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      06.02.2011 20:18
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      A nice little city that im proud to be from

      I'd like to start by setting out two things, Firstly the title sunny Sunderland is a bit of a mis truth as the weather can often be terrible but that's the same anywhere in the U.K. Secondly I am from Sunderland, born here lived here and probably plan to live here til the day I die (hopefully no time soon) so i do clearly posses a bit of bias but I will give an absolute honest story of the city.

      The city is now more diverse with relation to religion and ethnicity mainly down to the expansion and improvement of the Uni bringing in people from around the world as before it was a lot less so but just like anyone else not from round here they do tend to find it easy to settle in and make friend's.

      The city now is home to approximately 290,000 people and here are some of the reason's why people choose to live here:

      ***History***

      The city is filled with history and landmarks are dotted around this fairly large place. From Penshaw monument visible on the highest point of the city seen from miles around to st peters church in the heart of the city recognised as one of the oldest churches in the country and still in brilliant condition.

      Historically the cities main sources of work were ship building and mining. During the 80's majority of the mines that were used for many years and homes to thousands of workers were closed leaving many jobless and the ship building industry slowly dwindled after the end of the world wars and with the recent trend for companies to take business abroad due to cheaper labour. The city has had to cope with this massive void in jobs and luckily plugged it with the massive Nissan car factory located on the fringe of the city and now the most productive car plant in Europe, also service jobs and wave upon wave of new call centres have helped ensure the city stayed on its feet.

      Sunderland paid a vital role in the world wars and was one of the biggest contributors of ships which sadly resulted in it being targeted many times by bomb raids.

      If you were to take a stroll through the city or speak to someone from here you would recognise a very strong accent which I can imagine would be difficult to totally understand. You would hear the phrase "makem" and this is what a person from Sunderland is referred as. Newcastle have Geordies we have makems. The term Makem comes from Sunderland's ship building past where the ports here would make the ships then be taken away. Make them would be pronounced "Makk em" by people up here.

      It is widely know that a bad bit of Sunderland's History is that it is the birth place of cholera. Not one of the Cities proudest accolade's im sure but it is official that in 1831 the first case of the disease was found in this city.

      Historically there has always been a big rivalry with local neighbours Newcastle which stems from not only close geography but also the two cities split traditionally in religious views where Sunderland was the majority protestant whilst Newcastle was more catholic. The rivalry is still as fierce as ever to this day which I will cover later.

      ***Sport***

      If there's one thing the North East see's as one of life's important thing's its sports. Football, Cricket, Rugby so on the area in general is mad about it's sport and in Sunderland there is alot of places to facilitate for visitors or people moving here.

      A brand new Olympic sized swimming pool has been opened in the shadows of the stadium of light and boasts being the only olympic sized pool north of Sheffield. It is confirmed also that this aquatic centre with a gym will be the base area for many of the 2012's Olympic swimming teams.

      I touched there upon the Stadium of Light. This is a 48,000 seater stadium home to Sunderland's football team but also the venue for other events like music, wedding's, graduation's and boxing amongst many others. Built in 1997 and first used for a football game against Ajax (with entertainment from status quo) it has also hosted England International's most notably the heated match between Turkey and England to qualify for Euro's.

      As in any city there are park's, sport's centres, tennis courts and gyms dotted all over but one notable new development from 2010 was a massive multi million pound investment in the Universities sports facilities with the universities aim to be at the for front of sport science and other sport related studies. I myself took part in American football with the university and played against other uk wide uni's and it is very good at encouraging participation in regular arranged sport.

      If Sunderland doesn't have it then near by will. Durham Cricket team is just a small bus journey away which also hosts England internationals. The metro radio arena often host's basketball and hockey games, Gateshead (European capital of sport) has Gateshead stadium which last year held the European athletics and then there is Sunderland greyhound stadium.

      The sport in and around this city are endless and for those coming to the area looking to fulfil sport need's you will not be disapointed.

