A modern, bustling and modern city, Sunderland has come a long way from the days when it was a coal-mining, ship-building industrial town. Over the past few decades, regeneration projects have seen the city shake off its grimy image and reinvent itself as an inspired northern metropolis - helped by the transformation of nearby city Newcastle - and the perfect spot for a UK trip.
This reinvention has been largely assisted by the creation of the University of Sunderland in 1992, which injected a new source of income into the city and brought a new generation of bright young things to the area.
Sunderland is a well-connected city. It is located within easy distance of both Durham Tees Valley and Newcastle International Airports, which have connections to hubs in European cities and many domestic locations. The direct light rail link with Newcastle International airport makes this hub a particularly convenient option for travellers.
Visitors arriving in Sunderland by train can enjoy direct connections between the city and York, from where they can change to London King's Cross. There is also a direct service to Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham. There are services from the city to Middleborough and Carlisle. Furthermore, Newcastle's Metro service is connected to Sunderland, putting the two cities within easy and inexpensive reach of each other.
Motorists arriving in Sunderland from the south can take the A1, leaving this road at Junction 62, signposted Durham, and continue along the A690 to the city centre, until reaching the A10.
From the north, motorists should also take the A1 past the Angel of the North and eave at the junction signposted A1231 and then follow this road until the A19 roundabout.
There is also a park and ride scheme operated on Sunderland AFC match days, which is free to home and away supporters.
Why Visit Sunderland?
Sunderland is a diverse city with a wide range of attractions. It boasts a beautiful coastline just a short drive out of the city centre, a vast range of retail facilities and cultural attractions, such as the Sunderland Empire Theatre, which is the only venue between Leeds and Edinburgh large enough to host West End shows.
For history buffs, St Peter's Church is a must visit. This Anglo-Saxon building in Monkwearmouth is one of the UK's oldest stone-built churches, dating back to 674AD, and its tower and west wall are still intact. The site is currently bidding to be considered for UNESCO Heritage Site status.