Teesside is well known for its industrial past. But buyers shouldn’t overlook its dramatic countryside, stunning coastline and lively urban centres.
Teesside is wedged between County Durham and North Yorkshire. It traces the curving path of the River Tees, which winds its way westward from the north east coast of England towards the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
At its centre is the large town of Middlesbrough, which was once the focal point of Teesside’s heavy industry. A large dollop of regeneration and the growing credentials of the University of Teesside have helped to revive the area.
Find out more about the neighbouring county of North Yorkshire with our dedicated guide.
Living in Teesside: what to expect
Teesside is encircled by the rugged landscape of the North York Moors National Park, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the North Pennines.
Tees Valley itself is also a picturesque setting for walking, cycling, riding or sailing. And, of course, there is always the coast which is perfect for fossil hunting or catching crabs.
Shops and restaurants spill out of the marinas and docklands across Teesside’s towns. Middlesbrough in particular has a boisterous nightlife as well as an eclectic collection of eateries, many of which serve their own take on chicken ‘parmo’, a breaded chicken cutlet served in a thick cheesy sauce.
Teesside is looking to the future too. A 20-year regeneration plan is boosting Middlesbrough’s image – the docklands have been transformed with waterfront restaurants while Baker Street and Bedford Street are now lined with micropubs and vintage shops. Stockton-on-Tees has also had its riverside and High Street redeveloped.
Where to start your property search
Urban living: Middlesbrough is the obvious choice for an urban home. Most properties are fairly modern due to bombing during the Second World War but you can still find Victorian homes in the Albert Park and Linthorpe conservation areas.
For more homes with character, look to the small town of Yarm. High street boasts independent shops and cosy cottages dating back to the 17th century, as well as period town houses. Prices here are much higher than elsewhere in Teesside.
For new homes, check out the developments in areas like Guisborough. Search the Bellway Development at Stokesley Road for modern three- and four-bedroom homes that have ensuite bathrooms, open-plan kitchen and dining areas and contemporary design. Large French doors also give you easy access to enclosed rear gardens.
Alternatively, consider the development on Enfield Mews, where there are family-friendly detached homes with spacious living areas, and cosy semis with three bedrooms.
New housing developments are also springing up in Newton Aycliffe, which has easy access to the A1(M).
If you’re looking for a stylish and contemporary home, you can also take a look at the Keepmoat development at The Woodlands, which is located off Cobblers Hall Road. A total of 175 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes are being built here, which are designed for both families and first-time buyers. Take your pick from two-storey terraces or more spacious detached homes with internal garages.
Norton has a wide green at its centre and a high street full of 18th century double-fronted homes, some of which are Grade II-listed. Hilton also has a selection of stone houses and cottages. Both villages can be pricey.
For something more modern, look at the relatively new village of Ingleby Barwick, which has spacious detached and semi-detached properties.
Search Wynyard for large five- or six-bedroom properties, which can be found on roads such as Wellington Drive and Park Avenue. If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, opt for a quaint three-bedroom terrace at The Stables.
Coastal living: Find a charming coastal community in the town of Redcar. Take a look at Coast Road to secure that enviable sea view or opt for a less pricey property on Charlotte Street.
For easy access to the coast and period housing, look around Saltburn-by-the-Sea. There are Victorian town houses on Milton Street, large terraces with bay windows on Hilda Place and elegant houses on Albion Terrace.
Hartlepool is also worth a look. The Parade has grand houses with large gardens and long driveways whereas Ellison Street has more modest terraces. To be within touching distance of the sea, take a look at Mainsforth Terrace.
Getting around Teesside
By rail: Trains in the area are run by TransPennine Express and Northern. Central station in Middlesbrough has direct trains to Bishop Auckland, Carlisle, Darlington, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle, Nunthorpe, Saltburn and Whitby.
From Middlesbrough, you can reach Manchester in two hours and 15 minutes and Newcastle in one hour and 20 minutes.