      ***Other points of interest***

      First of all I would like to start by mentioning the Sunderland International Airshow which is the the largest free event in Europe of which 500,000 people pour onto the miles of award winning beach to watch air based acrobatics and displays from many aeroplanes and helicopters including the famous Red Arrows and Harrier Fighter jet. Set in late July every year usually with decent weather there is plenty to do there on the ground too with fairgrounds, army stalls, food and so on it really is a great place to visit

      The City is split in Half by the River wear which runs from miles inland through Durham to Sunderland and into the sea. Along this river are many bridges including the more notable Wearmouth bridge which connects both sides and goes straight into the city centre. Along the river and at the end where the river meets the sea is the end point of the Coast to Coast cycle route.

      The seaside stretches for miles and upon it are hotels, recreational fields and restaurants and the beaches here though freezing cold for 80% of the year are wonderful for the small amount of time that they are graced with sunshine and heat. They have also been given awards for there cleanliness and safety.

      Inside the city centre is the Empire theatre, a very old building and one of the cities primary show hosting venues showing plays and comedy acts and recognised as one of the only theatre's outside of London with the capability to host west end shows.

      This June the Stadium of Light will Host stadium shows from the band's Take That and more importantly for me King's of Leon to add to past show's the like's of Oasis and Pink. New small music venues are opening up and there's always the metro radio arena and 02 academy just a short distance away for all you live music lovers

      There is everything in the city that you would expect from anywhere else in the UK an abundance of pubs and drinking establishments, Transport links, good school's, Cinema, Bowling alley, restaurants and a very good and vibrant night life.

      ***Conclusion***

      To southern people there is a general consensus from what iv heard and seen over my relatively short time on earth that the North East is miles away there's nothing there and it's pretty much Scotland as I have been told once in Greece by a person from Portsmouth. But I'd say you can't judge unless you've been here

      Yes like all cities there are rough areas and the region also suffered more then most with the loss of traditional industries however regeneration and investment across the whole region has seen the area come on leaps and bounds with alot more exciting projects due to be coming in the near future.

      There are alot more thing's I could mention but have either forgotten or don;t want too write too much so have cut it out like the Great north 10k run that the city has, the transport links, the bridges shopping centre but i feel iv covered more then enough.

      The people from Sunderland and surroundings are generally very friendly and accepting of people not from here and most of all I like most am proud to be a Makem :)

      Thanks for reading

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        24.03.2010 16:40
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        Great city, great nightlife, great place to be

        Sunderland really isnt as bad as everyone makes out. I have lived here my whole live, and yes it does have its faults, but at the same time, it isnt the worst place in the world to live.

        When people say Sunderland to someone down south, they would probably say where's that. They we would normally reply by saying not that far from Newcastle, everyone knows where Newcastle is. Well Sunderland is located about 10 miles from Newcastle on the North East coast line. In actual fact, Sunderland city is bigger han Newcastle city, not many people know that.

        Sunderland city centre isnt really that bad, we have our own shopping centre, The Bridges, with big name stores, Debenhams, HMV, Tucci and H & M to name just some. Even though we arent famous for our shopping, it is an unknown jewel, and suits us just fine.

        As far as the nightlife goes, Sunderland in one of the best nights out in the North and would rival the likes of Liverpool and Leeds. There are almost 50 bars and nightclubs in the city centre, playing current music, some staying open as late as 6am on a Friday and Saturday. I would must prefer going into town than travelling miles away for a night out. Another thing that people dont know about Sunderland.

        We also have some quite good attractions, like the Winter Gardens, a huge park and museum, which is the perfect place to go in the summer for a picinic. One thing that Sunderland is famous for is the Sunderland International Airshow. This attraction occurs over two days every summer and attracts over a million people. It is the largest free airshow in Europe, and I have to say it is brilliant, a great weekend.

