The largest town in the urban area known as Teesside that straggles along the North East Coast, Middlesbrough was little more than a village at the beginning of the 19th-Century. The discovery of iron ore nearby changed that, and the advent of steel mills dictated Middlesbrough’s rapid, enormous growth over the next century as an industrial centre manufacturing famous engineering works such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge which, few people know, has the legend 'MADE IN MIDDLESBROUGH' stamped on its side. Today, heavy industry has been all but abandoned in favour of the chemical plants that are dotted across Teesside. The area is not rich but is famously friendly, and visitors to Middlesbrough find a modern, bustling town which is beginning the process of regeneration with dockside developments, designer shops, a lively student scene and easy access to the North Eastern coast and countryside.


Middlesbrough did not develop as a town for pleasure but as a convenient industrial site, and consequently it has few ‘attractions’ for tourists. The few heritage curiosities it does have seem to be somehow accidental – Captain Cook was born in the area before Middlesbrough as we know it existed, and inhabitants of ‘the borough’ have found themselves lucky to have an internationally successful football team.

The famous Transporter Bridge, which most people will recognize from Billy Elliot, was built in 1911 not as a peculiar piece of engineering but to facilitate the passage of industrial vehicles. The ‘bridge’, nonetheless, is a fascinating sight. Almost like a fairground ride, it can carry up to 12 cars and up to 60 foot-passengers, picking them up in its basket to carry across and deposit the load across the water. Serious bridge-spotters can also find the Newlyn Bridge in Middlesbrough, which was the first vertical lift bridge in the UK when it was built in 1934.

The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, in a suburb of Middlesbrough, commemorates one of the area’s famous sons with a lavish display tracking his progress all over the world. Acklam hall and Ormesby Hall are other stately homes open to the public that remember a past before the industrialization of the area.

Middlesbrough Football Club is a large and important club relative to the town’s size so tickets can be hard to obtain; visitors who will be happy to consider sitting in the Away stand are more likely to get to see a match.The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art is due to make its grand, 19-million-pound opening in 2006.


Middlesbrough city centre can be a depressing, grey place, and shopping in the area is dominated by a number of malls in and outside the town. However, the historical arcades give a little more flavour to proceedings in parts of the centre. Designer clothes are particularly popular in Teesside and are available in several superior boutiques.

Nightlife and Eating Out

The student scene dominates Middlesbrough in term-time, with a variety of different music and/or discount nights at pubs and clubs. During the vacation, the pubs and clubs are busier at the weekends, when most offer cheap beer and loud music.

Dining out in Middlesbrough is often best enjoyed in the many small Italian restaurants, seafood restaurants and pubs serving home-made food. However, there are a number of more fashionable restaurants selling international foods – some of the town’s French, Japanese and modern British restaurants have earned a name for themselves.

Tourist Information

Tourist Information Centre,Town Hall,Albert Road,Middlesbrough,Cleveland TS1 1ELTel. 01642 729700Middlesbrough_tic@middlesbrough.gov.ukwww.middlesbrough.gov.uk


Middlesbrough is situated between Newcastle Airport and Durham/Tees Valley Airport. Both have good international connections via flights to Amsterdam Schipol and London Heathrow airports. Newcastle is the fastest-growing regional airport in the UK and the number of flights to and from this airport is expected to continue to increase over the next year www.newcastle-airport.com)

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