Middlesbrough is a port on the River Tees at the north edge of North Yorkshire. It's industrial and in 2021 had a population of 143,900.
|“||This remarkable place, the youngest child of England’s enterprise, is an infant, but if an infant, an infant Hercules.||”|
—William Gladstone in 1862 – he was then Chancellor of the Exchequer, and later four times Prime Minister
In 1801 the population of Middlesbrough was just 25, a farm hamlet. But from 1829 the region's coalfields and iron ores were exploited, and a new port was needed to ship them. The port area also developed a metal-bashing industry such as shipbuilding and steel production, with a line of smoke-stack works along the coast as far as Redcar. The town burgeoned, only to languish from the 1950s / 60s as those industries lost out to the foreign competition.
The Tees was the traditional northern boundary of Yorkshire, but in 1974 Middlesbrough and other industrial towns on both sides of the river passed to the new entity of Cleveland. This proved unpopular and was abolished in 1996, and Middlesbrough was re-assigned to North Yorkshire. The change was nominal since the town is a unitary authority, effectively a metropolis, not governed by a County Council.
Teesside International Airport (MME IATA is 12 miles west of town. It has only 2 or 3 flights a day, from Aberdeen and Amsterdam. It lacks public transport, and they slap a £6 "facility fee" on departing passengers.
- 1 Middlesbrough train station (just north of town centre beyond the A66). It has a staffed ticket office and machines, a cafe and toilets. There is step-free access from Zetland St and Bridge St West, but steps from Exchange Place. Lifts and subways connect the platforms. Plusbus is available at this station.
- 2 James Cook Hospital station. A couple of miles south might be convenient for that side of town.
- 3 Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees (four miles southwest). The station to use for Durham University Queens Campus and is within a couple of miles from Stockton town centre.
From Newcastle upon Tyne direct trains hourly take 80 min via Sunderland, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Thornaby, continuing to James Cook Hospital, Marton and Nunthorpe. Some of them start from Hexham, running via Corbridge, Prudhoe and the Metrocentre through Newcastle. Other services require a change in Darlington.
From Bishop Auckland, local trains trundle hourly via Darlington and Thornaby to Middlesbrough and continue to Saltburn-by-the-Sea.
National Express buses call at Middlesbrough on their way north to Sunderland and Newcastle:
- NX 426 runs from London Victoria twice a day, taking 6 hours via Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Leeds.
- NX 133 runs from Birmingham three times a day, taking 5 hours via Sheffield and Leeds.
- NX 172 runs from Manchester twice a day, with the evening service also calling at Leeds.
Megabus similarly call on the way to Sunderland and Newcastle:
- M12 runs twice a day from London Victoria, taking 6 hours via Sheffield Meadowhall and Leeds.
- M36 runs twice a day from Bristol Cabot Circus (with one starting from Cardiff) via Birmingham, Manchester Airport and Shudehill, and Leeds.
Arriva Bus X12 runs hourly from Newcastle via Chester-le-Street to Durham, then every 30 min via Stockton to Middlesbrough.
Go North East Bus X10 runs hourly from Newcastle taking 90 min via Gateshead, Heworth, Peterlee, Billingham and Stockton.
4 Middlesbrough bus station is right in town centre.
From the south follow A1(M) then A19 past Thirsk. From the north follow A19 from Newcastle.
National Cycle Route 1 (Dover to Inverness) approaches northbound through Redcar and follows the Tees riverbank until crossing at Thornaby and continuing past Stockton. N65 from York comes into town on Park Vale Rd and ends here.
Middlesbrough is a busy commercial port but has no ferry service. The nearest ferry ports are Port of Tyne downriver from Newcastle (from IJmuiden near Amsterdam) and Hull (from Rotterdam). Both have a shuttle bus to their main railway station.
You're unlikely to use the train within the city. The Tyne & Wear Metro network doesn't extend south of Sunderland.
For James Cook Birthplace Museum and Ormesby Hall take Bus 28 / 28A to Marton. It runs every 30 min towards Nunthorpe, Stokesley, Guisborough and Lingdale.
Parking gets busy on Saturdays, especially whenever Boro have a home match. The NCP car park below Dundas Mall is large and usually has spaces, but charges are high.
Short stay parking is also available at Captain Cook Square, the Leisure Park and the Cleveland Centre. Long stay parking is available at the Zetland Multi Story, Cannon Park and Captain Cook Square.
- 1 MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), Centre Square TS1 2AZ (within Teesside University), ☏ . Tu-Sa 10:00-16:30, Su 12:00-16:00. Contemporary art in a striking modern building. Free.
- 2 Dorman Museum, Linthorpe Road TS5 6LA, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-16:00. Typical old-style museum founded in 1904, where stuffed animals regard you through reproachful glass eyes. Good selection of artistic pottery and other local history exhibits. Free.
- Albert Park stretches half a mile east from the Dorman Museum to a boating lake. A statue near the museum is of star football player and abrasive manager Brian Clough (1935-2004).
- 3 Tees Transporter Bridge, Ferry Rd TS2 1PL. This strange hybrid was opened in 1911 - the Tees ferry was too slow but a conventional bridge might impede sea-going vessels. So they built a gantry with a gondola, with capacity for 200 people and 9 cars across the river to Stockton. It's survived various accidents, bombings and breakdowns, but became unsafe in 2019 and remains closed, and it's difficult to see the money being found to repair it. You can admire the gaunt structure from either bank.
- 4 Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, Stewart Park, Marton TS7 8AT, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:00-16:00. Museum about explorer James Cook (1728-1779), who was born here, proved unsuitable as a shop assistant, and moved to Whitby where he took up his maritime career. Adult £4.
- Stewart Park is the bosky park surrounding the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.
- 5 Ormesby Hall, Church Lane, Ormesby TS3 0SR, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Apr-Oct daily 10:30-17:00. A mansion completed in 1754 with Palladian exterior, Georgian decor and formal Victorian gardens. It houses a couple of model railway layouts. Adult £6, child £3, NT free.
- What's on? Read Northern Echo or The Gazette.
- Cinema: Cineworld is on the leisure park on Marton Road, east side of town centre. Showcase is west by the A66 / A19 intersection, see Stockton-on-Tees#Do.
- 1 Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Rd TS1 2QJ, ☏ . This hosts concerts and other live performances.
- 2 Middlesbrough Theatre, The Avenue, Linthorpe TS5 6SA, ☏ . This has mainstream rep theatre and live music events.
- Football: 3 Middlesbrough FC, Riverside Stadium TS3 6RS, ☏ . "The Boro" play soccer in the Championship, England's second tier. Their home ground is the 34,000 capacity Riverside Stadium, half a mile east of the railway station, a 10-minute walk. Tickets can be bought at the stadium. In 2022 Riverside was also used for matches in the Rugby League World Cup, postponed from 2021.
- Rugby: Middlesbrough RUFC and Acklam RUFC play rugby union (15 a side) down in the amateur leagues. The town doesn't have a rugby league (13 a side) club.
- Hiking: the town is 15 miles from the North York Moors National Park. The moors are fringed by the Cleveland Way, a 109-mile trail from Helmsley to Filey. Use OS Landranger (1:25000 scale) maps 26 and 27.
- Golf: Middlesbrough GC is five miles south in Nunthorpe. White tees 6333 yards, par 70, visitor round £38.
- Boro Mela celebrates Hindu culture on Albert Park in August.
- Teesside University in 2021 had some 15,500 undergrads and 5800 postgrads. The main campus is in town centre, with a smaller campus in Darlington.
- Middlesbrough College offers A levels and vocational courses, and in 2021 had about 15,000 students. Their campus is north side of town near the Transporter Bridge.
- Northern School of Art offers courses in art and design both at higher and further educational level. Known as Cleveland College Of Art and Design until 2018, their main campus is on Newport St next to Middlesbrough bus station, with two smaller bases in Hartlepool.
Middlesbrough has kept its shopping central, with the main retail malls and streets near the bus station. Stores are typically open M-Sa 09:00-17:30, Su 10:30-16:00.
Captain Cook Square is just east of the station, Cleveland Shopping Centre is the next block east, Hill Street is a block north of that, and Dundas Shopping Centre is another block north next to A66.
