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City of Surprises

"To my mind, Sunderland is the best city in the north-east. I went for a city break a few weeks ago, and left the former shipbuilding heavyweight irreparably smitten: with its people, its pedigree, its architectural spread, and by what it's putting on the table.

Other gleaming features include the Penshaw Monument (a whopping folly on a hill), the National Glass Centre (a revealing experience by the river), and a local speciality called Pink Slice. Jordan Pickford aside, Sunderland's brightest asset must be its beach - the Roker riviera. LS Lowry used to journey across the Pennines to holiday here every year, and it's not hard to see why. As I ran along its spirit-lifting length, the beach appeared to go on forever. Oh that it did!"

Ben Aitken - Travel writer.

A vibrant city by the sea balancing breath-taking coastline with a fantastic choice of attractions, Sunderland really is a City of Surprises.

Whether it's global megastars like Beyonce and Bruce Springsteen at the Stadium of Light; dazzling west end shows such as Aladdin, War Horse or Wicked at Sunderland Empire; or immersing yourself in Sunderland's vibrant independent music scene, the city is an entertainment hotbed. If you're looking for activities for little ones, there's events happening throughout the year to keep them busy, or why not visit Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, the city's Visit England gold award winning museum.

Penshaw Monument
Barnes Park
Mowbray Park
Hylton Castle
Hendon Beach


Although Sunderland is a modern, vibrant city focused firmly on the future, there is an abundance of historical places to visit. Popular attractions include Washington Old Hall, the ancestral home of the first president of the United States of America, George Washington; St Peter's Church, one of the most significant historical sites in Britain and once home to Venerable Bede; and Penshaw Monument, a half-size replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens that can be seen from miles around.

If the great outdoors is your thing, there's plenty of natural beauty spots to explore, including the Roker Riviera, with its two blue flag beaches flourishing following recent investment and regeneration, or it's many country parks and green spaces, perfect for a leisurely stroll or even a run.

And if it's physical activities you're looking for, there's a vast array to keep you busy. Paddleboarding, kayaking and surfing are just a few of many marine activities or if you're looking for an endurance challenge, the coast-to-coast cycle route finishes (or starts!) in the city. Inland pursuits include skiing or snowboarding all year round at Silksworth Ski Complex, or channelling Lewis Hamilton at KNE's 1200m karting circuit.

And after a fun-filled day, what better way to wind down than at one of the city's fantastic independent bars and restaurants, with everything from Indian street food to casual fine dining, and classic Italian to Korean favourites.

There's a world of attractions, venues and events waiting to be discovered in Sunderland. Don't just take our word for it, hear what some familiar Sunderland faces have to say...

Peter Farrer

Peter Farrer, the iconic taxi driver from "Sunderland 'Til I Die," steps out of his cab and straight onto the stunning shores of Roker and Seaburn beach. Discover why this Sunderland local is so passionate about his city.

Father Marc Lyden-Smith

Meet Sunderland parish priest, Fr Marc Lyden-Smith, who featured in Netflix's "Sunderland 'Til I Die", and find out more about our city with a stunning cultural scene, historic buildings and a bright future.

Adam Strong

Sunderland-born musical theatre star Adam Strong is currently starring as Jafar in Disney's touring production of Aladdin. Adam loves his home city and tells us all about his appreciation of Sunderland's wonderful coastline and green spaces as well as performing on stage at the wonderful Empire Theatre.

Eat & Drink

From a divine pre-theatre dinner to a STACK of tasty street food choices, our characterful cafés, restaurants and bars will brew, sizzle and drizzle their way to your heart. No wonder we've been rated Best UK City for Independent Restaurants by comparison platform Bionic.

Things to do

Welcome to a city that never stands still. Bordered to the east by Blue Flag beaches fringed with cafés, bars and beach huts, and blessed with acres of green spaces, country parks and nature reserves, Sunderland is a hive of activity with a proud past, a warm heart, and a wealth of things to do.

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