Sunderland v Leeds: Why Wearside beat the Yorkshire city as top place for under 30s to live
There's no place like home.
And, as proud Northerners, we know our region is far superior to elsewhere in the country. We've got the best beaches, the best food and (of course) the best people.
So it was no great surprise that Sunderland came top of the tree in a recent study, aimed at finding the best places for under 30s to live and work in England.
Sunderland was rated highest due to low living costs, high job satisfaction and general happiness and wellbeing.
The city beat Leeds, which came second, to the top spot. Aberdeen and Milton Keynes also scored highly in the index.
Sunderland has some shining lights in its repertoire - as does Leeds, we're sure. But we have so much to be proud of here on Wearside, that other places just don't have!
Here are just some of the things we think make Sunderland special:
The coastline: Wearside's coastline is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the country - and that's without our local bias. It's a fantastic place for a walk, a picnic, a family day out - and it plays a huge part in Sunderland's cultural calendar each year. This year, both Roker and Seaburn beaches secured international Blue Flag status, and achieved the Seaside Award from Keep Britain Tidy.
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Stadium gigs: Sunderland has played host to some of the biggest acts in the world, including One Direction, Bruce Springsteen and the Queen herself, Beyonce at the Stadium of Light. Next on the bill for the city are the Spice Girls, announced this week. They will play in June 2019, with another concert expected to be announced for next summer too.
Cultural places to visit: The North East has a bit of a reputation for being the place to party - and trust us, it is. But Sunderland is absolutely packed full of enchanting places to visit too. The city is home to the National Glass Centre, which opened in 1998 and houses the Institute for International Research in Glass. If you fancy an outdoors trip, and can handle a bit of a climb, there is nothing more breathtaking than the view from the top of Penshaw Hill. Other gems scattered across Sunderland include Hylton Castle, the city's selection of museums and the Tommy sculpture just down the road in Seaham.
Summer events: We may not always get the summer sunshine, but we do always get the summer programme! Thousands head to Sunderland each July for the annual airshow, a huge highlight in the city's cultural calendar. The fantastic flying displays, including the Red Arrows, send thousands to the coast every summer. The warmer months also mean a great line-up of outdoor entertainment at music events Sunniside Live and Summer Streets. In 2018, the city was the start port for the Tall Ships Races.
Our bridges: There's just something about a bridge - and Sunderland is lucky to have a shiny new one, Northern Spire, joining its ranks. After much anticipation, it opened in August this year and was visited by thousands in its first days.
Sunderland Empire: Most have to pop on the train to the West End to catch one of the musical world's most exciting shows - but we can just pop down the town. Sunderland Empire is often the first North East stop as musicals head out on tour. In 2018 alone, we have welcomed Matilda, Wicked and Miss Saigon.
The people: Everyone may have a joke about a Mackem, but there's no denying the people in the North East are the best around. They might take the mick - but they would give you a hand whenever you needed it. We are lucky to meet people across the city who have taken the time to do good, whether it's fundraising, supporting the vulnerable or giving a helping hand to someone less fortunate.
The football (yes, really): There's a lot we could say about the relationships between Sunderland and Leeds, but let's just leave it at the 1973 FA Cup. Say no more.