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The local area guide to living in Houghton-le-Spring

A small town in North-East England, Houghton-le-Spring can trace its history to Norman times. It is part of the City of Sunderland government district, conveniently positioned, with just a 20-minute drive from the city centre. Houghton-le-Spring is also part of the County of Durham and Tyne and Wear, with Durham within easy reach. This former mining town is shortened to Houghton locally which is pronounced Ho-Ton. Houghton’s coal mining industry was once the heart of the town. The local mine opened in 1823 and remained active right through until 1981, employing over 2,000 workers at its peak.

Houghton’s historic traditions are kept alive in today’s modern community with special events like the annual Houghton Feast. This draws visitors from around the region for 10 days of feasting and festivities. Highlights include a traditional ox roast, carnival parade, tattoo parlour, fairground, and fireworks. The festival dates back to the 12th century, originally dedicated to St. Michael and donned “Michaelmas.” Throughout the year, residents gather in local pubs and eateries, browse on the thriving high street, and enjoy local recreational facilities including the Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club.

Information about the local residents

The population of Houghton at the time of the 2011 Census was 11,241, with a 48.4% male and 51.6% female breakdown.

Unemployment levels are relatively low, with 93% of residents between the ages of 16-74 working in some capacity. With Newcastle, Sunderland, and Durham all in close proximity, many professionals commute to one of these locations.

42.60% of residents in the small town rate their health as “very good”. This may be slightly below the English national average but is still very significant.

Nearby Schools

Founded by “Apostle of the North” Bernard Gilpin in 1574, the Kepier School is Houghton-le-Spring’s main secondary school. It’s coeducational, offering BTECs, GCSEs, and OCR Nationals. There’s also a five-year football academy on offer at the school, which is well-known to young athletes. Kepier’s facilities are top-notch, including a full size football and rugby pitch, conference rooms, a sports hall, a dance studio, rugby pitches, and a gymnasium. The most recent Ofsted inspection was in 2016, and the school was rated “Good” in all areas.

Primary-aged pupils in Houghton-le-Spring have a wealth of options in the immediate area. A few of the most centrally located primaries include Bernard Gilpin Primary, Burnside Primary, Newbottle Primary, and St Michael’s RC Primary schools. These are primarily “good” according to Ofsted.

Getting Around

Nestled in the junction of the A690 and A182 near the A1 motorway, Houghton-le-Spring is well-connected to the surrounding region. Both Sunderland and Durham city centres are a short drive away, with Newcastle-upon-Tyne 40 minutes away by car. It’s also easy to get around by public transport, with train and bus links connecting Houghton-le-Spring to neighbouring villages and the larger city of Sunderland. From Sunderland, residents can access the Tyne and Wear Metro and national rail services. Both Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley Airports are within easy reach, providing air transport to destinations throughout the UK and abroad.

Local Shops

Houghton-le-Spring’s bustling high street offers residents an array of brand-name shops and independent retailers. There are basic amenities including chemists, barber shops, bank branches, a library, and a post office. An M & Co, Superdrug, and iTech phone shop sit next to bike repair services and charity shops. The main shopping areas in town are along Newbottle, Grey, and Sunderland Streets, creating a lively village atmosphere.

Sunderland’s city centre is within easy reach, providing more extensive shopping facilities. The Bridges Shopping Centre is a modern mall with numerous high street names from Topshop to H&M, as well as numerous cafes. There are also plenty of locally owned stores. Park Lane Shopping Village and Jacky Whites Market are two local favourites, easily accessible from Houghton-le-Spring.

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

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