As Sunderland residents, we’re all use to the reality that Newcastle has been the dominant regional centre for centuries and as a result, has a monopoly over transport infrastructure. The fact that Newcastle has an airport has long been a subject of gloating over us (even though the City of Sunderland owns a stake in it). Here at SGM however, we’re now fighting to promote Sunderland as an alternative and revamp its image. In this article, we’re exploring ways to travel to Sunderland without having to “go through Newcastle” to show that we are in fact more connected and independent than often assumed.
1) Grand Central Rail from London Kings Cross
For a long time Sunderland didn’t have any rail links to the capital due to its estrangement from the East Coast Main line. However, that hasn’t been the case since at least 2008. Grand Central Railway offers a swift and direct route from London’s Kings Cross to Sunderland with multiple trains every day. The journey takes about three hours and the price is actually far, far cheaper than LNER routes.
2) Northern trains from York
If you live in North Yorkshire you can also reach Sunderland directly from the city of York. Whilst the above mentioned Grand Central Railway runs on this route too, you can also opt for the even cheaper Northern railway service which lasts about an hour and a half, with tickets as little as £10 per way. This makes Sunderland a good day trip to consider instead of Newcastle.
3) Get a bus from the City of Durham
Instead of going all the way to Newcastle, if you want to include the glorious city of Durham in your trip to the North East (and we couldn’t possibly recommend not doing so) then it is possible to get a train to the city of Durham and getting a direct bus from there to Sunderland. The “Prince Bishops” GoNorthEast bus services, numbered 20, 20X and 20A, all head to Sunderland and terminate at Park Lane Bus Station. The journey is about 45 minutes as it also includes the Rainton villages and Houghton-le-spring.
4) National Express and MegaBus run from other cities to Sunderland
If you’re on a budget are a coach kind of person and have more time available, then it is straightforward to book the National Express or MegaBus Coach services from major cities all around England to Sunderland. Both companies run a service starting at London Victoria Bus station (typically stopping at Milton Keynes, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool) which stops at Sunderland. It is also possible to reach Wearside through these services from Birmingham, Manchester, Coventry, Sheffield, Oxford and Leeds too. These journeys are of course lengthy.
5) Or Simply Drive up on the A1
The last of course is the most obvious. If you have a car, simply drive. The far west of the city of Sunderland in Washington is located on the primary A1 motorway, connecting it directly to both London and Edinburgh. We recommend taking it northbound all the way to the city of Durham and then exiting onto the A690, which will then take you straight into Sunderland City Centre. It is not as long, obscure or indirect as you imagine.