The Metro station in Middlesbrough Quayside also offers local and suburban routes to Redcar, Darlington and Saltburn, as well as Bishop Auckland, Hartlepool, Newcastle, Sunderland and Whitby.
By air: Durham Tees Valley International Airport has 30 airlines flying to 80 destinations. You can also travel from Manchester Airport, which has flights to destinations such as Malaga and Munich as well as more far-flung places such as Beijing.
Things to do in Teesside
History: The Tees Transporter Bridge is a standing testament to the area’s industrial heritage. Come here to admire the towering structure and if you’re brave, do a bungee jump – this is the only bridge in the UK where it is legal to do so.
One of Teesside’s most famous sons was Captain Cook – and the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Middlesbrough is one of the best places to learn about his life. Exhibits include personal possessions and published accounts, as well as collections of artefacts from all over the globe.
Cultural: Middlesbrough’s Institute of Modern Art showcases art and crafts, including fine art and jewellery. It also has work by L.S. Lowry, Tracy Emin and David Hockney.
The cinema at the University of Teesside is a popular place to go and see a film. Its programme includes the latest releases as well as lesser known independent and foreign films.
Forum Theatre in Billingham is a go-to venue for live performances, from circus acts to comedy and tribute bands. Alternatively, drama and dance can be seen at Middlesbrough Theatre.
Festivals: Multicultural living is celebrated at the Middlesbrough Mela, which includes international food and a mix of world music. This two-day festival is free and also has a busy bazaar.
Staithes Festival of Arts & Heritage keeps tabs on local art. In September, more than 100 cottages and public buildings transform into pop-up art galleries.
Outdoors: Teesside has a number of green spaces. In Middlesbrough, Stewart Park has more than 120 acres of historic parkland to explore and Albert Park has its own roller skating rink. At Teesmouth National Nature Reserve, you can spot water birds and seals as they rest on the mudflats.
The North York Moors is the place to go for panoramic views, particularly from the summit of Roseberry Topping. If you go in spring, you can admire the heathland’s famous purple flowers.
Redcar’s beach is perfect for a bucket-and-spade trip and is one of the best places to catch crabs. If it’s fossils you’re after, hunt around Robin Hood’s Bay and Ravenscar instead.
Shopping: Quirky shops are easily found in the old port of Yarm. You can catch a cruise down the River Tees to visit the town and wander the cobbled streets to discover antiques shops and independent boutiques.
For mainstream shops, head for the four shopping centres in Middlesbrough. More exclusive shops can be found on Linthorpe Road, which has a number of designer outlets.
Several markets are held throughout the region. Try Stockon-on-Tees’ outdoor market on High Street for local produce, or opt for one of the speciality markets that are held most weekends.
Food and drink: Celebrate all things porcine at The Curing House in Middlesbrough. Sit down in this family-run restaurant and savour air-dried hams, salami, homemade bread, pickles and chutney. Opt for a themed charcuterie platter if you can’t decide what to have.
Enjoy fine dining and an equally fine view at Brasserie Hudson Quay. Watch over the dock while eating European-inspired (and Michelin-recommended) food – try the thyme-crumbled plaice goujons or the wild boar ravioli.
For something with an ethnic twist, head to The Waiting Room in Eaglescliffe. This restaurant serves both European and Middle Eastern dishes, so there’s something to suit all tastes.
Catch up with friends over afternoon tea at Glady’s Vintage Tea Room in Seaton Carew. For something more substantial, try their smarter version of chicken parmo.
Visit Castlegate Quay in Stockton-on-Tees to see a full-size replica of HMS Endeavour, the ship that took Captain Cook on his journey to circumnavigate the globe.
5 reasons to live in Teesside
Choice of urban, rural and coastal homes
Appealing house prices
Easy access to dramatic countryside
Eclectic mix of bars, pubs and restaurants
Good range of shops
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Have we missed anything out? Let us know what you think makes Teesside a great place to live in the comments below...