Play Hard

Why Darlington should be your go-to shopping destination this Christmas

Free ice skating, free parking and a range of stores with gifts for everyone on your list – need we say more?

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 14.12.2022

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Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve done all your shopping for your loved ones – ‘tis the season of giving, right?

From twinkling Christmas lights lining the streets, a range of independent and designer stores and even free ice skating between 17th – 23rd December on Market Square, Darlington is a shopping destination that really has it all.

Just one hour’s drive from Newcastle, we can guarantee that after just one visit to the market town of Darlington you’ll be coming home with the perfect gifts for everyone on your list.

Not sure about you but doing your Christmas shopping online doesn’t have the same festive feel. That, alongside all the postal strikes at the moment, leaving you worried in case your gifts won’t be delivered in time.


That’s why doing your shopping in Darlington will take that stress away as you can hand-pick unique gifts that you won’t find anywhere else. From department stores including House of Fraser – that Darlington has proudly retained – to two shopping centres (Cornmill and Queen Street) to a whole host of independent stores to explore, you’re really spoilt for choice in Darlington.

Whether you’re after clothing boutiques to shop for the fashionista in your life or looking for arts and crafts for your creative relative.

HLN TOP TIP:  Make sure you park in council-owned town centre car parks as parking is free for two hours


House of Zana, Grange Road

HLN’s long-time friend and sustainable luxury fashion brand House of Zana stocks a collection of carefully handmade pieces with stunning and vibrant fabrics and create bespoke one-off pieces perfect for you or your loved one. We’ve already got our eyes on House of Zana’s new sequin collection for Christmas Day – ‘tis the season to sparkle, right?


Coco Dress Agency, Grange Road

If you’re looking for a special gift for someone who has expensive taste, Coco Dress Agency is well worth a visit. From Gucci to Chanel and Louis Vuitton, Coco’s is home to pre-loved designer and high-end clothing and accessories that still look brand new and are high-quality without a huge price tag.




Leggs, Skinnergate

This independent-clothing boutique has provided a collection of chic and limited-edition men’s and women’s fashion for over 100 years. From stunning sequin dresses to tailored men’s suits and Valentino bags, this designer fashion store’s team personally picks out the latest fashion trends to bring you the newest styles.



Renné Jewellery, Grange Road

Who doesn’t like to receive new jewellery for Christmas? From a luxury range, gifts for him, gifts for her and presents under £100, there’s a piece of beautifully handmade, sustainable jewellery to be discovered at Renné Jewellery that everyone on your list will treasure.





Whimsickal, Post House Wynd

Looking for a unique gift that your loved one will adore? Look no further than Whimsickal. At Whimsickal you can expect the quirkiest gifts that you won’t find anywhere else. We’re talking Heinz beans candles, personalised watercolour paintings of your four-legged friend and festive earrings that would make perfect stocking fillers.



Bliss Gifts, Duke Street

Bliss Gifts is a boutique-style indie gift shop where we can guarantee you’ll find presents for everyone, all under one roof. From stationery to lotions and potions and homeware to jewellery, toys and fashion accessories, you’re really spoilt for choice at Bliss.



Beauty Lounge, Grange Road

If your certain someone needs some TLC, this luxurious high street spa has some great perfect for soon-to-be brides, mums-to-be, or if they’re in need of a little ‘me time’. Plus, you’ll find some fantastic beauty gift sets from Elemis and Jessica Nails, which the friendly team will gladly gift wrap for you.





House of Fraser, High Row

Darlington has proudly retained its department store whereas many other areas have been forced to close their stores. With shelves stacked full of designer goods and make-up counters to explore and a chance to tuck into a spot of lunch at Café Zest to refuel for some more retail therapy, you really can spend all day here.



The Cheese & Wine Shop, Clark’s Yard

The Cheese & Wine Shop sells what it says on the tin serving hard-to-find and local cheeses and everyday, fine wine to Darlington. From the French classics to Romanian examples and artisan cheese for the perfect cheese board, we recommended browsing their bespoke hamper collection.

HLN TOP TIP: If you’re not sure what cheese or wine to purchase, the team are happy to offer a taste test.




Angels Cut, Duke Street

Bringing some of the world’s best wines, spirits and beers to Darlington, Angels Cut is a shop and bar that stocks only the finest range of tipples for festivities this year. Whether you are shopping for a wine lover, searching for the perfect ale, or a wonderful collectable whisky, Angels Cut will help get the party started this Christmas.



The Art Shop, Bondgate

If you’re on the hunt for a gift for the art lover in your life, The Art Shop offer a made to measure shopping experience and will help you find the perfect gift. Whether they are a specialist artist, craft enthusiast or a total beginner, The Art Shop have all the arts and craft materials your loved one needs to get creative.




Refrill, Bondgate

If you’re looking for a unique gift, Refrill is a family-run vintage shop in Darlington selling homewares, clothing and accessories, where you’ll find a range of retro curiosities and gems. Take a step back in time with these gorgeous gifts, perfect for your relatives who love anything quirky and bold that makes a statement in their home.

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