A brand-new rail heritage visitor attraction is on track to open in Darlington next summer, ahead of the bicentenary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) in 2025.
Bussey & Armstrong is proud to announce our role as a major sponsor of Hopetown Darlington. This exciting venture will transform purpose-built and heritage buildings, including the former Head of Steam Museum, into a premier family attraction that is projected to attract over 300,000 visitors annually, with 80,000 coming from outside the local area.
The name of this attraction, Hopetown Darlington, pays homage to the esteemed rail heritage of Darlington's Northgate area, specifically referencing the historic Hope Town Foundry and Hopetown Carriage Works.
Covering an impressive 323,000 square feet or 7.5 acres of land, this site will include a remarkable train-themed adventure playpark requiring a £600,000 investment. To mark the milestone anniversary of the S&DR in 2025, there will be a substantial £3.6 million investment dedicated to interpreting Darlington's globally-significant railway heritage. The restored Carriage Works will house a new exhibition hall proudly sponsored by Darlington Building Society which will host an array of captivating traveling exhibitions.
Additionally, visitors can embark on an immersive 4D virtual reality time travel ride that transports them through the past, present, and future. The Carriage Works will also host a vibrant community hub called The Stores sponsored by Bussey & Armstrong. This space encourages visitors to engage with the museum's collections and contribute their own context through community-led exhibitions and events.
This £35 million scheme is funded by Darlington Borough Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England, Historic England, and Rail Heritage Trust.
We are truly honored to be part of such an extraordinary project that celebrates Darlington's rich history while providing unparalleled entertainment and education for all who visit Hopetown Darlington.