal. Darlington then grew into a railway town, with three large works, all of which closed down in the 1960s. The swansong was 60613 Tornado, a 4-6-2 Peppercorn Pacific steam loco built from 1994 to 2008 to 1948 designs, modified to incorporate modern braking, signalling and other essentials for main line working. Darlington continues to have a large engineering sector, mixed with telecoms, other light industry, services and local government.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

1 Teesside International Airport (MME IATA), Tees Valley DL2 1LU, +44 1325 332811. There are two flights a day from Amsterdam by KLM, one daily from Aberdeen by Loganair, and seasonal flights to the Med by Ryanair; and that's all. The resented outbound passenger charge was abolished in 2021. Stagecoach NE Bus 6 runs hourly from Darlington Town Hall, taking an hour to the airport, and continuing to Eaglescliffe, Yarm, Ingleby and Stockton-on-Tees. This quiet airport has ample parking just outside the terminal, a novelty nowadays. Teesside International Airport (Q667216) on Wikidata Teesside International Airport on Wikipedia

There are more far more flights to Newcastle (NCL IATA), Leeds-Bradford (LBA IATA) or Manchester (MAN IATA).

By train[edit]

Trains from London Kings Cross run every 30 min, and take 2 hr 30 min via Peterborough, Newark, Doncaster and York. They continue north to Durham, Newcastle and Edinburgh, with some going on to Aberdeen or Inverness.

They run hourly from Plymouth via Exeter, Birmingham New Street, Sheffield, Leeds and York, continuing to Newcastle and Edinburgh.

They run hourly from Liverpool Lime Street via Manchester Victoria, Leeds and York, continuing to Newcastle.

They run every 30 min from Saltburn-on-Sea, Redcar and Middlesbrough, and continue to Bishop Auckland.

2 Darlington railway station, DL1 4AA. This is in town centre with a ticket office and machines, shops, a cafe and toilets, and car hire. There is step-free access to all platforms. Darlington railway station (Q2286393) on Wikidata Darlington railway station on Wikipedia

3 North Road is a platform halt a mile north of the main station, with trains on the Saltburn-Middlesbrough-Bishop Auckland route. You might use it for the hospital or railway museum.

By bus[edit]

National Express run three times a day from London Victoria, taking 6 hr 30 min via Milton Keynes and Leeds. They continue north to Newcastle, with one going on to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Arriva North East X66 runs every 20 min from Middlesbrough, taking an hour via Stockton-on-Tees.

Bus 1 runs hourly from Tow Law via Crook, Bishop Auckland and Shildon. Bus 7 runs every 20 min from Durham, taking 75 min via Newton Aycliffe. Bus X75 / X76 runs every 30 min from Barnard Castle, taking 40 min.

Buses stop along Tubwell Row in town centre, there isn't a bus station.

By road[edit]

A1(M) towards Newcastle passes town to the west. From the south, turn onto A66 past Scotch Corner then A167 into town. A66 continues east to Stockton and Middlesbrough, and west to Penrith and the Lake District.

Get around[edit]

The Clock Tower

Taxi firms in town include Station Taxis (+44 1325 468888), 1ABC Radio Taxis (+44 1325 355555), Paul's (+44 7828 285656), Neil's (+44 7507 201465), Jaz (+44 7450 282590), Billy's (+44 7931 979788) and United (+44 1325 282855).

See[edit]

  • 1 Clock Tower marks town centre, a miniature Big Ben built in 1864.
  • St Cuthberts is the Anglican parish church, mostly rebuilt in 1864/5. It's east of the market by the river.
  • Art in the Yards is public sculpture here and there across town.
  • Hopetown (formerly Head of Steam), Station Rd DL3 6ST (at North Road Station). Closed. This railway museum is expected to re-open in summer 2024. Darlington Railway Centre and Museum (Q5223996) on Wikidata Head of Steam on Wikipedia
  • 2 St Andrew's is a 12th century church restored in the 15th and extended in 1795. It's in the village of Haughton-le-Skerne.
  • 3 Brick Train is a sculpture by A66 east of town. It's modelled on Mallard, which set the UK rail speed record of 126 miles per hour (203 km/h) in 1938. The sculpture was built in 1997 with 185,000 Accrington bricks; the inside is hollow and a bat-roost. You can view it from the layby on A66 northbound (no crossing from southbound) but there's a better view by pulling into Morton Park and taking the footpath.
  • 4 Thornton Hall Gardens are only open intermittently May-July, usually Wednesdays. Your £10 admission all goes to charity. They're on B6279 Staindrop Rd five miles northwest of town.
  • Ulnaby half a mile west of the gardens is the site of a medieval village, abandoned in the 17th century. Nothing to see beyond some grooves in the fields, then buy some medieval chutney from the farm shop.
  • 5 Piercebridge is an attractive little village at the intersection of A67 with B6275, which runs unusually straight north-south. This was the Roman Dere Street from York to Corbridge, Hadrian's Wall and into Scotland, which here crossed the River Tees. The fort guarding it is just north of the river and the bridge is on the south bank, as the Tees has changed course. Both structures are just low blocks of masonry.
  • Raby Castle: see Bishop Auckland for this grand pile on A688 to Barnard Castle.

