Need inspiration? What to see
For train enthusiasts, Head of Steam (formerly Darlington Railway Museum) is a must visit. You’ll be able to get up close to Stephenson’s ‘Locomotion No.1’, the oldest engine of its kind of the world, situated in the birthplace of passenger railways. Just stepping into the museum takes you back to the Victorian age with its lovingly restored entrance hall and ticket office.
If you enjoy great scenery, we’d recommend a visit to the spectacular Thornton Hall Gardens, a Grade I-listed building from the 1550s. The broad collection of plants is well worth your time, but plan ahead as booking days are limited.
In the evening, why got to the theatre and enjoy Darlington’s buzzing cultural scene? The Hippodrome usually has a big show to watch and its beautiful Edwardian architecture is worth the price of admission alone.
Darlington is known for its bridges but one of its secret gems is George Stephenson’s tunnel in Arnold Road. Built in 1824, its original purpose was to let cows pass under the railway line. Nowadays it’s humans who walk through the tunnel which still supports a major road. Discover for yourself the ingenuity of one of our greatest inventors.
Calling all petrolheads
If you fancy some high speed action then Croft Circuit, just to the south of Darlington, can provide a day of thrills and spills with races all year round. Situated on an old airfield, the two-mile long circuit sees many events including meetings of the British Touring Car Championship, British Rallycross and Pickup Truck Racing series.
There’s no shortage of great shopping in Darlington town centre. In fact, there are over 500 stores. This includes a number of independent retailers selling fresh, local food. There are also excellent clothing shops where you’ll find something a bit different from the usual high street chain. We’d recommend a trip to the Victorian covered market where Saturdays and Mondays are always bustling. Head for the Cornmill shopping centre for big brand names.