Sunderland was a former coal-mining and industrial port in North East England. It has quite a deep-rooted industrial heritage which is not dissimilar to neighbouring Newcastle and Middlesbrough – they also collectively get a bad reputation as rundown-cities in the North East (perhaps undeservedly). There are, nonetheless, good attractions in this city which warrant a visit. In this post, discover the things to do, interesting places and attractions in Sunderland, Wearside, United Kingdom.
A trip to Sunderland can be easily done via a day tour from Newcastle – the easiest (and cheapest) option would be to take the Tyne & Wear Metro (subway) from Newcastle (about 30m ride) and alight at Sunderland Metro Station. In our previous Sunderland visit, we stayed at the following Newcastle hotels:
- Sandman Signature Hotel (about GBP 100 for a deluxe twin room without breakfast). It is conveniently located next to St James Park and features modern clean rooms.
- The Caledonian Hotel (about GBP 80 for a double room with breakfast). Located right in the heart of Jesmond (an upscale neighbourhood with boutiques and cafes), the hotel is generally clean though the rooms are a bit dated.
- Crowne Plaza Newcastle – Stephenson Quarter (about GBP 100 for a standard room with breakfast). A good option for travellers with clean rooms and relatively modern decor – 5-10 mins walk to the city centre.
We did not stay in Sunderland, but for travellers wanting to spend the night in this city, Hilton Garden Inn (next to the Stadium of Light) or the cheaper Travelodge (in the City centre) might be decent accommodation options.
1. Bridges Shopping Centre & Sunderland City Centre
Sunderland has a prominent shopping centre (Bridges Shopping Centre) located right in the city centre and next to the Sunderland Metro Station. Surrounding the shopping centre are shops and pubs (eg Yates) which can be found in typical British High Streets.
2. Mowbray Park
A prominent park in Sunderland, it is recognised as one of the oldest public parks in the North East. Interesting sights in the park include bridges, statues, a fountain, memorials and scenic landscapes.
3. Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
Next to Mowbray Park lies the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens. On display are historical items and entities local to the North East such as shipbuilding items, glass/pottery pieces and works from the Anglo-Saxon period. Entry to the museum is free.
4. Stadium of Light (Sunderland A.F.C)
Stadium of Light is the home stadium of Sunderland A.F.C. (nickname the Black Cats). English football fans might be interested in visiting the stadium, which can be easily reached via the metro (Stadium of Light metro station).
5. Penshaw Monument and Herrington Country Park
We have covered the Penshaw Monument and Herrington Country Park in our previous post, but it’s worth highlighting them again here as they are both located just outside of Sunderland city and stunningly scenic. Penshaw and the park are located about 5 miles east from the Sunderland city centre and can be reached via Bus No 2 or 78 from the City.
6. Roker Beach and Seaburn Strip
For tourists planning to head to the beach, Seaburn and Roker can be good beach locations in the North East. There is a concentration of food and drinks establishments along the Seaburn strip including Stack. The beach is located about 1 mile east from the Seaburn metro station.