Darlington is a market city. Darlington was founded in Medieval times however, it was developed during the late 19th century, by two wealthy Quaker families The Peases and the Backhouses.
They conceived and supervised projects like that of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (1825) which was the first public railway that employed steam locomotives and also donated monuments such as markets hall and the clock tower that remain the mainstays of the town.
The beautiful South Park in Darlington is also Victorian and was the first park that was planned within the North East of England. There’s plenty to do within the borough at the magnificent Raby Castle, endowed with an impressive art collection and throughout the countryside that is dotted with Iron Age, Roman and Medieval sites.
Let’s take a look at the best activities when you visit Darlington:
1. Raby Castle
Ten miles north of Northwest, Raby Castle needs to be visited if you own an automobile. This is one of the most impressive in the Northeast. Medieval castles built in the “powerful” Neville family during the 14th century.
In the 15th century, early Raby Castle was the birthplace of Cecily Neville, mother of the kings Edward IV and Richard III. The castle is a private residence that belongs to the Vane family but is open to guests on Wednesdays through Sundays during the summer. The interiors take you through time all the way all the way from Medieval up to Victorian.
The Vane family has amassed an impressive collection of artwork that was created by Old Masters like van Dyck, Luca Giordano and Sir Joshua Reynolds. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens with walls with a 200-acre deer park and an impressive collection of carriages pulled by horses in the coach house.
2. Head of Steam
Darlington’s fascinating railway history is explored in this museum situated at North Road station, on the route of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
The museum is a deep dive about the North Eastern Railway (the forerunner to the present East Coast Main Line) and covers the railway manufacturing industry of Darlington and the background about the Stockton Darling Railway. The must-see must be the work of George Stephenson’s Locomotion No.
1 that carried the first train to the line on the 27th of September 1825. This is among four locomotives that are on display, with the most recent dating back to 1919. In addition, there’s a intricate representation that represents the Stockton and Darlington Railway, interactive exhibits, and restored historic architecture in the main entrance hall as well as in the ticket counter.
3. South Park
Darlington is proud of its municipal park that runs along the River Skerne just south of the town’s centre.
South Park was landscaped in 1853. As with several other projects in Darlington at the time funding came from the Quaker family and the Backhouses. When it was completed, South Park was South East England’s first Victorian Park, and has recently received a multimillion-pound Heritage Lottery Fund renovation.
The park is home to an aviary, with birds, a stage that hosts performances throughout the summer long, a lake cafe, play areas that have been updated and an ice park. The formal flower beds have also been expanded by adding new roses, rocks as well as sensory garden. A castle like Park Lodge is a delight near by is a cannon that was used during the Siege of Sebastopol (1854-55) during the Crimean War.
4. Market Hall
Alfred Waterhouse, who designed London’s Natural History Museum and Manchester Town Hall was the designer who designed the Darlington Town Hall, which opened to trade in 1863. Markets are open daily on Sundays and offers a place to purchase vegetables and fruits, flowers, locally raised meat and dairy products, sweets jewelry, vinyl, fabric and hardware.
A number of these stands have been owned by the same family for over 50 years , and there’s a cafe with a warm welcome at the corner. The facility is free of Wi-Fi , and in 2018, it was planned for a renovation to meet the demands of shoppers in the 21st century.
5. Clock Tower
The towering structure is atop the market hall the Neo-Gothic Clock Tower is Darlington’s main landmark. It was built from 1864 Joseph Pease as a gift to the town. It is based on its Italian Gothic with alternating bands made of stone and brick with four turrets as well as an arc-shaped arc ading that is pointed beneath the clock.
The clock’s face was the design of York-based instrument company T. Cooke & Sons and the tower’s initial bells were made at the Foundry owned by John Warner & Sons in Stockton. This also created Big Ben for Elizabeth’s Tower in the Houses of Parliament in London.
6. St Cuthbert’s Church
One of the largest Medieval cathedrals located in the North of England, St Cuthbert’s was established in 1180, and was finished around 1240. If you’d like to have an inside look the church, it’s open all days from 11:00 until 13:00, from Easter through September. It’s not a bad idea There’s lots of historical detail to look at.
The font is made from Frosterley marble. It was designed in 1375 on the foundation of 1200. The oak cover is most tall font in the nation and was first carved in 1662. The nave roof is one of the oldest beams on the roof within County Durham, dating to the 13th century. Likewise, similar to the time is a the contemporary stone representation of Henry III, who visited Darlington in 1260. The misericords inside the choir date back to the 15th century and in one bizarre image, there’s an unidentified bearded man sleeping in his boots!
Also located in the borough, Piercebridge is a village about six miles away from to the River Tees from the centre of Darlington. In addition to being a beautiful area in country County Durham, Piercebridge has fascinating ancient history as the location of the site of a Roman Fort and Bridge.
The remains of the fort that have been excavated from the fort can be found in the village green and accessible to the public. Over the Tees from the south bank, you can look over the remains of the Roman bridge, protected through English Heritage. The watercourse has changed dramatically in Roman days that the river bridge is now just 90 metres away from the river.
8. Darlington Hippodrome
If you’re looking for a bit of light entertainment during the evening go to the lavish Darlington Hippodrome.
This theater was designed for musical performances (similar in vaudeville) and was partially supported by Italian Impresario Rino Pepi, who was a major person in the world of Live entertainment throughout northwestern England. North of England in the era of his time.
The structure, which has the limestone and brick facade as well as a saddle roof reminiscent of Chateau, Chateau it was totally renovated in the years 2016-17. The program at Darlington Hippodrome is varied. Darlington Hippodrome is diverse, performing opera, ballet musicals, plays, live broadcasts of events such as that of the Last Night of the Proms and tribute acts, comedians and pantomimes for Christmas.
9. Tees Cottage Pumping Station
When it first came up and operational in 1849 The Tees Cottage Pumping Station transformed the way water was delivered to Darlington. In a city that at the time depended on rainwater collected from wells, the engines pump pure, plentiful water of the River Tees.
Within and around this magnificent Neo-Gothic hall, you can find beam engine (1904) and a gas engine (1914) in addition to as Lancashire boilers from 1902 as well as a miniature railway and a blacksmith’s workshop. The Tees Cottage Pumping Station is an industrial wonder, however the opening hours aren’t always consistent, so make sure to check their website before you make any plans.
10. Thornton Hall Gardens
As with the Tees Cottage Pumping Station These stunning gardens are only open on certain dates during the summer and spring seasons. You can also call prior to your visit to make arrangements throughout the months of June and July. You’ll understand why you put in the effort once you’ve seen Thornton Hall, a splendid manor house that was built in the 16th century.
The two gardens with walls are maintained within the Elizabethan style. They have unusual perennials, as well as surprising plants and trees in borders of mixed herbaceous plants. The gardens are made up of rick Auriculas, clematis, roses and tulips. They also have a separate kitchen gardens along with the ponds for wildlife and ornamental.