Want a home by award-winning beaches and close to Newcastle? Sunderland is the answer, with homes that also offer value for money.
Where is Sunderland?
Sunderland sits on the coast and has two award-winning beaches at Roker and Seaburn. The city is also close to the vast open spaces of Northumberland and the North Pennines, which attract thousands of visitors seeking an outdoor escape.
Sunderland is a favourite among home-buyers with a budget because of its affordability. The average property price is around £139,000, a snip of Tyne and Wear's average of £173,000. You can check the latest prices with the Zoopla House Price Tool.
Want to learn more about the county? Read our informative guide on Tyne and Wear to discover what it has to offer.
Living in Sunderland: what to expect
Sunderland was once the largest shipbuilding town in the world and the port is still one of the biggest in the UK. Today, international automotive, IT and financial services centres are some of the key employers, along with retail and manufacturing companies.
The city is increasingly cosmopolitan and its residents show a keen interest in the arts. This has been bolstered by £1bn of public and private investment for projects planned until 2024.
Away from Sunderland's bustling city centre are its unspoilt beaches. The seafront is renowned for its smart promenades and golden sands, which give way to a wild coastline.
Sunderland's educational offering draws both families and students. Families will can take advantage of schools such as Ryhope Junior School and St John Bosco Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School. Both have been rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted. For further education, there's the University of Sunderland, which teaches almost 13,000 students.
Top places to start your property search
If you’re looking for houses for sale in Sunderland that are within walking distance of the centre, start in the areas around one of the parks.
Ashbrooke is one of the most desirable places to live. It’s close to Backhouse Park and Sunderland station as well as some good schools.
Queen Alexandra Road, Ashbrooke Range and Belford Terrace are also among the most sought-after addresses. You’ll find examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture in this area, ideal if you're looking for a bigger family home or an apartment within a period conversion.
If you’re looking for purpose-built contemporary apartments, developments such as those on John Street in the heart of the city, Aylesford Mews within the Greystoke Estate, and Orchard House, in Belford Close, are worth a look.
Alternatively, check out what’s on offer around Kensington House and The Croft on Thornholme Road, which is close to the university and Park Lane Metro station.
The Barnes and High Barnes areas are among the best places to live if you need to be close to Sunderland city centre. Barnes' infant and junior schools have a good reputation and the area is within walking distance of Sunderland Royal Hospital and local shops on Chester Road.
If your preference is for a new-build family home with a garage, the development at Maiden Vale may be the perfect place to find what you’re looking for. It's located between Ryhope and Tunstall, south of Sunderland's city centre.
On the coast: Close to Sunderland University’s St Peter’s campus, Roker, Fulwell Road and Seaburn give buyers and renters options for coastal living close to the city.
Houses here range from charming late-19th-century terraced cottages or character shoulder-to-shoulder terraces to exclusive executive detached homes. The most desirable boast a beach frontage.
Villages: Further out, Cleadon village is a self-contained community with its own shops, pubs and restaurants. East Boldon Metro station is close by and the village has good road links to the rest of the area.
Look out for 1960s homes on the Sandgrove development, which come with established gardens, picture windows and spacious rooms. You’ll find period properties of all descriptions along Sunniside Lane, Sunniside Terrace and Elmsleigh Gardens. A thatched cottage occasionally comes up for sale, but these are a rarity and highly sought after.
If a country house or converted barn is on your list, villages such as Offerton, between Sunderland and Washington, are worth a look, particularly if you plan to commute. It’s a stone’s throw from the A19, A1(M) and A690, with quick access to Newcastle Airport, which is under 15 miles away.
Whitburn is a good place to find upmarket properties with views of the coastline and the Cleadon Hills. The village is three miles from Sunderland city centre and has its own primary and Church of England academy schools.
Best ways to get around Sunderland
By rail: Sunderland has a station on the Tyne and Wear Metro light railway, which includes stops at Whitley Bay, the Stadium of Light, Gateshead Stadium, Newcastle’s suburbs and shopping centres, and Newcastle airport and ports.