        Sunderland isnt given the credit it deserves, and to be honest is a great city to both visit and live in, of course some people will disagree but that is my opinion. The main source of visitors we have is for either match days at the Stadium of Light, or to see a Westend show at the Sunderland Empire Theatre, the largest between Edinburgh and Leeds.

        To conclude, if you are looking for a weekend getaway, you should give Sunderland some thought, there are plenty of things that you can do, and you definitely wont be disappointed. Newcastle train station is only a 30 minute metro ride, so travelling here couldnt have been made easier. 4 out of 5.

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          24.08.2009 17:48
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          A great place to live

          I have lived in Sunderland all of my life, so this review can hardly be impartial, but I will try to be honest.

          First of all, I can honestly say I love living in Sunderland. The cost of living is low and there is a lot to be proud of in the city. The people who live here make the city what it is, being on the whole friendly and open. Depending largely where you live in the city there is a strong sense of community. Until the recent recession Sunderland felt like a city on the up, with new employment being created and a buzz about the place.

          While Sunderland often lives in the shadow of its larger neighbour Newcastle I find this to be better - our council spends less money on over the top arts projects for starters, and we don't face such an invasion of hen and stag parties on weekends.

          The coastline is the best thing - miles of unspoilt beaches on the doorstep and you are never far from beautiful countryside. There are also decent transport links to bigger cities - the Metro to Newcastle and now direct trains to London.

          However there are some negatives about living in Sunderland, namely the town centre. The shopping is far from ideal, with a Topshop which is no bigger than your average cupboard and not much else. There is also not a lot of variety for nights out and there can be trouble in the town late at night.

          But overall Sunderland is a great place, though maybe it only means anything to those who live there!!

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            22.02.2009 21:09
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            Brilliant city to live in

            In comparision to some of the others cities in this country, Sunderland is small to be honest, but when to compare it to nearby Newcastle which is a lot more famous, Sunderland is a lot bigger. The city centre is full of shops and places to go. It has its own shopping centre, with about 100 stores, some of which include big names like Top Shop, Debamhams, which is huge and at the end of the centre, and a supermarket, Tesco. There are also shops surronding this centres, and it has three main streets of shops. At the edge of the city centre, it has a big bus terminal, where you can get a bus to almost anywhere in the region, and it is said that from Sunderland you can travel all over the country, but of course you have to change buses.

            The city also has a big train station, which has started to offer services to London, which just shows how much the city is growing. In addition to all of this, the city is home to the Empire Theatre, which is the other theatre between Edinburgh and York which can hold West End musicals such as Footloose, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Chicago, which are just some of the shows that have been here recently. The city is on the north coast, so there is a couple of miles of beach, which arent the best, but its a beach, you cant really complain.

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            19.10.2008 16:33
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            Lovely beaches and good shopping.

            I lived in Sunderland all throughout my childhood and it wasn't until I moved down south that I realised how much nicer it is to have sand on the beaches which is a good thing about Sunderland, but the trouble is the weather is so much colder so you never seem to be able to enjoy them as much as we should. Shopping is quite good in Sunderland there is the bridges which is constantly being refurbished so there is lots of interesting new shops. Sunderland has a university which attracts a lot of students each year. The students therefore also appreciate the many pubs and clubs in Sunderland town centre. Sunderland has its own empire theatre and the plays are usually really good so definitely worth visiting especially at Christmas time. There is good links out of the city as there are buses and also the metro which is quite cheap to go to Newcastle for a day out.

            There is a park just outside the town centre which is great for feeding the ducks or letting your children play in the park for a bit after you have made them walk around the shops. Just next to the entrance of the park is Sunderland's museum and winter gardens where the museum shows what Sunderland was like from its early foundations to the present day, also there is fabulous winter gardens which has over 2,000 tropical plants and flowers. I went here when it was first opened and in the winter gardens there is a ramp that swirls all the way to the top so you get to see the plants and flowers from up above, definitely worth a visit. Sunderland is not a bad place to live as it has a wide range of activities for everyone. There is also a ski slope in Sunderland which offers activities such as climbing, skiing and snowboarding.

