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House of Zana's Amber Kottri on Why Darlington is the Place to Be

English country street with shopping signs and fairy lights
Places to go
February 2023
Reading time 3 Minutes

House of Zana's Amber Kottri explains why Darlington is the new go-to market town

Amber Kottri is a Darlington local, growing up and going to college here. Even when she moved away to live in Italy and Albania after university, she always missed her home town and has moved back to Darlington to start a family and set up her luxury womenswear brand, House of Zana. So, if anyone is qualified to introduce you to this picture-perfect market town it's her.

‘I’m from the local area and always missed the homely feel of Darlington. It has such a mix of historic buildings, the beautiful yards, a great array of independent boutiques and every type of restaurant you can imagine,’ she says.

‘There is a fantastic community of independent businesses in Darlington and I feel so lucky to be part of a forward-thinking town. I really feel part of a big team here, with everything from our WhatsApp group for independent businesses, to supporting each other and everything in between. I love calling Darlington home.

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’One of my favourite things about working in Darlington is the customers. Everyone is so supportive and really wants the town to be successful and full of independents. This constant support is what helps bring new business into the town centre and also nurtures the growth of current stores and restaurants.

‘More recently I have seen a big rise in events based in Darlington, largely due to our fantastic council who have a great approach to marketing the town. We have events for all ages that bring new faces in and we as businesses are able to regularly meet new clients. Having a range of free events in the town centre really draws in crowds which has brought a buzz to Darlington and really puts us on the map. 

‘The events programme for next year is even better and we can’t wait to get involved. I believe Darlington is the new go to market town. We have everything from stunning boutiques, fabulous cafés, incredible vintage shops and the perfect brunch spots, as well as high street chain stores. As many towns are struggling to keep independents, we are actually expanding our selection here and I am certainly looking forward to welcoming more tourists in 2023.’

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When it comes to top tips for visiting the area, Amber has it all thought out. ‘Why not park by the Imperial Quarter and start off with a coffee and cake in one of our lovely little independent coffee shops, before heading down to shop in a selection of our fashion boutiques for stunning handmade pieces and a large selection of local homeware and jewellery,’ she says. 

‘Our newly-renovated yards are the perfect place for a quick photo opportunity before waltzing down Post House Wynd to see the floating lanterns and to check out the incredible vintage offering. This is also the perfect place to first see our famous clock before heading down to High Row and the Market Square. We have lots of bars and restaurants too, with everything from afternoon tea spots to Indian cuisine, as well as sushi, falafel and Greek treats.’

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