Holiday Inn Darlington North

Holiday Inn

The Festival of Thrift comes to Darlington this September!

For thrift lovers everywhere, we have the perfect event for you. On Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th of September, the enormously popular Festival of Thrift returns to Darlington. The festival was a massive hit when it first took place in 2013, attracting 27,000 visitors. Last year, it grew dramatically with over 40,000 people attending from all around the UK. If those figures are anything to go by, 2015 only promises to be bigger and better! What’s more, this festival is the only national celebration of sustainable living in the UK and winner of the 2015 Arts and Culture Observer Ethical Awards.

The day itself promises to be both informative and fun, with a range of activities including educational workshops offering tips and tricks on how to be thrifty, art exhibitions and interactive entertainment. There will be 120 stalls at this year’s festival, selling gorgeous homemade food as well as up-cycled, recycled, handcrafted and second hand goods.

The Festival of Thrift is a cultural celebration for people everywhere who are interested in learning how to reuse, recycle and upcycle, saving both money and benefiting the environment.

You can learn more about the festival at Make sure to book your accommodation for the event at Alternatively, email or call 0132 532 9600.

A levels? Here’s 3 fab hoteliers who managed without!

Yesterday marked a terrifying day for many young people as they received their AS and A levels results. Months of revision, pages upon pages of notes, several sleepless nights and (probably) more than a few tears morphed into one, single grade. Here at Holiday Inn Darlington, we want to say a massive well done to everyone- we hope the hard work paid off!

However, we also know it might have been a disappointing day for many- sometimes things just don’t go the way we plan! In order to uplift your spirits, we want to make a few examples of people within our own industry that have been remarkably successful with very little formal education…
Let us introduce our top 3 fabulous hoteliers that, despite all odds, became hospitality giants!

1) Cesar Ritz
If there ever was a name that epitomizes hotels, it’s this one! However, his remarkable history is truly at odds with the luxury and excess the Ritz name carries.

Ritz was born in a small Swiss village and was the youngest of 13 in a poor peasant family. When he was a teenager, his father sent him to a Jesuit boarding school, presumably as a method of escape from the harsh realities of farm life. It soon became apparent that he possessed very little interest in academics and was described as “having shown only vaguely artistic leanings”. After a few years, he found a small job working as a wine waiter at a local hotel. However, he was soon dismissed from this position and told, by one of the hotels patrons, “You’ll never make anything of yourself in the hotel business. It takes a special knack, a special flair, and it’s only right that I tell you the truth- you haven’t got it”. As well as this, at one point, he worked as a waiter in a workman’s bistro where he was later sacked for breaking too many dishes in his desire to work briskly!

After these setbacks, he went to France to find his fortune; he gradually moved up within the industry, transforming himself from a waiter into a maître d’hôtel, manager, and eventually hotelier. Despite this success, his career never ran smoothly! His legacy at the Savoy Hotel was rather overshadowed by his dramatic dismissal after being accused of fraud when more than £3,400 of wine and spirits went missing.

However, In the face of adversary, he always managed to climb to new heights. In 1898, he opened the celebrated Hôtel Ritz in the Place Vendôme, Paris, France. He went on to open The Ritz Hotel in London, United Kingdom in 1906, which became one of the most popular meeting places for the rich and famous.

2) Kemmons Wilson
Kemmons Wilson is responsible for creating one of the most familiar international hotel brands: Holiday Inn.

He had a rough start to life; his father, an insurance salesman, died when Kemmons was nine months old. He was raised solely by his Mother in Memphis, Tennessee. His story is pretty standard until one particularly terrible family trip to Washington. He was continuously disappointed by the quality of the roadside motels in which he stayed. So, he decided to make a stand. He opened his first hotel in Memphis in 1952 and named it after a reference to a Bing Cosby Movie of the same name.

In 1957, Wilson franchised the chain as Holiday Inn of America and it grew dramatically. He followed the basic principles that a hotel should be standardised, clean, predictable, family-friendly and readily accessible to road travellers.

Kemmons’ story demonstrates how a freak bolt of inspiration can change your whole life, with enough perseverance that is.

3) John Willard Marriott
John Willard Marriot was the founder of the Marriott Corporation (which later became Marriott International). Marriott International is a hospitality company that manages and franchises a huge selection of hotels. Marriott International has more than 4,087 properties in over 80 countries!

Unbelievably, this commercial giant started as a small root beer stand in Washington DC! As time went by, Marriot gradually expanded the menu….he added a lot of Mexican food items which, undoubtedly, contributed to the stands popularity! Eventually, his empire grew into a chain of family run restaurants and, later, motels. By the time he died, the Marriott Company operated 1,400 restaurants and 143 hotels and resorts worldwide, including two theme parks!

