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The Local Area Guide to living in Darlington

The quaint town of Darlington is best known for its bustling market square. The square is home to one of Darlington’s most famous landmarks, the magnificent Market Square Clock Tower, which was built in 1864. However, there is also an impressive market hall, which has been open every day of the week apart from Sunday since 1863. Darlington is recognised across the world for being the place where the first ever passenger train journey was taken in 1825 and had three locomotive works. This is celebrated by a huge sculpture, entitled ‘Train’, which can be found along the A66. Created using 185,000 bricks, it represents a full-size locomotive steaming out of a tunnel.

Although the locomotive works have now been closed, Darlington remains a thriving town. There are over 500 shops in the town centre, over half of which are independent or family owned. The town has a huge amount to offer in terms of culture such as a brand new arts centre, a comedy club, a railway museum, plenty of pubs and restaurants and a beautiful 91-acre park.

Information about the local residents

According to the 2011 National Census, Darlington has 106,000 residents, making it one of the largest towns in the area. It is a relatively young town, with an average age of 40, making it popular for families with children.

Although the railway industry has declined, the town has retained strong employment links, with major companies coming to the area such as EE, who have hired 2,500 people, and the Student Loans Company, who employed around 1,000 staff. Other important employers in the area are vehicle hire company Northgate and Bannatyne Fitness Ltd.

Sources: 2011 National Census

Nearby schools

Darlington is a big town and as such has a large selection of excellent schools. Schools in the area classed as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted include Hurworth School and Carmel College, whilst Hummersknott Academy was classed as ‘Good’ and Darlington School of Maths and Sciences requires improvement.

There are also plenty of primary schools including St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Primary School and Reid Street Primary School, both of which have been classed as ‘Outstanding’ in their most recent inspections.

Getting around

As you would expect from the town that witnessed the first ever passenger train trip, Darlington has superb rail links. It is an important interchange for services running to and from Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester Piccadilly, Edinburgh and London Kings Cross because of where it lies on the East Coast Main Line. It is also a stop on the Tees Valley Line, which connects to smaller towns such as Middlesbrough, Saltburn and Bishop Auckland.

Darlington is easily reached by road and has good links to the A1(M) which is the major north to south trunk road. It is also close to the A66 which connects it to the A19 and Stockton. Arriva run a good bus service within the town.

Local shops

Although the popular markets are the main shopping venues in the town, there is a large variety of shops to choose from throughout Darlington. The popular Cornmill Shopping Centre has lots of well-known high street names such as House of Fraser (trading as Binns), Next, Waterstones and Primark. There are also many independent shops and boutiques, providing you with everything from fashion to books and art supplies. There are the usual supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, as well as numerous independent greengrocers, delis and butchers.

There are plentiful cultural activities in Darlington. The brand new Forum Music Centre has plenty of live music and comedy to keep residents entertained. There is also the Head of Steam Railway Museum, celebrating the town’s locomotive history, and a theatre with an extensive programme for both adults and children.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith.