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  • Writer's pictureKelly

32 things to do in and around Sunderland.

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

Ryhope Engine Museum

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I recently heard someone say 'There's not much to do in Sunderland' which made me think about all of the wonderful attractions and things to do right here in Sunderland, this list contains 32 ideas for North East Family Adventures but in all honesty if I included all the parks in Sunderland it could easily be lots lots more. (Look out for that post)

Packed full of Sunderland history, animal displays and a wonderland glass rotunda with over 2000 tropical plants. Look out for the Koi.

No booking is needed.

Free entry

Tunstall Hill Nature Reserve

So much more to explore than just the hill. With various paths and trails that lead off in all directions, it is definitely worth exploring. If you follow it round you will come out on Ryhope playing fields, which are HUGE and has a pretty cool play park that is fairly new. I grew up in Ryhope and this is definitely one place that is always forgotten about when it comes to walks and places to go for a few hours. No Toilets, Closest ones are in Asda Leechmere.

Mowbray Park

If you are visiting the Museum you could also have a walk around Mowbray park. Look out for the little door. Closest Toilets are Sunderland Museum, Park lane or The Bridges

Seaburn Arcades

Have some 2p coins lying around? Why don't you head down to the arcades. There are a few to choose from and the boys love the 2p machines.

Roker Park

Roker park is a lovely place to go for a walk with the family, with a boating lake, bandstand, an awesome play area and a little engine that you can have rides on. Toilets are located at Roker Beach

The National Glass Centre

Various displays, history and a glass workshop that you can watch. Also a lovely cafe looking over the river.

Stadium of Light Tour

Did you know that you could go on a tour of The Stadium of Light? You get to have a nose around behind the scenes.

An ancient Greek style temple that was built in 1844. Offers some fantastic views over the region. Quite steep but there is a seat half way up and there are now some steps to help you up it is worth it for the view! Parking is limited at the site but you can park in Herrington Country Park.

Herrington Country Park

One of the largest open spaces in Sunderland, Herrington park was once my local park and we explored until we could no longer. With various lakes to check out, woodland walks, horses to pet, a large playpark and a nice little cafe. Toilets on site, Lots of parking and lots of ducks waiting for your seed. Also home to some amazing live events.

Cox Green/ Victoria Viaduct

One of our favourite walks, if you actually venture further than the car park and the bridge there is lots to see and discover. The full walk around will take around 2/3 hours but it is so worth it. Look out for the viaduct, it is spectacular. Toilets in the village. Various parking dotted around at different points. Also a nice little cafe/van with some farm like animals to pet.

A true gem, so much to see and do here. You can take a look around at the lovely displays and have a wander around outside too. Not a full day out but will fill half a day if you take your time.

WWT Washington

In my opinion, a gem to have so close to home. With so many fantastic birds to spot it is just a lovely place to visit. 105 acres of wetlands packed with wildlife lovely cafe serving takeaway/toilets onsite.

We love visiting Souter Lighthouse, although i'm not a fan of climbing to the top. The views are stunning. You can also walk down to the edge of the cliff and enjoy the views out to sea.

Toilets on site. National Trust fees apply.

Down At The Farm

We used to visit Down At The Farm regularly when the boys were little, and they loved the bouncy pillow! Look out for the greedy piggies. Tractor rides, petting zoo & play areas.

We are so so lucky to have this right on our doorstep and as someone who used to spend lots of time on the ski slope growing up, it is just a fantastic place to take the kids and learn something new.

Silksworth Lakes

A 10 minute walk from our house, this is a lovely walk with the dogs and boys. A few lakes, with reeds towering above. You can walk round past the ski slope and there is a huge play area, tennis courts etc. Perfect for a bike ride too. Toilets at the Ski slope or Sainsbury's. Large car park.

Sunderland Empire theatre is over 100 years old and is so pretty. Home to some of the most amazing stage shows. I have some amazing memories from here, going regularly with my Auntie whilst growing up. Now I get to share that with the boys too.

Ryhope Dene

Another hidden gem in my opinion, with beautiful views of the sea. There is also a woodland walk which goes down to the beach. You can walk along to Seaham Hall beach from here too, to look out for sea glass. No parking on site or toilets.

A magnificent gem to Sunderland is the Ryhope Engine Museum, unfortunately the museum is closed for 2020, but once it reopens you should go along and take in its beauty.

Eat, Drink & Bowl at Sunderland Bowl. They now have lots of other fantastic games to play like crazy golf!

Perfect for an afternoon of fun, cater for birthday parties too.

We like to enjoy a walk along the St Peter's sculpture trail early on a morning, lots of sculptures to find, boats to gaze at and you may just spot some cormorants.

Fantastic few hours to be had at Karting NE, they also host various special occasions.

Without a doubt a gem in my opinion, the amount of different activities these guys hold are incredible. From Paddle Boarding to raft building, Pier jumping, fencing and so much more. Info Here

One of Sunderland newest attractions is the Clue Hq Escape rooms. Do you dare have a go?

A 50m swimming pool, weekend inflatable fun and soft play. A fantastic attraction to keep the kids fit. It is also home to a huge 140 station gym!

Three 23m walls with courses for Adults and Children, also a children's club.

Soft play and cafe, located on the seafront in Seaburn. Caters for parties too.

Step into a bit of history with St Peter's church, make sure you check out the tiles. Lovely cafe too.

A gorgeous nature reserve to enjoy a lovely walk, various routes to take, ponds, bird hides and lots of birds, bugs and other wildlife.

I think this Harrys is a great addition to the city, somewhere for the gaming lovers to enjoy. I know our boys will more than likely be having a party here sometime in the near future!

This is one for the train lovers, (us!)with an assortment of Locomotives and rolling stock. You could easily spend the day. Tearoom on site.

Enjoy this post? Check out some of my other posts

Let me know if I missed your favourite Sunderland spot from my list.



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