Do you love a mooch around a farm shop or a catch up with friends over a coffee?

There are plenty of businesses to make the most of in the North East, including cleaning services, pet shops, beauty parlours and more.

We asked Northern Echo readers on Facebook what they thought were their favourite independent businesses area (and there were more than 300 comments).

Many places received multiple recommendations, so here's a breakdown of some of the best in County Durham as named by you.

Some of County Durham's best independent businesses


Location: 28 Cockerton Green, Cockerton, Darlington, DL3 9EU

A popular choice recommended by locals was Wheelers in Cockerton (Darlington).

One person posted: “Its an absolute treasure trove of all sorts for home maintenance and cleaning, also great for strange fitting light bulbs, weird sized batteries, odd shaped screws, curtain hooks, etc. Family run business and prices are spot on too.”

The comment received a few ‘thumbs up’ in agreement from other residents and even a red love heart emoji.

Echo 3 Coffee

Location: 11 Clarks Yard, Darlington, DL3 7QH

Also receiving a lot of praise was Echo 3 Coffee in Darlington, as one person commented it was “the best for coffee and cakes”.

A customer who also agreed wrote: “Best coffee ever, gorgeous cakes and scones.”


Location: 8 Post House Wynd, Darlington

This account said: “Whimsickal is amazing and quirky. Well worth a visit x”

On its Facebook page Whimsickal describes itself as a place “where enchantment meets expression”.

It adds: “Nestled in the heart of Darlington town centre, our concept shop is a treasure trove of all things fanciful, weird, quaint, alternative and fun.

“Each visit to Whimsickal promises a delightful journey into the world of playful self expression.

“Come and browse our curated selection of home fragrance & decor, jewellery, clothing, and accessories that truly reflect the essence of individuality.”

Kelly’s Smellies

Location: 5 Whessoe Road, Darlington, DL3 0QP

One company that received an overwhelming response was Kelly’s Smellies in Darlington, a gift shop which sells “ultrasonic diffusers, elextric warmers, oil burners, wax melts” and more.

A customer commented it is the go-to “for all your home fragrances”.

Another added: “Kelly's Smellies is amazing.”

Someone else said: “Kelly's Smellies the best for wax melts or anything smellies/ candles related x”

Darlington K9 Raw Feeds LTD

Location: 1a Holly St, Darlington, DL3 6JR

If you’re looking for pet supplies, many locals suggested Darlington K9 Raw Feeds LTD as their favourite independent business.

One reply claimed it’s the “best place for treats and raw food for my fur baby”.

This had some interactions from other Northern Echo Facebook followers with a couple of ‘thumbs up’ and a red love heart emoji.

Just some of the products they supply are natural treats, dog perfume and kennel cleaner.

The Auckland Cupcake Co

Location: 33A Fore Bondgate, Bishop Auckland, DL14 7PE

A customer wrote: “Best cup cakes you will ever taste based in Bishop Auckland” and many more seemed to agree.

Recommended reading:

The Pasta Shop

Location: 10 Woodland Road, Darlington, DL3 7PJ

The Pasta Shop in Darlington was also recommended by readers as one of their favourite independent businesses in the county.

Its website says: “The Pasta Shop Darlington is an authentic, family-owned Deli shop on 10 Woodland road specialising in fresh pasta takeaway dishes crafted using the techniques of Italy’s master pasta makers, a rich assortment of imported Italian foods and raw pastas for those looking to bring the experience home.”

If you can’t get enough of their menu, you can also take part in pasta classes.

You can find all the independent businesses recommended by Northern Echo readers on our Facebook page.