Category Archives: Travel

Date Destinations in Sunderland

Sunderland offers numerous places and activities that are sure to make for a perfect date. Whether you are a fan of the old school dinner dates, or into something a bit more unorthodox, such as rock-climbing, Sunderland is sure to hold the perfect destination!

Frankie & Benny’s

If you are going for a classic restaurant date, try checking out Frankie & Benny’s: New York Italian Restaurant and Bar. Breakfast items include things such as hash browns, pancakes, omelets, and of course, bacon. Moving on to lunch, you can find Philly cheeseburgers, crispy coated chicken strips, meatballs Italiano, and BLT wraps on the menu. Dinner options include things like calamari, Cajun chicken bake, carbonara, various burgers and sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and steaks. And to top it all off, we have the desert menu. This features various waffle deserts, chocolate brownie fudge cake, toffee pudding, apple pie, sundaes, and cheesecakes.

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Theatre

For a more formal date, The Royalty Theatre is an ideal location. The Royalty Theatre is one of the only establishments in the city of Sunderland that provides on-stage dramatic plays. The theatre hosts various plays all throughout the year. The establishment is also home to some social activities as well. On Saturdays, Royalty Theatre offers something called Quiz Nights. Members and nonmembers alike are welcomed to join in on the puzzles, quizzes, and pictures.

Go Karting

For something more adventurous, check out Karting North East. As the name implies, Karting North East is a massive go-kart track. There are two adult tracks. The first is 850 meters, and the second is 1200 meters. Both tracks feature various twists and turns, and last for approximately 30 minutes. Karting North East also features other attractions as well. Amongst these is a 4×4 off road driving course. For 30 minutes to an hour, you can drive an ex-army Landrover off track into a course that has numerous turns, steep inclines, and water pits. If you are looking for something a bit more ‘hands on’ they also offer paintball and archery/tomahawk throwing. The paint ball arena is built into the side of a hill, and is constructed in a way where the general public can look down and watch your game. It is built as a War World II battle scenario, which features gun positions, sandbag trenches, and machine gun nests. You are given approximately two hours of game play. And last, but not least, we come to the archery and tomahawk department. You can do just one, or both of the activities. If neither of you have experience, don’t worry, the course comes with an instructor to guide you.

Rock Climbing

Want to try something new together? The Sunderland Climbing Centre is just the place to go. There are outdoor climbing courses available during the summer. However, there are indoor courses offered year round. If you or your paramour have no experience, they offer an introductory course. After completing basic training and going through the safety requirements and information, you are free to climb unsupervised for as long as you would like.

These are only but a few examples of what date destinations Sunderland has to offer. Whatever you and your date’s interests may be, Sunderland is guaranteed to have the perfect destination for you.

Children’s Birthday Party Ideas in Sunderland

Do you want to try something different for your child’s birthday party this year? If so, you’re in luck. Sunderland is home to numerous kid-friendly venues that are guaranteed to make any child’s party a fun one. These facilities also hold a bit of fun for adults as well!

The Sunderland Climbing Centre


The Sunderland Climbing Centre is an indoor establishment with bouldering, climbing walls. The Centre features a massive, angled bouldering wall, a dedicated child climbing zone, and a roped climbing area with a unique rock buttress. Don’t have any prior experience in rock climbing? Not a problem!  The Centre has professional instructors that are more than happy to assist you.

The Centre has available a children’s party package. This package caters to groups of 6 to 24 kids that are over the age of 5. The instructors will aid children who need assistance in climbing, and the group at large will be given instructions on safety. They will ensure that the children will not only have fun, but stay safe while doing so! There is also a party room that can be reserved for eating cake and opening presents.

The Centre is not only for children. They have plenty of courses that are perfectly suited for young adults and adults as well! The children aren’t the only ones who should have fun- join in on a climb for yourself!