A true entrepreneur!

Celebrate National Afternoon Tea week in Darlington!

August 10th is the official start of Afternoon Tea Week- a whole week dedicated to celebrating the great heritage and tradition of Afternoon Tea in the UK!

The practice of Afternoon Tea was invented by Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, in the mid-1800s. Surprisingly, back then, it was customary only to have two meals a day in the morning and night. Not surprisingly, however, are the hunger pangs that attacked in-between; the Duchess complained of experiencing “a sinking feeling” midday and started to think of ways to counteract the energy dip. Her solution (and a very sensible one at that we think!) was to have a private snack and pot of tea in the afternoon. At first, this small meal was taken in the boudoir- close friends were invited to join, what was considered at the time, this indulgent guilty pleasure! However, as the popularity of afternoon tea spread throughout the upper and upper middle classes, it was moved into the drawing room. Before long all of fashionable society was sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.

Afternoon tea typically consists of sandwiches (mainly cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, coronation chicken and smoked salmon with cream cheese), scones with cream and jam as well as a variety of yummy cakes (Battenberg, fruit cake, Victoria sponge). And if you have ever wondered why, here in the UK, we love to dunk our biscuits in tea…that all started at one of these tantalising tea parties! Talking of tea, the common choices usually include Assam, Darjeeling, Earl Grey and Lapsang Souchong….although some places offer up to 100 different types!

Here at Holiday Inn Darlington, we offer our very own Afternoon Tea package that is delicious and affordable at only £12.50 per person! Book now and carry on the tradition at

Get inspired at our Darlington Wedding Open Day 13th August 2015

2015 has been the year of love. Not only has the divorce rate in the UK dropped to 20% lower than it was a decade ago, we also witnessed a momentous milestone with gay marriage being legalised in several countries and states across the world. And with August being the singularly most popular month to wed, (15% of all marriages take place this month), Holiday Inn Darlington feels like celebrating!

On August 13th we are holding one of our spectacular Wedding events! They are a great way to gain inspiration for wedding dresses, cakes, photography, jewellery, flowers, entertainment and much, much more! We offer the chance to look around the venue and meet our dedicated wedding coordinators. As well as this, the event gives couples the chance to meet each other, which hopefully serves to calm any jittery pre-wedding nerves!

The hotel itself is conveniently located for visits to the historic Durham Cathedral, beautiful countryside of County Durham, the award winning Beamish Museum and the Durham University Botanic Gardens. So why not make a day of it and explore the surrounding areas after sampling some delicious canapés and getting inspiration for wedding dresses, cakes, photography, jewellery, flowers, entertainment and much, much more!

Future Wedding Open Days

Thursday 13th August 5pm – onwards
Thursday 24th August 5pm – onwards
Saturday 24th October 12pm – 5pm
Thursday 12th November 5pm – onwards

The Durham Streets Summer Festival 2015

The August bank holiday kicks off with a bang in Durham as The Durham Streets Summer Festival commences; the usual calm and collegiate city bursts into life between Saturday 29th and Monday 31st of August as the very best UK and international street performers take to the pavements. This renowned event, attended by people from all over the country, combines traditional slapstick comedy with terrifying and breath-taking acrobatics!

The festival starts on Saturday with several renowned acts including comedian Andy Snatch and Adorkable Derek, who is an American mime act and acrobat. As well as this, one of the godfathers of contemporary street entertainment, JP-Koala, flies over from Australia to perform in Durham City for the very first time!

Highlights of the festival include The Head First Acrobats and Herbie Treehead. The Acrobats are an Australian duo who have had great success with award winning sell out shows across Australia and Europe. This is the very first time they have toured in the UK. Herbie Treehead, who has been called “Country Durham’s most famous unknown celebrity”, has found success closer to home. After completing his international tour, he is returning to his roots to entertain us with his unique comedy. Both of these acts can be seen Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

If you are not content to just sit back, relax and watch the fun unfold then you can get involved in circus masterclasses that run throughout the weekend. Perfect for children and big kids alike!

The Durham Streets Summer Festival 2015 is an event not to be missed and brings together an eclectic mixture of comedy styles from all around the world. With a whole three days packed of family friendly action, there really isn’t any excuse to miss out.

To make a booking online please go to Alternatively, please call 0132 532 9600 or e-mail for special accommodation rates. The Holiday Inn Darlington is a 30 minute drive from the heart of Durham.

More information about the show schedule can be found on