The 2019 season will mark the 118th running of the Darlington International Racecourse. For those unfamiliar, Darlington is a very popular British racecourse – the sort of place where you’ll find legions of racing fans, some of whom may even be wearing dinosaur-print dresses. The track itself is rather unique, too. It has an oval shape, which results in the cars and bikes zipping around the track in almost perfect unison. It was designed by Sir John Ryle and first opened its gates in 1881. If you’re looking for a unique British cultural experience, then it’s an option worth exploring.
The Track’s History
The origins of Darlington go back to when it first opened in 1881. Back then, the track was used for horse and cart races, as well as for meetings and exhibitions. In those early years, the course had a grandstand and an attached hotel, which is where the name comes from – Darlington House. In 1906, the organizers decided to expand the grandstand and add more spectator stands, as well as create ancillary buildings. This was the beginning of what is now known as the ‘Birmingham Era’ of track construction, which resulted in the track getting longer, much wider, and flatter. This also meant that there was more space for the cars and bikes to spin around in circles – hence why we have the velodrome at Darlington. The most recent enhancements to the track were made in 1939, during the height of the Depression. At that time, many wealthy individuals and organizations donated money towards the war effort, with the result that various grandstands, hospitality boxes, and terraces were added.
The People And The Culture
Darlington is a place where eccentrics and freaks of all shapes and sizes rub shoulders with royalty and sports stars. The town is filled with characters who love their sport and will be more than happy to welcome you into their world. If you’re looking for something a little different, you could end up falling in love with a place as quirky and unique as Darlington. It is, without a doubt, one of the quirkiest and most interesting cities you’ll ever visit if you’re an enthusiast of the beautiful game.
Where To Stay
If you’re looking to spend a night or two at the track, there are plenty of hotel chains offering a range of luxurious accommodation close to the course. It’s not easy to find a good-quality hotel at short notice, but for those who do, there will be no complaints. You’ll also find plenty of B&Bs close to the track, too, which offer an intimate and personal experience at a fraction of the usual cost. If you want to immerse yourself in English culture, head to the cobbled streets of the city center for some shopping, eating at one of its many award-winning fish cafés, and drinking in one of its many award-winning pubs. There are also plenty of chain restaurants located on the periphery of the city. If you’re looking for a more traditional English meal, you could head to one of the city’s famous Indian restaurants or an Italian eatery for a pizza or pasta. Of course, we can’t leave out the famous Spitalfields Market, which is one of Europe’s largest open-air markets. For those shopping for antiques and collectibles, the city has plenty of must-see attractions, with many independent stores housed in magnificent old buildings. If you plan to visit during the summer, ensure that you pack your shorts and tank tops, as the temperatures can soar well above 80 degrees Fahrenheit – even in the winter, it’s not uncommon to see the mercury rise significantly above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re flying into the North Yorkshire airport, which is the closest airport to Darlington, then there will be plenty of taxis and shared-ride services waiting to take you into the center of the city. There is also an hourly train service from Leeds, which stops at Darlington Main Street, so you’re never more than a few minutes away from the track. The journey from the North-East to the Lake District, via Darlington and the scenic and historic county of Durham, is a popular one. Traveling to and from the North Yorkshire airport is made easy by Yorkshire-based flight offers, which operate across the county. Buses run directly from the airport to the center of town, taking around twenty minutes to make the trip. You’ll find plenty of taxis, shared-ride vehicles, and direct airport buses from Leeds – the largest city in the region – to the airport. The journey to and from the airport will take around thirty minutes. During rush hour, you may find it tricky to flag a taxi – at that time, public transport options are also available. The train and the bus stations in the city are all closely located together, so it’s easy to access different parts of the city and nearby towns from either location.
What To Do
If you’re looking for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, then why not consider a visit to one of England’s most iconic sporting venues? It is quite an adventurous option, considering that this is a place where motorsport enthusiasts, families, and large groups of friends come together to socialize and have fun. If you’re a fan of motor racing, especially the iconic English sport of motorcycling, then you’re in for a real treat. In fact, if you want to fully appreciate the culture and enjoy some of the local cuisine, take a look at the events on offer throughout the year. Some are even open to the general public, so if you’re not an avid fan, then this may be the ideal chance to get involved and learn more about what goes on at the track. If you do partake in any sporting activities during your stay, be sure to check the rules and regulations regarding this, as the volume and intensity of the noise can be extremely high. The organizers of the racing do their best to accommodate all parties, but naturally, this is a place where some things are bound to get a little hectic. Be sure to arrive in good time to catch the action and take advantage of the good weather. There are also plenty of museums, galleries, and cultural centers located in the city; some are even free entry – if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful option, then you could pop in and have a look around for less than £5.
If you want to take a trip back in time and visit a bygone era, when horse racing was king and the track was a place for the rich and famous to congregate, then you could easily spend a day driving around the course and taking in the atmosphere. There are also a number of castles and manor houses to explore, as well as museums that tell the story of the racetrack’s illustrious history. If a trip to Darlington isn’t on your bucket list, then make sure to add it soon – there are just so many iconic British racecourses that remain unvisited by many people, including locals. It’s a beautiful place that deserves to be seen by more people. If you do end up going there, please do be respectful of the town’s unique culture and take only what you need.