Get ready to visit Darlington's newest visitor attraction! Opening in Summer 2024, Hopetown Darlington includes a railway museum, exhibitions, festivals, events, café and shop, a railway-themed outdoor adventure playpark, a state-of-the-art immersive time travel experience and the chance to view live engineering in action.
A Brief History
Hopetown Darlington is a brand-new rail heritage visitor attraction located on the original route of the Stockton & Darlington Railway. With its reference to the historic Hope Town Foundry and Hopetown Carriage Works, the attraction’s name celebrates the rich rail heritage of Darlington’s Northgate area. The site encompasses both purpose-built and heritage buildings – including the former Head of Steam Museum – into a major family attraction. The site measures approximately 323,000 square feet.
Hidden Gems and Interesting Facts
The Grade I listed Skerne Bridge, part of the original Stockton & Darlington Railway, holds the distinction of being the oldest railway bridge in the world still in continuous operation.
The Grade II star Goods Shed, believed to be the second oldest goods shed in the country, is a rare survivor of early railway engineering and will be the home of Hopetown Darlington’s new shop and café.
North Road Station Museum, formerly the Head of Steam – Darlington Railway Museum, was originally opened by the late Prince Philip in 1975. The Grade II star listed building was constructed in 1842 and still remains an active railway station to this day.
The UK’s newest steam locomotive Tornado was built by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in the Grade II Carriage Works building. The Carriage Works now forms part of Hopetown Darlington.
What We Offer Our Visitors:
Visitors will be drawn to Hopetown Darlington by our new exciting immersive experiences and captivating family-friendly activities. Anchored by the railway museum dedicated to 200 years of Darlington’s Railway Heritage, Hopetown Darlington will offer something for everyone including an outdoor railway-themed adventure playground, a learning and archive community centre and the opportunity to watch live engineering take place on the UK’s newest steam locomotive Prince of Wales.
Why Choose Us for Your Next Day Out in Yorkshire:
There’s a lot to do for everyone at Hopetown Darlington. We are unique in the way that we have expanded beyond a railway museum and visitors can now expect a huge variety of things to see and do. Hopetown Darlington is the place to play, explore, make lasting memories and learn about local railway heritage and the enormous part Darlington played in the birth of the railways.
Activities, Tours, Exhibits & Events:
- June 2024 - September 2024 – Brick Journeys, a LEGO® brick transport exhibition taking you on a journey across road, air, sea, space and of course - rail.
- 2025 is the bi-centenary celebrations of the Stockton & Darlington Railway. More information on the festival can be found here.
- September 2024 - Vintage Vehicle Rally.
- Permanent exhibition on Darlington’s railway heritage.
- Experiment! the railway-themed time travel immersive experience.
Normal operating hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-5pm
School Holidays: Monday to Sunday, 10am-5pm
Last entry: 4pm
Open bank holiday Mondays.
Closed 25th and 26th December.
- March/April – Visit Hopetown Darlington to take part in Easter egg hunts and Easter trails.
- October – Hopetown Darlington is transformed into a spooky attraction for Halloween.
- Christmas –Ho-Ho-Hopetown is transformed into a winter wonderland and is paid a visit by Santa Claus.
Group Sizes Catered For:
Groups of all sizes and descriptions are welcome.
Facilities: A new car park will accommodate over 200 vehicles. Disabled parking will be available at the main entrance. Hopetown Darlington shares a site with Darlington’s North Road Railway Station which is served by hourly connections to Darlington’s mainline Railway Station. Bus stops are located near to the main entrance.
Accessibility and Disabled Facilities:
The site is accessible to wheelchair users. There will be lifts and ramps in all venues and outdoor spaces wherever there is a change in level. There will be disabled toilets located across the site and there will be a Changing Places toilet located inside North Road Station Museum.
Accessibility is always important to us, so the Wagon Woods play park includes an accessible incline track with interactive features and a companion slide suitable for wheelchair users and the Experiment! immersive experience ride also has space for a wheelchair user.