As well as a former industrial powerhouse, Sunderland is one of the country's largest seaside cities, with no less than a dozen beaches.
I love living in Sunderland. I go to the seafront all the time; it’s a beautiful beach and I can walk there from campus. There’s always so much to do – in the last few months, I’ve been ice-skating and paintballing, watched Premier League football at the Stadium of Light and had day trips to Durham, Newcastle, and the Northumberland countryside.” (Second year student, University of Sunderland).
What Sunderland's famous for...
Sunderland’s coastline has 12 beaches to explore – most notably Roker and Seaburn, whose sweeping, shorelines are just a stone’s throw from the university.
Sunderland nightlife, according to students
There is a brilliant social side to the city. Sunderland is up and coming with so many new independent bars, cafés and restaurants, so it’s very student friendly. (Second year student, University of Sunderland).
The Stadium of Light
With an impressive seating capacity of 49,000, not only is the Stadium of Light home to Sunderland AFC, but it’s played host to some of the biggest names in music, including Beyonce, The Spice Girls and Ed Sheeran.
Sunderland culture, according to students
The city of Sunderland is rich in culture, with tourist attractions such as the beaches at Roker and Seaburn. If you are a sports lover like me, you will be fascinated by the amount of sporting activities you will come across. To top it all off, the locals are very friendly to visitors. (Graduate, University of Sunderland).
A heritage rich in culture
Sunderland’s cultural heritage offers something for everyone, whether it’s catching a show at the Sunderland Empire Theatre, immersing yourself in the city’s history at Hylton Castle, or exploring the nearby Penshaw Monument.
Student life in Sunderland
Local gems, tips, and things to do, as recommended by students.
Our city by the sea
Roker Beach is lovely to walk along and has amazing views. Grannie Annie’s is just beside the beach and is great for a meal and drinks on the seafront. (University of Sunderland student)
Friday night out
TTonic is a popular club with good music and nice cocktails. The Saltgrass is a small independent venue near the docks that puts on house, techno, and electronic events, and has a fab terrace. (University of Sunderland student)
Grab a bite
Aperitif is a really good and affordable Italian, and Spent Grain do a lovely brunch and Sunday dinner. Pop Recs café is also a great place if you want to work and have a coffee, with vegan options too! (University of Sunderland student)
Days out with mates
Some of my personal favourite places in Sunderland are Mowbray Park, Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens (a free museum is always a plus!), Roker Beach, and Roma Restaurant – they do the best calzone I’ve ever tried. (University of Sunderland student)
The Fire Station has some fantastic events on, and I love The Empire Theatre. We go to the match most weekends, and always to Victor’s afterwards! (University of Sunderland student)
Grab the gang
There’s £2.50 bowling available for students on Tuesdays and I love the Clue HQ escape rooms. Another of mine and my housemates’ favourites is The Chesters pub quiz on a Thursday night. (University of Sunderland student)
Stack Seaburn is brilliant during summer, especially when they have live music on! Great choice of food and drinks there too. (University of Sunderland student)
No2 Church Lane serves AMAZING burgers and even better loaded fries! Love Lily is a place for all your brunch needs – they’ve got huge American pancakes and enormous slices of cake. (University of Sunderland student)
Sunderland in pictures
Within easy reach from the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s, Roker Beach is a much-loved spot for students to enjoy relaxing on summer days or taking a stroll along the pier.
Wearmouth Bridge is one of Sunderland’s most recognised landmarks, providing an iconic backdrop to St Peter’s Campus and the University’s riverside accommodation.
Living in Sunderland, according to students
One of my biggest motivating factors for choosing Sunderland was its great, central location. Another big reason was how affordable it is in comparison with other cities in the UK. I enjoy the feel of a smaller community as I was able to walk to class from my accommodation. (University of Sunderland graduate)
Running through the heart of the city, the River Wear and its surrounding areas are part of a multi-million pound development, transforming Sunderland with new cultural spots, entertainment venues and green spaces.
Living in Sunderland, according to students
Where I live is very quiet and chilled despite being so close to the city centre. It’s a two-minute walk from the bus station and Metro, and under ten minutes’ walk to City Campus. The shops are also very close by, and I have a choice between two different corner shops for the essentials. You’ve got a Tesco Metro in the city centre, or you can travel slightly further if you need a bigger supermarket. My friends all live very close by too. (Third year student, University of Sunderland)
Living in Sunderland
Housing, travel, and budgeting tips.
Where you'll find students
- City centre
- Roker and Seaburn
- Free bus travel on the Sunderland Connect service
- Free campus and accommodation circular bus
- Tyne and Wear Metro with discounted student fares available, connecting you to the rest of the North East
Student money tips
There are some very good burger bars that seem to cater to the student market, as they aren't overpriced. BURGeR and No2 Church Lane are impressive, and don't break the bank too much. With regards to accommodation, you tend to get more space for your rent south of the Wear, but that's a generalisation. (Third year student, University of Sunderland)
The cost of living as a student soon adds up, us our budget calculator to find out roughly how much you'll need each month.
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