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Hopetown Darlington

Darlington’s newest visitor attraction – opening Summer 2024

£35 million is being spent on Hopetown Darlington, which will encompass both purpose-built and heritage buildings – including the former Head of Steam Museum – into a major family attraction.

CGI image of a large stone brick building with large bay windows. In the centre of the building is a clock tower which rises above the rest of the building. There is a grand staircase and accessible ramp leading up the entrance.

Goods Shed

Spanning 323,000 square feet, or 7.5 acres, the site will feature a £600,000 train-themed outdoor adventure playpark, a £1 million permanent 4D railway-themed time-travelling ride and a new exhibition hall which will play host to blockbuster exhibitions and events all year round.

The level of investment that has been made in this site is really something to celebrate. Darlington is known around the world for the part we played in global history, and now we are also placing ourselves on the map as a town that offers a major family visitor attraction. Hopetown Darlington will draw in tens of thousands of visitors to our town each year and create hundreds of jobs, as well as bringing footfall to local shops and businesses. With a playground and blockbuster special exhibitions as well as a state-of-the-art reimagining of how the permanent collection is displayed, it is going to be a brilliant asset for our town and our region.

A £3.6 million investment into the railway museum’s interpretation of Darlington’s internationally-significant railway heritage heralds the 200th anniversary of the S&DR in 2025.

Also on site will be a new community hub encouraging visitors to engage with the museum’s collections and add to their context through community-led exhibitions and events.

Amongst the onsite partners is the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, which is already occupying the new custom-built Darlington Locomotive Works. Visitors will be able to visit the Trust’s new premises and watch from a viewing platform as the Trust’s volunteers and staff carry out the maintenance and construction of steam locomotives.


Café and Shop
Railway Museum
4D time-travel railway-themed ride
Exhibitions and Events Space
Learning and Community Centre
Outdoor Events Space
Viewing Gallery to view construction of new steam locomotives
Education rooms
Refreshment room
Private and Corporate Hires
Parking for over 200 vehicles
Disabled parking
Changing Places Toilet
Disabled toilets
Lifts and ramps


To be confirmed


To be confirmed


North Road Station, Station Rd, Darlington DL3 6ST, UK

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