There’s so much to do in Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley but did you know there’s also a lot to see a few miles down the road in Darlington? You can easily get there on the bus or train or even drive if you fancy a day out.


Fancy a bite to eat? Babul’s is an award-winning restaurant that pays homage to the vibrant dishes from across the Indian subcontinent. Open all day offering coffee and lunch/brunch options, through to a unique spin on traditional dishes, with added street food and vegan options. If you’re in the mood to keep the night out going, they also have a wide range of cocktails and mocktails to see your tastebuds dancing off into the night.

Harry’s Doughnuts

If you have a sweet tooth, then let me introduce you to Harry’s Doughnuts. Set up during the pandemic as a spin-off from their axe-throwing venues, they can be found in the heart of Darlington. You can get these tasty parcels of joy to eat in or take home and with new flavours released weekly it’s worth a return visit.

Darlington Hippodrome

In my opinion, there is no better way to escape from reality than in the arts. The Hippodrome first opened its doors in 1907 and in 2016 received a £4.5million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund allowing for modernisation work to be completed. The theatre now welcomes touring shows from across the region and has its own annual pantomime featuring big-name stars such as Gareth Gates and Jenny Ryan (The Chase). With a calendar full of programming all year round there’s something for everyone.

Dolphin Centre

For the more active, the Dolphin Centre has a swimming pool complete with diving boards and slides. There’s also a sports hall with clubs and groups meeting up regularly. It has a bowling if you fancy a nice sociable activity along with a café serving food and drinks. And if you have kids their soft play is a hit amongst the locals.


There’s plenty to choose between from your usual high street regulars to your independent offerings. Just make sure you don’t have too many bags for the journey home.

The Darlington Railway Museum is reopening in Spring 2024 and is a celebration of Darlington’s rich railway heritage. For those that don’t know the original Stockton and Darlington railway was the world’s first steam-worked public railway. Even if you’re not a train enthusiast this is a chance to explore one of the region’s more famous legacies.

By Oli Welham.