Do[edit]

  • What's on? Read The Northern Echo, published daily.
  • Hippodrome (formerly Civic Theatre) is on Parkgate east of the inner ring road.
  • Majestic Theatre is at 78 Bondgate on the north inner ring road.
  • Cinema: Vue is in the central leisure complex by the Premier Inn.
  • Dolphin Centre has a pool, gym and fitness classes. It's on Horse Market just north of the leisure centre.
  • Football: Darlington FC play soccer down in the minor leagues. They're a phoenix club, formed in 2012 when the original town team went bust. Their home ground is Blackwell Meadows south edge of town.
  • Rugby Union: Darlington Mowden Park play the 15-a-side game in National League 1, the RU third tier. Mowden Park is off A66 south edge of town.
Darlington RUFC play in lower leagues at Blackwell Meadows.

Buy[edit]

Brick Train is a bat-roost within
  • The Covered Market beneath the clock tower is open M-Sa 8AM-5PM.
  • Sainsbury's is just south of A167 in town centre, open M-Sa 7AM-10PM, Su 10AM-4PM.
  • Cornmill Shopping Centre is in the two blocks north of the clock tower.

Eat[edit]

  • Skinnergate is the budget eating strip, with two Indian and two Italian restaurants.
  • The Tanners Hall, 63 Skinnergate DH3 7LL, +44 1325 369939. Su-Th 8AM-midnight, F Sa 8AM-1AM. Long established JD Wetherspoon, decent food and ale.
  • The William Stead is another Spoons at 8 Crown St, same hours.
  • Houndgate Townhouse on Houndgate has rooms but is mostly a wine bar and seafood restaurant.
  • Santorini is a Greek restaurant on Crown St north of the shopping centre, open Tu W Sa 9AM-8PM, Th 2:30-8PM, F noon-9PM.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

The railway museum re-opens in summer 2024
  • Mercure Kings Hotel, 19 Northgate DL1 1TL (block north of clock tower), +44 1325 380222. Good Accor chain hotel, clean, central, underground parking (charged). B&B double £80.
  • 1 Premier Inn Town Centre, Leisure Centre DL1 5AD, +44 333 234 6606. Reliable chain hotel, clean and central, parking is a squeeze. B&B double £80.
  • 2 Bannatyne Hotel, Southend Ave DL3 7HZ, +44 1325 365858. Decent rooms, temperature erratic, staff distinctly cold. B&B double £90.
  • 3 Blackwell Grange Hotel, Grange Rd DL3 8QH, +44 330 102 7238. Smart comfy hotel south edge of town with small fitness centre and pool. B&B double £110.
  • 4 Premier Inn Darlington East, Morton Park Way DL1 5PJ, +44 333 777 4637. By the A66 junction so it's convenient for motorists. B&B double £85.
  • 5 Travelodge, Yarm Rd DL1 4WF, +44 871 559 1853. Also near A66, this is clean and comfy beyond its price range. Double (room only) £55.
  • 6 Rockcliffe Hall, Hurworth-on-Tees DL2 2DU, +44 1325 729999. A luxury country hotel 5 miles south of Darlington, with spa and golf course. B&B double £430.
  • 7 Headlam Hall, Headlam DL2 3HA (off B6279), +44 1325 730238. Upscale country hotel in mansion built 1606. With spa, golf and great dining. B&B double £230. Headlam Hall (Q5689664) on Wikidata Headlam Hall on Wikipedia

Connect[edit]

As of Jan 2024, Darlington and its approach highways have 4G from Vodafone, and 5G from EE, O2 and Three.

Go next[edit]

  • Durham is a must-see, with its old centre perched on a peninsula between castle and cathedral.
  • Middlesbrough has several museums, including Captain Cook's birthplace.
  • Barnard Castle has the grand Bowes Collection.
  • Richmond is a charming Georgian market town.


Routes through Darlington
Newcastle upon Tyne Durham  N  S  RichmondLeeds



This city travel guide to Darlington is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.