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Living in Sunderland: The Local Area Guide

A city by the sea, Sunderland offers an abundance of culture, friendly residents and a world-famous air show. Positioned on the River Wear, Sunderland is buzzing with recent growth and regeneration. It’s located just a stone’s throw from Newcastle upon Tyne, featuring golden sandy beaches, as well as verdant countryside on its doorstep. There’s a thriving arts and cultural scene here, with museums and galleries, like the National Glass Centre and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art. The Sunderland Empire Theatre puts on a full calendar of theatrical events and the International Air Show is one of Europe’s largest.

The University of Sunderland creates a youthful, dynamic atmosphere. Quirky shops, cafes and a thriving nightlife keep the city centre exciting. Yet residents also love to relax by the sea. Roker and Seaburn beaches heat up with families enjoying the British summer. The seaside areas of the city offer leisurely promenades and waterside establishments, including trendy bars and restaurants. Another waterside area to explore is along the River Wear. This revamped district offers a Sculpture Trail and a network of parks and pathways to explore.


Sunderland draws a mix of different ages and demographics. Some are drawn to the city for its excellent value for money, while others enjoy the education and culture. The university’s presence ensures there’s a high percentage of students in the city. Although employment levels in Sunderland are lower than the UK average, it’s higher than comparable northern cities such as Liverpool and Birmingham.

The employment rate is 65%. Average gross weekly pay is generally on par with the UK average, with the average resident taking home £482.30 weekly in 2015. Life expectancy is equal to the Scottish average, at an age of 77 for men and 81 for women. This is slightly lower than the average in England.

Sources: 2011 Census, Department of Work and Pensions & uSwitch analysis data.


As a growing city, numerous schools have sprouted up to meet the needs of Sunderland’s families. In a recent count by the council, this included 18 secondary schools as well as 83 primary schools.

One notable secondary school is the Whitburn Church of England Academy, which was consistently deemed ‘outstanding’ in Ofsted reports. Local University of Sutherland has invested £130 million on improvements to its campus, and has won numerous awards for its high quality of education. The Times Higher Education Awards has placed it on the shortlist for University of the Year.


The compact city centre is simple to navigate on foot. Sunderland also enjoys a well-organized network of Nexus-managed buses, and the Tyne and Wear Metro connects it to the coast, Newcastle and Gateshead. The Sunderland Connect Bus is designed to stop at many of the area’s main tourist attractions, but is also useful for residents. It’s free for students.

Those travelling by car will find the national A1 motorway within close reach. This connects Sunderland with Scotland to the north and London to the south. Sunderland’s rail station offers direct services to London Kings Cross, Darlington, Hartlepool, York and other national destinations.

Amenities & Shopping

Whether it’s shopping, dining or nightlife, there’s a wide range of services on offer within Sunderland’s heaving city centre. The Bridges is a new shopping mall, located indoors with parking available. It’s home to over 90 high street retailers, along with a Tesco superstore for grocery shopping. Jacky Whites Market is located within the shopping centre, with independent stalls providing an exciting array of crafts and bargains to explore. The area surrounding The Bridges centre is also filled to the brim with independent boutiques, vintage emporiums and stylish cafés.

There are pockets of economic activity outside of the main city centre as well. A number of areas within Sunderland have recently been revamped as part of a larger city regeneration. This has created new dining and entertainment districts, like the east end’s Sunniside area. Here you’ll find a brand new multiplex cinema, bowling lanes and a number of trendy restaurants.

Whilst every effort has been taken to ensure the above information is up to date, some inaccuracies may occur. If you notice any inaccuracies please contact

p>All information was correct at time of publication and is provided in good faith

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