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Sunderland, UK

Welcome to Sunderland – the city by the sea. This metropolitan city port was thrilled to welcome the international Tall Ships fleet, as the starting host port of the Tall Ships Races 2018.

From beautiful beaches and countryside, to theatres, museums and galleries, there was plenty to see and do for visitors and crews in Sunderland.

Sunderland is a friendly, bustling city set right on the coast and at the mouth of the River Wear. It boasts wide sandy beaches and acres of relaxing and invigorating green spaces. The city’s cultural offer includes the acclaimed Sunderland Empire Theatre, the National Glass Centre, and the fascinating Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

This proud city has a fascinating history for visitors to discover, outstanding sporting attractions to enjoy (that include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a ski slope, and a bustling sailing community at the marina), and boasts a family friendly programme of events and festivals to entertain all year round. Entertainment venues within the city centre include a multi-screen cinema complex, ten pin bowling and Laser Quest – the ultimate sci-fi action adventure for all ages.

Did you know… blockbuster West End shows are staged at the Sunderland Empire, the biggest theatre between Edinburgh and Manchester?

Sunderland is a city that knows how to enjoy itself, and with an exciting choice of restaurants, pubs and clubs to suit every taste and style, there’s no shortage of places to have a good time. The city’s vibrant underground music scene continues to grow and is well worth exploring, with numerous venues playing host to new and national talent.

Known as an “event city,” Sunderland has a long history of delivering safe, spectacular events that include world renowned music acts such as Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen, Take That, Coldplay, Beyonce, and One Direction at the impressive Stadium of Light – home to Sunderland’s Premiership Football Club. The thrilling Sunderland International Airshow is a free annual event that welcomes more than one million visitors to the city, and celebrated its 30th anniversary just two weeks after the Tall Ships Races 2018 visited Sunderland.

Did you know… Sunderland’s Friendship Agreement with Washington DC makes it the only city in Europe to enjoy such a relationship with the world’s most powerful city? Washington Old Hall is home to the direct ancestors of the first president of the United States of America.

Sunderland is proud of its maritime heritage – thousands of ships have been built in the riverside yards. The Tall Ships Races 2018 in Sunderland celebrated both this rich past, and the exciting cultural renaissance that Sunderland has enjoyed more recently. Welcome to Sunderland!

From the Sea

The city sits at the mouth of the River Wear, with direct access to and from the sea…it couldn’t be easier! The Port of Sunderland, the U.K.’s second largest municipally owned port, is a bustling hive of industry with a growing trade portfolio.


Fast Northern Rail trains link Sunderland’s railway station with Newcastle and Teesside, with trains travelling to and from Gateshead Metro Centre, Hexham and Carlisle.

The Metro rapid-transit system provides fast rail travel between the Wearside and Tyneside conurbations and a direct connection with Newcastle International Airport.

As well as connections with mainline and cross-country routes via Newcastle linking with major U.K. cities, Sunderland offers a direct service to London by Grand Central Railway which uses high-speed return services via Hartlepool and York.


Sunderland is well served by a network of A roads, which link the city and port with the A1 (M), A1 and A19. These routes in turn provide access to the strategic A66 and A69 cross-country routes. The Tyne Tunnel is accessed via the A19.

Park Lane Interchange in Sunderland city centre is served by the Metro and local/regional bus services, as well as national coach services. The bus station is one of the busiest outside of London.


Newcastle International Airport is situated approximately 30 minutes’ drive from the port. The airport is part-owned by Sunderland City Council. Regular direct flights connect with numerous U.K. and European destinations.

Less than an hour away to the south, Durham Tees Valley Airport also offers flights to a wide variety of locations in the U.K. and Europe.