            Sunderland is also home to the Stadium of light where Sunderland FC play, it is an outstanding building and overlooks the river wear. I have also written this on helphound but amended quite a bit.

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              24.11.2006 16:13

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              THE Worst place to live in UK

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              02.08.2003 00:34
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              What would you say to the prospect of seeing the Red Arrows for free? Well, my answer to that very same question was an excited "yes please!" - although the fact that I am writing in the category may have given that away slightly. You see, last weekend saw the biggest gathering in the North East take place, the Sunderland International Airshow. The airshow is an annual event on Wearside and has been for the past 15 years; it also happens to be Europe's largest free show of its kind. Never being one to pass up a freebie I went along to see what it was all about, although to be honest I expected it to be not up to the standards of the shows you pay to see on RAF bases. I've been to a few of those you see, and so took along some pretty high expectations. The Sunderland airshow started life as a one-off event as part of a summer long Wearside Festival in 1989. The festival no longer exists, but as the airshow attracted numbers far in excess of what was expected - around 250,000 were estimated to have visited that year - it became an annual attraction. (Well, why not? There are few other ways to get visitors to go to Sunderland). Within three years, the airshow had evolved again to become a two-day event when it became clear that one day just wasn't enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to see it. Thus it came to pass that every year a weekend in late July would be set aside for the show, and vast hordes of people would descend upon Sunderland clutching extra jumpers, umbrellas and raincoats. - Where exactly is the airshow? Your average airshow will (not that surprisingly) feature you sitting around an airfield all day, usually on military bases such as RAF Cosford. The Sunderland show is different, mainly because there is no such base in the vicinity. Instead, the airshow is located on Sunderland's northern coastline at Seaburn, with the aircraft flying in from Newcastle airport to perform over the bay, and v
              isitors watching from the promenade and beach. Getting yourself to Seaburn is not terribly hard these days, as it has a brand new Metro station of its very own, just a mile or so from the sea front. A ticket to Seaburn station will vary in price depending on which zone you travel from, but even coming from the furthest it was only £3 return. The nice people who run the show also see to it that plenty of signs are put up to guide you from the station to the seafront and back again. If the Metro is not your thing, feel free to fight your way through the congested roads around Sunderland and use the show's park and ride scheme, which will also cost you £3 - see www.sunderland-airshow.co.uk/park-ride.asp. If you are more local, you may wish to take a bus - details on bus services are available at: www.sunderlandairshow.co.uk/transport.asp. - On The Ground While the show runs from 10am to 6pm, the flying does not begin until the afternoon (1-5pm on Saturday, 12-4pm on Sunday). This therefore leaves you plenty of time to explore the ground displays. The displays themselves are spread along the promenade for a good distance, and are also to be found in Roker Park, Exhibition Park and the arena: don't worry, they are all very big and obvious, so you can hardly miss anything out. There are unsurprisingly a great many food stalls amongst the ground displays, with all the usual suspects present: burgers, fish & chips, donuts, ice cream and hot dogs. If you happen to be on a diet though, don't worry, as there is a large Morrison's at the end of the promenade selling a good range of sandwiches - as a point, drinks here are also cheaper than from most of the stall vendors. I'm sure it will also come as no shock to you that the army and RAF have a large presence as well, using the airshow as a means of giving out recruitment information and generally being nice and trying to boost their public relations. Many
              of the armed forces stalls therefore have either freebies (such as Red Arrows posters) or things for the kids to have a go at (like having your photo taken in an ejector seat). But what is there for you to do if joining the army just isn't your thing? Well, for a start off, airshows always attract owners of flight simulation rides. Sunderland had three this year: you could experience flying a Eurofighter or a Tornado in Exhibition Park, or try out being one of the Red Arrows in the arena. Each ride lasts about 4 or 5 minutes and will cost you £3 - but this is very worthwhile, especially seeing as how you didn't have to pay to get in. If that proves to be a little too exciting for you, you could always try browsing around the craft fair housed in the marquee on Exhibition Park, or