11 things that make Sunderland special

Sunderland AFC badge, Murray Gates, Stadium of Light.
Sunderland AFC badge, Murray Gates, Stadium of Light.
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Wherever you’re from in Wearside, you’ll undoubtedly have your favourite things. Whether it’s a trip to a beautiful park, a Saturday out seeing the Black Cats, or a date night with a decent curry – Sunderland has got you covered.

1) Roker Beach

Sunny Roker on a Sunday morning, taken by Tom Lynn

Sunny Roker on a Sunday morning, taken by Tom Lynn

It may not be the most exotic of beaches, but if you fancy a spot of fish and chips, an ice cream cornet and a seaside stroll we’ve got the perfect place. Whatever the weather, nothing compares to a walk along the coast. If the quiet life isn’t for you, you can also get your adrenalin fix at the beach. How many UK cities can say they have a state-of-the-art watersports centre on the marina? Find your wildside with surfing, rowing or kayaking.

2) Seeing Sunderland play at the Stadium of Light

Football. There’s nothing like it – and what more can you ask for than to watch a team from the best league in the world. With the season just around the corner, anticipation is building across the country. So don your strip, pack your red and white scarf and get ready for another session at the helm. Count down until derby day

3) Souter Lighthouse and The Leas

Penshaw Monument, taken by Billy Skelton

Penshaw Monument, taken by Billy Skelton

Breaking up the Tyne and Wear coastline, Souter Lighthouse is a must-see whether you’ve been in Wearside for 5 weeks, or 50 years. Get the best views of the coast by climbing to the top of the tower and, while you’re there, don’t forget the monumental views of The Leas cliffs. You don’t have to visit Dover to get the white cliffs.

4) Monsoon Kitchen

Wherever you visit, you want to make sure you’ve got somewhere to have a good feed. With no shortage of eateries and bars in Sunderland, you are spoilt for choice, whatever your tastes. We love Monsoon Kitchen for its ability to transport us to somewhere overseas with delectable curries and sundries, even on the gloomiest of days.

5) Sunderland Empire

The North’s very own West End, if there’s a performance you want to see, you can rest assured it will arrive in the city. The stage’s biggest blockbusters including Wicked, Grease and Miss Saigon have graced the stage – so there’s no need to worry about booking that East Coast train ticket just yet.

6) Hylton Castle

The English Heritage ruin, built in the 15th century, still stands proud in the city of Sunderland. Take a look at the gatehouse tower, and imagine what else was built there before. Drink in the history of the region, and visit on a sunny day to make the most of the great outdoors.

7) Penshaw Monument

Visible across the city and beyond, the monument sits atop Penshaw Hill. Its significance is felt across Sunderland, and inspired the childhood tale (and legend) of The Lambton Worm.

8) D’Acqua Restaurant

With more than 500 excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, D’Acqua is definitely a jewel in Sunderland’s culinary crown. Head there for a birthday, a party of even just a mid-week dinner and the cuisine will not disappoint.

9) National Glass Centre

Part of the city’s university, The National Glass Centre is the place for a fun and unique day out for everyone – regardless of age. With a range of activities, workshops and attractions its another place on the top of our list for a summer holiday boredom breaker – or just to pass the time on a rainy weekend.

10) The Futureheads

You may not be a die hard fan, but you’ll definitely have heard their cover of Hounds of Love. The four piece group set the indie scene on fire in the early 2000s with their acapella sound and catchy choruses. To this day, they continue to make waves and do their home city proud.

11) The people!

We all know Northerners are the friendliest people in the world, there’s no argument about that. And while living in Sunderland is pretty amazing because of the attractions, the citizens make it great too!