Hopetown Darlington will be a 7.5-acre site encompassing a railway museum, exhibitions, festivals, events, café and shop, a railway-themed adventure play park and time travel immersive experience ride, and the chance to view live engineering in action.

An impression of the Goods Shed at Hopetown Darlington

An impression of what the Goods Shed will look like at Hopetown Darlington.

Historians, railway enthusiasts, engineers and locals have been flocking to Darlington for years. And it’s no wonder. Darlington has a captivating 200 year internationally significant narrative, which is now told through a brilliant new attraction - Hopetown Darlington.

Here’s what you could pack into a group visit to Hopetown Darlington

Start your day with a visit to the historic Grade II* listed Goods Shed. Built in 1833, and believed to be the second oldest surviving goods shed in the UK, groups can marvel at the innovative experiences found in this early railway building:

  • The 3D projection of Darlington built locomotives.
  • A high-level model railway showcasing the iconic Locomotion No.1 and the Class 37 diesel locomotive.
  • A railway-themed split-flap display board based on a train departure board (the type you see in Hollywood movies).

Your next stop will be the Grade II* North Road Station Museum, located within an original Victorian railway station dating from 1842. Many of the station’s original features remain to this day. Here visitors are invited on a journey exploring 200 years of innovation and engineering told through both traditional interpretation and immersive experiences.

Experience innovation by jumping on Experiment! the multi-million-pound railway-themed time travel immersive experience ride nestled within the museum.

Then, head on over to the restored Grade II listed Carriage Works. The Carriage Works, built in 1853, will host travelling exhibitions and a frequent programme of events all year round in the Exhibition Hall, sponsored by Darlington Building Society.

An impression of Exhibition Hall at Hopetown Darlington

The Exhibition Hall will host regular displays for groups to explore.

The Carriage Works also encourages visitors to engage with the museum’s collection and add to their context through community-led exhibitions and events in The Stores, sponsored by Bussey & Armstrong. In The Stores you can get up close and personal with the remainder of Hopetown Darlington’s collection.

Found on the other side of the historic Stockton & Darlington Railway line, which is still in use today by local passenger services, is the viewing gallery in Darlington Locomotive Works.

Located above the workshop, it offers an exclusive opportunity to marvel at live engineering in action as volunteers for the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust construct the newest steam locomotive in the UK – the P2 class 2007 Prince of Wales. Groups visiting on the first and third Saturday of the month can visit the workshop itself to get up close and personal with railway engineering.

Towards the end of your visit, pause for locally sourced refreshments at Clocktower Café in the Goods Shed before continuing your journey. Don’t forget to visit Hopetown Goods and Gifts to pick up an item to remind you of your visit.

For more ideas and inspiration about group visits to Hopetown Darlington visit www.hopetowndarlington.co.uk.