shopping for airshow souvenirs. Several of the display teams on show have their own stalls as well, so you can add a Blue Eagles mug and RAF Falcons pen to your airshow t-shirt as you go. You could also head over to the BBC stall - this year hosted by BBC News, where you could get a free goodie bag, see the actual flak jacket worn by Kate Adie and try your hand at being a news broadcaster. The ground displays are very much family orientated, far more so than at your average airshow. This means that there is plenty to keep most people occupied until the flying displays start, but perhaps not so much for the military junkies amongst you. The RAF base airshows I have been to have all had armed forces memorabilia and army surplus kit on stalls, not to mention standing displays of aircraft. Personally, I don't miss not having the opportunity to buy myself a set of dog tags, but I do rather like having a close-up wander around aircraft. To be fair though, this disadvantage is not the fault of the airshow organisers - it is down to the fact that it would be rather difficult to park your average jet on Seaburn promenade. - In The Air Thi
              s is the part where you get to settle yourself down on the promenade, in the park or on the beach and watch the flying displays. I would strongly recommend taking a deck chair, camping chair or blanket to sit on, and to try and settle yourself down somewhere near a set of speakers to listen to the show commentary. You may also find it worthwhile to buy yourself a programme (they were £2 this year), which will give you the order and timings of the flying display as well as background information on the aircraft and display pilots. The aircraft on show will vary from year to year, but it is pretty much guaranteed that you will get the Red Arrows and at least one other display team - this year there were another four, in the form of the Blue Eagles (army helicopter team), the Royal Jordanian Falcons (4 Extra EA300s), the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (Spitfire, Hurricane and Dakota) and the RAF Falcons (parachute display team). This will produce the sort of flying most people would associate with an airshow, incorporating aerobatics, coloured smoke and general fancy showing-off. And no matter how many times you have seen these displays before, you won't be able to take your eyes off them! Between the aerobatic teams, you will get a variety of different aircraft being exhibited for the crowd. This is usually done by specially designated "display pilots", who take time away from their normal air force duties to do the circuit of airshows for a year - which means that they are very good at doing what they do, and a pleasure to watch. The aircraft you get will vary from year to year, but will feature a mixture of jets, helicopters and large aircraft. The same programme is used over the two days (so you won't miss things depending on which day you go on), but is run in a different order on Sunday than Saturday. I seemed to notice that many people went to Seaburn just for the ground displays, and seemed to ignore the flying. T
              his is something I find a great shame, as watching flying exhibitions can be great fun if you give it a chance. You don't need to know your Spitfires from your Tornados to appreciate it, either. I have been going to airshows with my dad since I was quite young - I know a little about the aircraft, but am hardly an expert - and the thing that has always attracted me was not the technical aspect but that such large machines could be made to move so gracefully. The Jordanian display team this year even performed their stunts to music, to make it seem even more like dancing in the air. - My Opinion Despite a bit of rain, I had a thoroughly good day at the Sunderland airshow. The event organisers were careful to cater for a wide variety of ages and tastes in the show they put on, and the visitor facilities were good (plenty of toilets, clear signposts, helpful stewards). It was a pleasant change that the event was fully accessible on public transport, and visitors in wheelchairs should have had little trouble getting around the show. What is more, to have all that for free was amazing value - as a guide, to go to a similar airshow in Duxford this year would cost you £20 a ticket for adults and £6 for children. Could it have been improved anywhere? Well, other than the weather and the lack of standing displays (neither of which were the organiser's fault), the only thing I would have liked to have seen improved was the lack of historic aircraft. Granted, there was the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, but other than that the attention was focussed solely on modern planes. There are still a good number of aircraft not in current commission that do visit these shows, and I think having a few more of these would have been a nice touch. Still, I am not going to complain much when it is all free! Overall, this show comes recommended from me. Even if you do have to go to Sunderland for it. ;-) - The Details Entrance Price - free Nearest Metro Station - Seaburn Airshow hotline: 0191 553 2006 Email: tourist.info@sunderland.gov.uk www.sunderland-airshow.co.uk