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Quasar Laser Quest Sunderland

Quasar Laser Quest Sunderland is an indoor laser quest game. Each player is strapped into futuristic body packs and gets his or her own laser. Each game takes place in a 6000 square foot arena! The ‘battle zone’ features raised ramp sections, music, concealing fog, and space-like lighting. The game works by shooting your laser at the opposing team. Every time you manage to hit your target, you will earn 20 points. Be careful though; if you get zapped you’ll be the one losing 20 points!

Quasar Laser Quest offers a birthday adventure package for birthdays. This package includes: two games of laser quest, unlimited orange and blackcurrant squash, choice of a Burger King kid’s meal, and Laser Quest party bags filled with party favors for each guest. They also offer an exclusive adventure package. With the exclusive package, the arena is filled by only you and your party guests- no one else allowed! This package is ideal for larger groups. Laser quest makes for a fun party for all ages.

Karting North East

Karting North East is a rather large, outdoor establishment. They are one of UK’s largest karting experiences. They offer karting, tomahawk throwing, paintball, 4×4, buggies, and archery. Karting North East currently has 5 party packages available. The first package available is the Karting package for children 8 to 12. This package allows children in this age group to use the junior track for an allotted time. Next is the karting package for children 12 to 16. This package is like the first, but the track is much larger. Third, is the paintball package for children 12 and up. The paintball arena is a realistic replica of a WWII scenario. The arena is built in way where spectators can actually watch you play from above! The party package includes 2 hours of gameplay as well as team coded color wear, various amounts of paintballs, face masks, and top notch Tippman guns. Tomahawk throwing and archery make up the fourth package. This package is for children over the age of 12, and it gives you and your guests exclusive use of the firing range. Professional instructors are there to assist or teach children, as well as give safety instructions. Lastly, we have the off road 4×4 package. This includes ex-army Landrovers (equipped with seatbelts). The course includes sharp angles, steep inclines, large rocks, and water.

The Best Places to Visit and Learn about Sunderland’s Heritage

Whether you are a tourist, or even a local resident of Sunderland, it may interest you to know that Sunderland has a number of different facilities that are dedicated to teaching the public about Sunderland’s amazing heritage.

St. Peters Church

A Northumbrian nobleman named Benedict Biscop created this beautiful establishment in the seventh century. It is one of the first churches in England to be solely built from stone. The church displays original stained glass that was crafted in the seventh century by a European craftsman, making St. Peters the owners of the largest stained glass collectors in Europe. Inside, you will find beautifully crafted arch ways and perfectly sculpted stone columns. St. Peters is also home to Bede’s Bakehouse, who’s menu includes: salads, paninis, filled jacket potatoes, soups, fish, fruit salad, sandwiches, pudding, teas, coffee, and cake.

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Hylton Castle

Hylton Castle was built by Sir William Hylton just before 1400. The castle was built with the intent of showing the Hylton family’s wealth. The remaining part of the castle still standing is the gatehouse tower. The gatehouse tower was a rectangular structure with four stories, and it is where the Hylton family resided. The exterior of the west side of the castle held four square turrets with projecting octagonal crowns. The east side exterior proudly showed the stars and stripes shield of the Washington family. While only the gatehouse has survived, Hylton Castle is available for tourists.

The Watch House Museum

The Rocker Watch House created in 1906 and served as headquarters of the Rocker Volunteer Life Brigade. It was built with a lookout point so that the Brigade members could keep watch over the harbor, beaches, and piers north of the river. The watch house contains large amounts of information and artifacts from the Brigade’s 130 year history. The Brigade opens the Watch House as a Museum every Sunday afternoon as well as Bank Holiday Mondays, and entrance is free.

The Watch House displays memorabilia from ships that came to grief around the coast and harbor. You can also see numerous photos, various model boats, and information on the rescues. A plaque commemorating the sinking of the City of Benares in which nine children died is also on display. There are also younger children activities as well, which include: coloring books, Morse code, drawing paper, and educational DVDS. Drinks are available for sale, as well as biscuits, crisps, and sweets. Mementos such as pennates, hats, lapel pins, and car stickers are also available.

