Contrary to popular belief, there are many things to do in Sunderland City Centre, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t visit. Here on SGM, we name five of the best things to see and down around the area we sometimes refer to as “the town” and while it is by no means an exhaustive list, it is our hope that you can see our city differently. If you’re not from the area, come and give it a try!
Jacky White’s Market (pictured above)
Jacky White’s Market is a historic indoor market located in the east side of the Bridges Shopping Centre. With a tradition dating back nearly a century, the market is home to a wide range of local sellers and traders with some really interesting stores and outlets such as The Retro Room. Go and have a look around and what bargains and interesting items you can find!
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
The historic central museum of Sunderland, was first opened in 1846, before moving to its current building in 1879, the foundation of which was attended by President of the United States and civil war hero Ulysses Grant. This beautiful museum showcases our local history and has a fantastic collection of both historic, scientific and geological exhibits.
Part of the facility encompasses the famous Winter Gardens, a gigantic greenhouse containing exotic plants and trees from around the world. A reconstruction of a previous facility that was destroyed in World War II, the Winter Gardens were re-opened by the late Queen Elizabeth II during her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Both this and the museum make a great choice for a day out.
Next to the museum sits Mowbray Park, the central park of the city of Sunderland. A fabulous Victorian era park, Mowbray Park is known as one of the best city parks outside of London and captures the beauty of its era with its lion sculptures, bandstands, ornate decorations and well maintained flower arrangements. The park has a children’s play area, statues of notable Sunderland figures such as Henry Havelock and Jack Crawford, and contains the city’s Cenotaph.
Sunderland Minster & Town Park
To the west side of Sunderland City Centre sits the Sunderland Minster Church and the Town Park, the latter which was built in 2021. Although small in scope, the church is of high historical significance as marks the centre of the ancient Bishopwearmouth Community, having been first built in the Anglo-Saxon era, with the reconstructed park around it representing the medieval village green.
Keel Square, opened in 2015, is a public plaza dedicated to the city’s Maritime heritage. Across the square runs an iron strip known as “The Keel Line” which lists every single ship ever built on the River Wear. To the Northwest side, sits a sculpture dedicated to the former Vaux Brewery crafted by Ray Lonsdale. The plaza has been incorporated as part of a council strategy to build a new “core” of the city, and sits in the middle of a rapidly developing area. Around it sits the new City Hall, the Fire Station Bar & Auditorium, a soon to open portfolio of bars and restaurants in the new Holiday Inn Hotel Building, as well as what will be a new “Culture House”.
Sunderland Empire Theatre
The Sunderland Empire Theatre, opened in 1905, is one of the most prestigious theatres in the North East of England, and the only venue in the region which that is properly equipped to support all London West End Musicals, this has recently included Wicked, the Lion King, the Book of Mormon, Shrek and many more. Don’t miss out on seeing a show here, or simply come to have a look at the marvel of this beautiful Baroque design building and the neighbouring pub, the Dun Cow.