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                31.07.2001 05:10
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                Yesterday I went to the Sunderland International airshow 2001. This is an event Ive attend for the past three years and I always enjoyed myself no matter how bad the weather. The Air show is normally the last weekend in July and the air displays take place on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons between 1300 and 1630. This event is described by as the biggest and best free event in the North and I agree with this even when it’s on in Sunderland. (In case you don’t know I am a Geordie and we hate Mackums). The Airshow takes place in between Whitburn and Seaburn, while the planes fly back and forward just of the coast over the North Sea. Parking is plentiful mainly on grass fields and you will find the price of £3 remains the same no matter how close you park to the main area. One drawback is that you can expect very heavy traffic jams when you leave, as this area doesn’t have the road network to cope. We left today at 1610 and did not start moving from the car park until 1700, so my advice is to hit the pubs until 1800 when the traffic has calmed down. Th airshow itself is a great family day out and every time I go it seems to cater better for the children with more entertainment. Today my little sister Shannon had her face painted by the army which she enjoyed. The beach in this area is of a high quality and very clean. However you will be lucky to find a spot to put your deckchair. The first display of the day was the Newcastle Aero flying club which fly about at the slowest speed of any of the displays at 100 mph. Th six single engined Piper warrior aircraft are flown by private members at they own expense. The next plane was a RAF Harrier GR7 that had to cut short its routine, as part of its undercarriage came down. This plane then went on to safely land at Newcastle Airport. Th next display was something I have never seen before at an airshow. Gillair the Newcastle based commuter and freight airli
                ne provided a Twin engined ATR 42 Turbo prop aircraft. The display was extended to make up for the Harriers short display, but was one on the best displays I have seen. The Pilot showed just what this commercial aircraft could do. I only hope that next time I travel which them, they don’t throw the plane around like that! The highlight of the day for me was the “Battle of Britain Memorial Flight” which consisted of a Spitfire Mark 5, the very last Hurricane to be built and my favourite aircraft the Dakota. If anyone knows of anybody flying sight seeing tours in a Dakota in Florida, can you email me, as I would love to fly in one! Other aircraft that took part where: - RAF Search and Rescue Sea King RAF Tornado GR1 Gold Air Pitts Special RAF Hawk RAF Red Arrows RAF Jaguar The Red Devils –Jump called of due to high winds Belgian Air Forces F16 Royal Marine Commandos Absailing from a Sea King RAF Nimrod The Blue Eagles- Helicopter display team RAF Tucano RAF Hercules with RAF Falcons – Again jump called of due to high winds And last but not least The American Stealth Fighter F-117. The display for this one was very tame, maybe because the Americans do not want to show the world what this little baby can do. It’s a very rare threat to see one fly at an air show so the team that put together the Sunderland Airshow have again done a mighty good job. Im already looking forward to next year’s event and Im sure that it will be a bigger and better than ever. Kills me saying this…..WELL-DONE SUNDERLAND.

