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Although perhaps not as famous as some of its surrounding destinations in northeastern England, Darlington will always have a place in the history books for being the birthplace of the modern railway. While a handful of attractions are unsurprisingly dedicated to the town's role in the development of the transportation industry, the castles, which were here long before the trains, are also a popular feature. Those with car rental also have the option of getting on the road to other nearby destinations anytime they wish.
Who to Book With
Darlington car hire companies are mainly found slightly north of the town centre, particularly in and around the Cleveland Trading Estate. Enterprise, Europcar, Thrifty and Alamo are the best-known names, although they compete for custom with locally-run outfits including Northgate Vehicle Hire Ltd and Charter Self Drive. Booking vehicles online prior to heading to the northeast has proven to be much cheaper to driving tourists than leaving such matters to be arranged upon arrival.
Best Time to Go
The northeast, like most parts of the UK, is at its most popular during the summer months from July to August. It goes without saying that during such busy periods, especially in the school holidays, making advance car hire or hotel arrangements in highly-advantageous.
Need to Know Essentials
In order to collect a rental car in Darlington, be sure to have the following on your person:
- A UK driving license or international equivalent
- Additional photo ID
- The credit card or debit card that was used to make the booking
- Printed confirmation of rental
Darlington poses no difficulties to drivers familiar with navigating small towns in England. It is also well connected to other points of interest that surround it, such as Durham and the Durham Tees Valley Airport. Parking spaces in town can be found at the train stations or locations such as the Cornmill Shopping Centre, if not out on the street.
Due to a somewhat limited public transport network, at least when compared to other towns and cities in this corner of the country, Darlington really is a driver's town. Those that need to travel around the immediate areas, but don't have car rental, can rely on buses and taxis.
Darlington is too small to boats its own inner-city rail network, but it does have a train station (Bank Top), where transport between the town and other locations across northern and southern England, as well as to Scotland, is possible. At present, the main ports of call are Manchester Airport, Edinburgh, Reading, London Kings Cross, Newcastle and Plymouth. The majority of these services are supplied by First TransPennine Express, Cross Country and East Coast.
Taxis are one of the main forms of transportation around Darlington, with several different companies offering this service. While cabs supplied by Darlington Borough Council usually always run on the meter, local firms such as Darlington Station Taxis, 1 a B Ltd and United Taxis often allow fares to be agreed upon before travel.
Arriva is the main bus company that supplies transport around Darlington and to other nearby towns such as Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham - in addition to the airports in the area.
Once tourists have enjoyed attractions such as the railway museum and the Tees Cottage Pumping Station Museum, they can then head off to other northeastern destinations, such as Durham and Newcastle, stopping off at the likes of Raby Castle and Richmond Castle on the way.
Newcastle - Without doubt the largest and most popular city in this neck of the woods, can be reached from Darlington by heading north along the A1. Some of the finest nightlife in the UK awaits visitors here, but don’t forget to first spend the day exploring regenerated areas such as Gateshead or coastal destinations including Whitley Bay.
Durham - Also north from Darlington on the A1 is Durham. The short journey of less than 25 miles leads tourists to this destination, famous for being the host one of the country's best universities and a stunning cathedral.
Middlesborough - Of all the great daytrip destinations surrounding Darlington in northeastern England, Middlesborough is among the closest, located a short drive east of the town centre. Albert Park and Stewart Park are two of the most popular attractions here, alongside the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.