The Sunderland to London King’s Cross direct train takes three hours 30 minutes from Sunderland train station. An alternative route via Newcastle Central can be done within a similar journey time. Sunderland to Edinburgh takes two hours 20 minutes.
By car: Sunderland is linked to Hartlepool and Middlesbrough by the A19 south. The road joins the A1 to the north of Newcastle and from there you can travel on to Edinburgh via Alnwick and Berwick-upon-Tweed. Sunderland to London takes around five hours via the A1(M).
By air: Sunderland is 20 miles from Newcastle International Airport, which takes about 30 minutes by car and an hour by rail. Operators include easyJet, British Airways, Ryanair and KLM, which fly to destinations all over Europe.
Best things to do in Sunderland
Sport: By far the biggest sports draw is Sunderland’s football ground, the Stadium of Light. The club inspires some of the highest home attendances in England and a passionate following. Close by is an aquatic centre with a 10-lane Olympic swimming pool plus diving arena, exercise studio, gym and multi-purpose sports hall.
Watersports and other high-octane pursuits are on offer at the marine activities centre in Roker Park. Many offer start-up sessions for beginners as well as classes for the experienced. Visitors can try paddleboarding, kayaking, pier jumping, archery and indoor climbing.
Cultural: The Empire is the largest theatre in the North East and draws big West End musicals and other shows. Plans for a new 400-seater auditorium in Sunderland are also in progress. Once complete, the city will have its own major music venue in addition to the Old Fire Station, which is being turned into a theatre and dance studio.
In the meantime, the Stadium of Light hosts huge gigs for global stars like Beyoncé, Bruce Springsteen and Take That. Alternative smaller indie venues can be discovered at The Bunker and Independent.
Outdoors: The Sunderland coastline and seafront are a major part of city life and more than £7m has been earmarked for improvements to the area. Roker Pier and the lighthouse, which are among Sunderland’s most iconic landmarks, have already been restored.
Sunderland has nearly 30 different parks in and around the centre, each with a different feel. Barnes Park is the biggest urban park in the city, stretching around two miles along a stream It has a bandstand, tennis courts, bowling greens, play areas and a café.
Herrington Country Park is popular among families, dog-walkers and cyclists. The park is also a used for open-air concerts.
Roker Park, next to the coast, has a model boating lake, a model railway and a basketball court, as well as water features and seven hectares of leisure features to enjoy.
Shopping: The Bridges shopping centre has 100 stores including TK Maxx, H&M, River Island and Debenhams. The High Street and the pedestrianised streets stretching off it are also lined with several national favourites as well as independent shops and cafés.
For even more shops, bars and restaurants, you can hop on a train and be in the centre of Newcastle in just 30 minutes.
Food and drink: Restaurants in Sunderland include quirky eateries such as The Scullery, a café/bistro that transforms into a modern Italian kitchen in the evening. All food is home-cooked and ranges from a 'Scullery' breakfast to rack of lamb.
Restaurant D'Acqua is another eclectic place to eat. It's based in a Grade II-listed cellar in the former Sunderland and South Tyneside Water Board building. It serves an enticing mix of English, French and Italian cuisine.
For drinks, Poetic License is a popular bar. It has both ales and craft beer from local and national breweries, including its own home-brewed Sonnet 43 beers. The bar also makes its own spirits, which are used in its classic and inspired cocktails.
An underground tunnel runs between Roker Pier and the beach. Used for sea rescues and to enable the lighthouse keeper to get to the lighthouse, the tunnel is considered a feat of Edwardian engineering. Plans are now in place to open it up to the public.
5 reasons to live in Sunderland
- Lively arts scene with plenty of earmarked investment
- Great value property market
- Easy road and rail connections to Newcastle, Durham and Scotland
- Large number of parks and open spaces
- Close to stunning beaches
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Sunderland has plenty to recommend it – do you agree? Let us know either way in the comments below...