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6 things to do in Darlington

From a relaxing spa break in the countryside to getting some retail therapy by boutique shopping, Darlington is the latest go-to place on a weekend. Here’s why...

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 04.03.2023


Think you know Darlington? There’s a lot more to this historic market town than meets the eye.

In fact, you’ll be spoilt for choice with incredible independents, luxury hotels, relaxation spots and so much more.

If you’ve visited Darlington recently, you’ll notice there is a real buzz with new shops, restaurants and bars popping up on every corner. So, it’s no wonder that Darlington is becoming a real go-to shopping spot in our region.

Whether you fancy a day out shopping ‘til you drop in boutiques or fancy kickback and relaxing with a spa break in the countryside, we’ve rounded up some of the top things to do in Darlington.

HLN TOP TIP: Take advantage of two hours of free car parking in most council-owned car parks



Have some ‘me’ time at Rejoy.

After a long week at work, there’s nothing we need more than a relaxing weekend.  In the heart of Cockerton village, Rejoy, Darlington, is a multi-award-winning, advanced beauty, laser and skin clinic that offers the most luxurious specialist facials and massages. Make sure to check out their new HydraFacial® – the only place in Darlington to offer this incredible treatment which promises to protect, detoxify and rejuvenate.


Stay at the exclusive Rockliffe Hall

Get a taste of luxury at Rockliffe Hall. This five-star spa hotel has individually styled bedrooms, self-catering apartments and a luxury holiday home to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Set within a beautiful 365-acre estate, Rockliffe Hall boasts one of the largest spas in the country, an 18-hole championship golf course and award-winning food.



Wine and dine at Babul’s, Darlington

Coffee, cocktails and curry, what more could we need on a weekend? This award-winning Instagrammable restaurant brings the authentic taste of India and Bangladesh to Darlington through a menu filled with vibrant dishes and traditional South Asian coffee. Plus, there’s an extensive bespoke cocktail menu to work your way through too. 


Treat yourself at Robineau Café & Patisserie

Famous in Darlington for serving some incredible tasting treats, at Robinineau’s bakery you will find an array of patisserie, handmade chocolates, celebration cakes, freshly baked artisan bread, a wide range of deli items and freshly prepared ready meals. Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer things more savoury, we guarantee there’s a perfect treat for you inside this award-winning French patisserie.



Get some retail therapy in Darlington town centre

Darlington has proudly retained its department store, House of Fraser, with shelves stacked full of designer goods and make-up counters to explore alongside high-street stores like River Island, Ted Baker and Flannels. But what makes Darlington town centre unique is its range of independents, from Betty’s Boudoir and House of Zana bringing the latest fashion trends to sustainable children’s wear in The Stork & Thereafter or carefully crafted jewellery from mother and daughter duo designers Renné Jewellery. You’re spoilt for choice in Darlington.



Unleash your competitive side at DC Bowl

Inside The Dolphin Centre, Darlington, you’ll find a brand new boutique bowling alley that takes bowling to a strike above the rest. Unlike other automatic scoring systems, DC Bowl is an entertainment system, delivering more fun, more ways to socialise and more competitive excitement. Why not pop into the Bistro for a juicy signature burger after you bowl?



Darlington Borough Council has a jam-packed calendar of free events on Market Square planned this year. Here are a few highlights happening over the next few months.

Coronation Day Celebrations

When: Saturday 6th May (9am – 8pm)

Celebrate King Charles’ Coronation Day with a live stream of the coronation itself, there will also be music, food stalls and live entertainment throughout the day.


Darlington Food & Drink Festival

When: Friday 28th April – Monday 1st May (5pm)

Sample new foods, tantalise your tastebuds and socialise with friends at a festival full of the finest local food and drink stalls to browse. As well as delicious street food, there’ll be live demos and performances by local bands and a variety of workshops, face painting and entertainers for kids, too.


Darlington Arts Festival

When: Friday 19th – Sunday 21st May (10am – 4pm) 

Embrace your creative side with a trip to the Darlington Arts Festival. Showcasing what Darlington’s creative community has to offer, pop down to browse the stalls, drop by the community hub or learn something new in one of the creative workshops.


Darlington Pride Weekender

When: Saturday 12th August (12pm – 6pm)

This is an all-inclusive event celebrating the LGBTQI+ community. There will be a jam-packed schedule of fun events, including live music, speeches, dance performances, children’s activities, street theatre and much more.


For more information about Darlington, visit Darlington Borough Council’s website and

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