Bowes Railway

Bowes Railway is the only operational preserved standard gauge rope-hauled railway in the world. It was 15 miles by the time it was completed in 1855. The railway hauled over 1 million tons of coal per year. Currently, the railway is open to the public. The entire railway, including the buildings, rolling stocks, and machinery is now considered and ancient monument. It is run by the Bowes Railway Company, Ltd, and is a registered charity.

These are just a few of the old museums and monuments Sunderland has to offer. Sunderland holds many places of interests, and is more than happy to share its heritage with you!

The History behind Sunderland

In the Beginning

The first inhabitants in Sunderland’s area are thought to be Stone Age hunters and gatherers. While in the final stage during the Stone Age, Hastings Hill (on the western outskirts of Sunderland) was a large center of activity. It is believed to be a place of ritual significance and burial. It is thought that the Brigantes occupied the surrounding lands of River Wear during pre- and post- Roman era. There are recorded settlements at the Wear’s mouth dated to be around 674; this is at the same time Benedict Biscop was given land by the king of Northumbria. This land was founded as Wearmouth-Jarrow (now known as St. Peter’s) monastery. This area was then called Monkwearmouth. The community was overtaken in 686 by Coelfrid. Wearmouth-Jarrow was then known to be a major learning and knowledge cetre.

Vikings raided the coast line in the late 8th century. The monastery had been abandoned by the middle of the 9th century. In 930, Athelstan of England granted lands south to the river to the Bishop of Durham. The lands were then known as Bishopwearmouth. In 1100, Bishopwearmouth parish was home to a fishing village known as ‘Soender-land’ (later known as ‘Sunderland’). Hugh Pudsey and the Bishop of Durham granted a charter for the settlement of Soender-land in 1179

By the late 16th century, Sunderland was creating and trading salt, as well as trading quality coal by port.

Sunderland in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries

In 1642, King Charles I gave the deeds to Newcastle concerning the East of England coal trade. This created conflict for Sunderland, as it had begun to develop as a coal-trading town. It shaped resentment towards the monarchy and Newcastle. In 1644 a Scottish army sided with the king’s enemies and stationed themselves at Sunderland. Fighting occurred between the monarchy’s troops and the troops dedicated to Newcastle’s Marquess who waged war against them. The encounter of the most significance occurred in the areas of Boldon and Offerton. The River Tyne was blockaded, damaging the Newcastle coal trade. This caused Sunderland’s Coal trade to prosper. Due to the hardship of trying to traverse the Wear’s shallow waters, the coal was transferred into large boats and taken downstream to the awaiting colliers.

In 1719 the three settlements Bishopwearmouth, Monkwearmouth, and Sunderland began to combine. The settlement was flourishing due to the success of shipbuilding along the banks of the river, salt panning, and the port of Sunderland. Sunderland became known as ‘Sunderland-near-the-sea’.

The cholera epidemic began in 1831, and once called, the church councilmen were unable to handle the situation. Sunderland was the first town in Britain to be struck with cholera. Sunderland was quarantined. The port was blockaded soon after. However, this did not stop the spreading of cholera, as it spread to Gateshead. It then proceeded to spread rapidly across the entire country. After the church councilmen’s lack of governance during the cholera epidemic, the townsmen demanded an organized government. Thusly so, in 1835, the Borough of Sunderland was created.

From the 20th Century to Now

In 1939 during World War II, Sunderland fell prey to the German Luftwaffe. This took the lives of approximately 267 people. It caused severe damage and destroyed countless homes. Sunderland began developing more housing after the war. By 1967 the town’s boundaries expanded when Castletown, Herrington, Ryhope, Silksworth, and South Hylton were absorbed into Sunderland. In 1992, Sunderland finally gained city status.

Today, Sunderland is a thriving city in North East England- rich with heritage and culture.