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                  09.03.2001 18:15
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                  A gem of a place, this Sunderland! - and this is written by a southern exile who has lived in Sunderland for the last 20 years or more. Having been brought up in Surrey and London, and having worked for some years in West Yorkshire, I can honestly say that Sunderland beats them all hands down. Family, visiting over the years, have been amazed at the place. It is nothing like they thought it would be. This is rather a long opinion but I hope it might prove useful for anyone thinking about Sunderland as a place to live. I could write loads more, but had better not... ~ GENERAL COMMENTS ~ Sunderland has a great past built on shipbuilding and coal but that has all gone now and so have the pitheads, slagheaps and shipyards. Instead, a great deal of the city (and especially along each bank of its river, The Wear), the council is pumping money into landscaping and architecture evocative of the Victorian era which makes for pleasant walks and a feeling of care and attention. Sunderland gained city status just a few years ago. Until then it was the largest town in Europe with housing estates making up the majority of its geographical spread. The city centre itself is not very large, which makes shopping a joy. The main shopping centre is The Bridges and in and around this are the large stores and specialist shops. Again, a lot of money has been put into the development of this area and it is very clean and modern. The Bridges has a Motability centre where you can borrow wheelchairs and motorised scooters to go shopping. ~ SUNDERLAND'S COAST ~ There are two main seaside areas belonging to Sunderland: Seaburn and Roker. A wide, sweeping road takes you along the coast road and there is plenty parking along the seafront. This part of the coast is really lovely although it does not seem to be fully appreciated by the local people. Having been brought up with the nearest beach being over 50 miles away at Brighton and it b
                  eing a shingle beach at that, I find the soft golden sands of this area to be wonderful. Just a bit further up the coast there are some wonderful cliff top walks, coves and caves which I love to explore even after 20 years of being here. It takes me just ten minutes to be sitting by the sea. ~ EMPLOYMENT ~ As with many areas of England now, the past few years has seen the emergence of many 'Enterprise Zones' for small and medium-sized businesses. Sunderland has seen its traditional industries go but has been quite resilient and their place has been taken by IT, light manufacturing, service industries and especially call centres. There is even free call centre training available from the local college, so desperate are these firms to employ local people. Unemployment is high, nevertheless. Ex-miners and shipyard workers are, I guess, hardly ever tempted to work on telephones. ~ HOUSING ~ As far as housing is concerned, there is a good mixture of private and public housing. The outskirts of the city tend to be divided into definite areas where there is either private family housing, privately rented flats and/or council housing. At the risk of being shot down, I would venture to say that certain areas have certain 'reputations' - like most places have. I am not saying that I agree with them, but it is usually accepted that Pennywell, Thorney Close, Hendon, Hylton Red House, Witherwack (wonderful name) and Southwick are areas where there are a lot of social problems. At the other extreme, the areas of Ashbrook, Thornhill, The Herringtons (East and West), Hastings Hill and Tunstall Village - to name but a few - are well thought of. Because of its heritage, Sunderland has thousands of smallish 'cottages' for rent and for sale. These would have housed miners in the past and are really rows of terraced two-bedroomed houses with (usually) yards at the back rather than gardens. Many of these have been bought and &#
                  39;done up' to be like little palaces, ideal for first-time buyers, couples or the retired. These can be had for around the £40,000 pounds mark. The average price of semi-detached, three bedroomed houses with garden in a reasonable area of the city is about £60 - 80,000 and detached, newer housing (as well as some grand Victorian houses) is round about £80 - 140,000. Compared with many other places in England, this is very good. ~ TRANSPORT ~ Public transport is good. There is a station connecting with Newcastle to the North and Middlesborough to the South. From Newcastle, the main East Coast trains take you to London in just over three hours. The nearest airport is Newcastle, some 15 miles away and to the south there is Teesside airport. Sunderland has a new bus and coach station (The Interchange) servicing the area and at the time of writing, the Metro line through to Newcastle is being built. When it is finished (hopefully by summer 2001), it will be a quick and efficient transport system connecting outlying parts of the city through to Newcastle and the northern coast. ~ EDUCATION ~ Education services are good. There are adequate primary