- The Parmo is a local delicacy comprised of breaded chicken (or less often pork) topped with cheese and béchamel sauce, plus other toppings on request. It's classic post-pub food in these parts.
- The main drag for cheap eats is along Linthorpe Road, with others round the bus station and Leisure Park.
- Jamals, 92 Corporation Rd TS1 2RB (by Leisure Park), ☏ . Su, Tu-Th 17:30-22:00, F Sa 17:30-23:00. A one-man show so service can be tardy, but excellent Indian cooking.
- Uni at 118 Linthorpe Rd serves Japanese M-Sa 12:00-14:00, 16:00-20:30.
- Hot Wok at 140 Linthorpe Rd serves authentic Szechuan food M Tu 12:00-15:00, 17:00-22:00, Th Su 12:00-22:00.
- Acropolis is a Greek taverna at 141 Linthorpe Rd open daily 12:00-22:00.
- Akbar's at 192 Linthorpe Rd is open Su-Th 17:00-23:00, F Sa 17:00-00:00. Their family-size naans are an impressive sight.
- Manjaro's at 186 Linthorpe Rd reckon to dish up African/Caribbean, but it looks uncannily like fast-food with an extra zizz. Yes, they serve parmos, and open daily 12:00-22:00.
- Fellini's, 325 Linthorpe Rd TS5 6AA (opposite Dorman Museum), ☏ . Tu-F 12:00-13:45, 17:00-21:00, Sa 12:00-21:00. This long-established informal restaurant continues to get good reviews.
- The Resolution, 19 Newport Crescent TS1 5UA (Shopping centre by bus station), ☏ . Su-Th 08:00-00:00, F Sa 08:00-01:00. Reliable JD Wetherspoon in town centre.
- 1 The Swatter's Carr, 228 Linthorpe Rd TS1 3QW, ☏ . Standard slick Wetherspoons. It's named for the farm that once stood here, "swatters" being hay-cutters and "carr" being boggy ground. Su-Th 08:00-00:00, F Sa 08:00-01:00.
- Others in town centre are The Discovery, The Isaac Wilson, The Pig Iron, The Green Tree, The Infant Hercules, O'Connells, The Dovecot, Rafferty's, Twisted Lip, Sherlock's, The Bottled Note and The Devil's Advocate.
- Brewery: Taylor Illingworth make ales on Riverside Park Industrial Estate. No tours.
- Distillery: Steel River Drinks make gin at Lustrum Trade Park two miles north of town. No tours.
- 1 Holiday Inn Express, Cleveland Centre, Albert Rd TS1 2PA, ☏ . Clean helpful place, couldn't be more central. B&B double £130.
- 2 Leonardo Hotel (formerly Jury's Inn), Fry Street TS1 1JH, ☏ . Efficient 132-room hotel in town centre. B&B double £80.
- Premier Inn Middlesbrough Town, Wilson St TS1 1AE (next to Leonardo), ☏ . Good convenient mid-price chain. B&B double £85.
- 3 Premier Travel Middlesbrough Central, Marton Road TS4 3BS (by James Cook Hospital), ☏ . Clean efficient chain south side of town. B&B double £80.
- Premier Inn Teeside might also be convenient, see Stockton-on-Tees#Sleep.
- 4 Baltimore Hotel, 250 Marton Rd TS4 2EZ, ☏ . Basic hotel south side of town.
- OYO Longlands Hotel opposite the Baltimore is cheap for a reason and gets poor reviews.
Town centre is safe enough day and night. Take usual care around traffic and aggressive drunks.
- As of Oct 2022, Middlesbrough has 5G from all UK carriers.
- Saltburn-by-the-Sea 12 miles away is the closest seaside town, but the coast improves as you head further southeast.
- Whitby is famous for crabmeat, Goths and vampires. Beyond it, the North Yorkshire coast south to Scarborough and Bridlington is very scenic, with cliffs and fishing coves.
- Durham is a well-preserved old city, with an impressive Norman cathedral and castle.
- York, a walled city, has many museums and other attractions.
- For big city attractions head north to Newcastle or west to Leeds.
|Routes through Middlesbrough|
|Sunderland ← Stockton-on-Tees ←||N S||→ Yarm → York|