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Once known as a dull industrial coal-mining town in the north east of the country, Sunderland has managed to shake off the proverbial cinders and reinvent itself as a modern up-and-comer with some great attractions. And what a fine job it has done. Home to such cultural landmarks as the National Glass Centre, Sunderland is definitely a city worth spending some time in. Sunderland is, however, also the perfect place from which to explore the rest of the northeast of England. Many towns often go unnoticed in this region, but travellers based in Sunderland have the rare opportunity to experience the northeast’s charm and beauty first hand.
Who to Book With
Tourists in Sunderland have many choices when it comes to car rental, with most of the well-known names having a presence in the city. Popular companies include Avis, Budget, Hertz and Sixt. Online bookings are an option with all of these companies, offering great savings throughout the year.
Best Time to go
The climate in Sunderland, as with most other northern parts of the country, is quite erratic, but travellers can generally bank on a warm summer and a cold, foggy winter. The peak season in the city spans the summer months from June to August. As the temperatures rise, so do the prices, however, so booking accommodation and car rentals in advance is a good idea.
Need to Know Essentials
Don’t forget to bring the following documents along when collecting your rental car:
- An International Driving Permit or a valid UK driving licence
- The credit card used when making the initial booking
- Another form of photographic identification, such as an ID card or a passport
- The rental agreement
Sunderland is an easy city to get around with its extensive and well-maintained network of roads. While the city centre is small enough to be navigated on foot, the outskirts definitely need to be explored with a vehicle. Parking in the city is not too complicated, although neither is it free. The city does not operate an official park-and-ride scheme, but has provided many parking garages and parking lots around the city. On-street parking is available, but usually at a higher rates than those charged at official parking lots.
The sites in Sunderland city centre are easily navigated on foot, but travellers who prefer motorised forms of transport can make use of the efficient and comprehensive public transport system if not renting a car. The city has reliable train, bus and taxi services.
The city is serviced by the Tyne and Wear Metro, which operates both locally and regionally, travelling as far afield as Newcastle. Sunderland Central Station is the main station in the city and also one of the main places for buying tickets. Tickets can also be bought from any of the other platforms in the city but need to be validated before boarding.
Taxis provide a speedy way of getting around Sunderland. The taxis in the city are metered, but the rates per kilometre are quite reasonable. All taxis in the city can simply be hailed from the side of the road. They can also be found waiting at the central train station. Alternately, you can book a taxi in advance with companies like Station Taxis.
Sunderland is well-known for its efficient network of local buses. Travelling by bus in the city is not only convenient but also very cheap. Park Lane Interchange is the main station in the city and also one of the busiest in the country. Single-journey tickets can be bought on the actual vehicles, while seasonal passes need to be bought at stations and kiosks.
Sunderland is located in the northeast of England and is well placed for those looking to do some independent exploring. While the city itself has a great deal to offer, Sunderland’s surrounds are filled with great historical sites, cultural landmarks and stunning examples of the region’s natural beauty.
Herrington Country Park - There are many lovely open areas that are perfect for a picnic or a day out in the fresh air. One such area is Herrington Country Park, set just on the outskirts of the city. A highlight for both locals and travellers each year is the Party in the Park, which brings together musicians and artists from around the city.
Penshaw Monument - Right next to Herrington Country Park is the Penshaw Monument. The monument is located right on top of Penshaw Hill, and if you are feeling energetic, you are more than welcome to make the climb. The view from the top of the surrounding countryside with its quaint villages is quite remarkable.
Bede’s World - Anyone interested in general history should make a turn at Bede’s World. Bede’s World, situated a little outside of Sunderland, is a museum dedicated to Venerable Bede, the famous historian and known to many as the father of the practice of English History.