and comprehensive schools and a number of schools for children with special educational needs. There is also a dedicated school for children who are physically handicapped: Barbara Priestman School. The best academic results often seem to come from the church schools, but that is only a generalisation. Only two state schools in the city have sixth forms: St. Aiden's (boys) and St. Anthony's (girls). All other children go to The City of Sunderland College if they want to do A' levels or other further education. This college is huge by any standard and is spread across three main sites. It does, however, offer a good selection of choices and seems to be well resourced. Public schools are few: the main one being Sunderland Church High School. However, there are good private school
                  s in Newcastle and Durham a few miles away. There is a thriving university (ex Polytechnic) which is gradually gaining in its reputation, although it has been known for years as an excellent centre for pharmacy and engineering in particular. Its School of Education has a good reputation in the area too. ~ LEISURE ~ As far as leisure goes, Sunderland has not got as much to offer as most people here would want. There is a busy Leisure Centre catering mainly for swimming and sports, a few Bingo Halls, a 10-pin bowling centre, a number of nightclubs for the young and loads and loads of pubs. There is a multi-screen cinema a few miles way but, at present, only PLANS to build a large leisure complex (including cinema) by the river. The lack of cinemas is astounding given that Sunderland once had about six of them, which have gradually disappeared over the years. There are restaurants and carvery pubs and any number of take-aways. It must be said though, that many people, especially the young, travel through to Newcastle for greater weekend excitement. ~ FOOTBALL ~ You can't really think of Sunderland without recognising their football team. A few years ago now, the very grand Stadium of Light was built on the site of an old colliery to replace the older ground (Roker Park). It is certainly quite a landmark now and the Sunderland people are very proud of 'their lads'. In The Bridges shopping centre on a Saturday, the tannoy system can be heard to issue forth the latest score to shoppers. If Sunderland is winning, there is often a loud shout from everyone. It's quite amazing! In the streets outside The Bridges, you can even hear the roar of the football crowd when the wind is in the right direction. A word of warning: don't EVER refer to anyone from Sunderland as a 'Geordie'. Geordies are from Newcastle (some 12 miles away and Sunderland's greatest rival). People living in Sunderland and area are &
                  #39;Wearsiders'. People born and bred in Sunderland are 'Mackems'. This is taken from the shipbuilding days when it was said, 'We mak'em, they tak'em.' Be warned! ~ WHY IT IS A GEM ~ Overall, from the point of view of a southern exile, this is a wonderful city. Although the locals do not often recognise how lucky they are to live in such a place, it is obvious to anyone - and especially anyone from the likes of the Home Counties, that here is a 'gem' of a place. Wide, uncluttered roads. A profusion of flowers in the city centre and along main roads leading out. A wonderful beach and coastline. New housing being built. Tasteful architecture going up to replace old buildings. Very friendly people. Good transport. Very reasonable housing. Good facilities (except for cinemas) and an excellent climate (believe it or not). Due to its proximity to the coast, snowfalls rarely last long and although it can be a bit 'nippy' with the wind off the North Sea, it is, at the same time, invigorating and does not get stuffy in the summer. Sometimes, when I am in the garden hanging out washing, I still marvel at the sound of seagulls wheeling around. You don't get that in London. I am grateful that, at the end of a hard day, I can drive for ten minutes and be parked looking out on a calm and tranquil sea. I like to be able to shop in the city on a Saturday and go around the major ones in about an hour (including a stop for coffee). I like the people - they're friendly and helpful. I do NOT miss the traffic jams or the oppressive heat of the southern summer. I don't think I shall be leaving here now.

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                    22.10.2000 01:02
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                    i live in sunderland and have done all my life. i like it for the fact it doesn't have earthquakes or typhoons and there's rarely bomb scares. in fact it's quite normal! the houses are very cheap as there's no big attractions in the north, the schools are terrible and the people aren't at all friendly! in fact, a word of the wise to anyone considering coming here, don't make eye contact with anyone! they will kill you! the people here are so full of them selves that i can't help but hate them! i wish i lived in cheltenham with my auntie or birmingham with my grandparents or london with my sister but no, i live in this hell hole and i cant wait to get out!

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