Travelling to Sunderland
Sunderland: top 3 things to do
1. Explore the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
Sunderland was a famous muse of L.S. Lowry and more than 30 of his masterpieces are housed in the Sunderland Museum. You’ll also discover the Winter Gardens filled with exotic plants and flowers, a stuffed lion named Wallace, and Victorian artefacts from around the world. The museum is right next to Mowbray Park and it’s free to get in.
2. Plan your escape at Clue HQ
If you fancy yourself as a bit of an escape artist, head to Clue HQ to test your skills. Choose from two escape games – The Vault and Bunker 38 – then solve a set of puzzles as a team with just 60 minutes on the clock. Do you have the brain power to get out in time? There’s only one way to find out.
3. Carve up the Silksworth Ski Slope
Hone your snowplough turns at Silksworth Ski Slope, one of the best ski centres in the country. If you’re a seasoned skier or snowboarder, you can flaunt your stuff on the 165-metre floodlit slope. Meanwhile, Bambi-legged beginners can get expert guidance from qualified instructors on a far gentler gradient.
Sunderland: getting around
Take a bus to Sunderland and your journey will be quick and easy. What’s more, you’ll feel right at home with added extras like free WiFi and power sockets so you can charge your gadgets.
Your megabus will drop you off in the centre of Sunderland, just a five-minute walk away from The Bridges shopping centre and less than a 10-minute walk from the University of Sunderland. In fact, the whole city is really walkable, so grab a map from the Sunderland Tourist Information Centre on Fawcett Street and get exploring. There are also plenty of local buses and the Tyne and Wear Metro, which will take you to all the main attractions.
If you want to check out the surrounding area, you can get to buzzing Newcastle and Gateshead in under half an hour on the train. Or if you fancy visiting the historic castle at Durham, it takes around an hour to get there by bus. The beautiful North Pennines are also within easy reach.
Sunderland: best for nightlife
The Sunniside area, on the eastern side of the city centre, has the lion’s share of bars and restaurants. It’s also home to a multi-screen cinema, if dinner and a movie sounds like your idea of a perfect night out. Or, for those wanting to keep the party going into the small hours, there are plenty of clubs in the city centre.
Music fans will find an eclectic scene in Sunderland. Big-name artists take to the stage at the Stadium of Light, while local acts perform more intimate gigs at venues like The Borough.
Sunderland: best for shopping
If you’re heading to Sunderland armed with a credit card, The Bridges shopping centre in the heart of the city should be first on your list. More than 100 stores will vie for your attention, including the likes of Debenhams, H&M and TK Maxx.
Or, jump on a bus to the nearby town of Washington, which has even more high street names to choose from in the Galleries shopping centre. If you’re after independent retailers, Park Lane Shopping Village next to The Bridges is your best bet.
Sunderland for free: our top 3
1. Top up your tan on Roker and Seaburn beaches
Sunderland’s Roker and Seaburn beaches have both been awarded Blue Flag status for their clean golden sands. During the summer months they’re teeming with sun-worshippers looking to take a dip or a grab a cold drink on the seafront. Adventurous types can try out watersports like kayaking and surfing on Roker beach.
2. Visit the National Glass Centre
Discover the history of glass and how its made, along with some stunning glass and ceramic art, at the National Glass Centre. Check out demonstrations from skilled glass blowers before relaxing in the restaurant looking out onto the River Wear. Oh, and don’t forget to walk on the roof. You can already guess what it’s made from.
3. Wander through Mowbray Park
You’ll find this peaceful park just a stone’s throw from the city centre, with its Victorian-style bandstand and immaculate lawns that cry out for a picnic. The sculpture of a walrus by the lake celebrates Sunderland’s strong ties with author Lewis Carroll, who wrote some of his famous poems here.
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