Ten reasons Sunderland should bag the bid for UK City of Culture 2021


The competition for the 2021 City of Culture is well underway and Sunderland has already put in its bid for the prestigious award.

This historically industrial city is packed full of culture and has provided some of the best actors, singers and bands of our time. It also has plenty to offer for those wanting to visit the city from museums to stunning coast lines and exciting theatre performances. The history and entertainment that is on offer puts Sunderland in key position for City of Culture.

Here are 10 reasons the Wearside city should make it to the number one spot:

1. We have the best illuminations you might ever see… 

November 2015 was the last year the Alice in Wonderland themed lights will be turned on as next year will see the park take on a new theme. Some new features already include sea creatures and the Doctor Who tardis.

For more information visit: Sunderland Illuminations 2015


2. Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens 

In 2004 the Sunderland museum was ranked with some of the top museums in the country including the National History Museum in the Large Visitor Attraction category in the Excellence in England awards.

The Queen visited the Winter Gardens in May 2002 on her Jubilee tour. She reopened the site after it had undergone a major refurbishment. The gardens are now home to over 1,500 exotic plants, trees and flowers from around the world.

The Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens

3. We have produced some of the finest actors and actresses

Sunderland’s own, Melanie Hill, is known for her roles in Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Waterloo Road and The Syndicate but has most recently taken on a role in the soap, Coronation Street.

Actor, James Bolam, also from Sunderland, may be best known for his roles in BBC hit dramas, New Tricks and North East based period drama When the Boat Comes In. He has received an MBE from the Queen for his services to drama.


4. Roker and Seaburn beaches

Sunderland beaches have been named among the best in the country according to the national Seaside Awards 2015. In 2014, Sunderland City Council were awarded a national planning award for the work that has been carried out to make the beach more modern and tourist friendly.

Beach huts have been built along the walkway of Roker beach and are now restaurants and cafes, which is an ideal location to sit and take in the beautiful view of the lighthouse.

The sunrise across Roker Pier


5. We have one of the best individual music stores in the North East 

Pop Recs is an individual and unique music store, which has hosted many famous stars such as The Vaccines, James Bay and Franz Ferdinand. The store in Fawcett Street recently had to close but is now moving location to Stockton Road and should be open later in October.

6. The Stadium of Light

Over the years the home of the city’s legendary and much loved football club SAFC has not only been host to matches and intense derby days but has also invited a large amount of famous singers including Beyonce, Take That, One Direction and most recently the Foo Fighters which has brought visitors to the city from across the UK.


7. AND our music scene just keeps getting better…

We have a range of musical talent from the area such as indie rock band the Futureheads and Bryn Ferry best known for his lead vocals in Roxy Music.

Sunderland is also home to two time, Brit award winner, Emeli Sande. The singer won Best British Female Artist and British Album of the Year in 2013. She has also sang in both the opening and closing ceremonies for the London Olympics in 2012.

8. We have one of the oldest parks in the North East

Mowbray Park is centred in the heart of Sunderland and was first opened in 1857. The park is packed full of history including statues, memorials and public art. In 1994 the Heritage Lottery gave the council a four million pound grant to allow the park to be renovated. It was voted the best in Britain in 2008.




9. Sunderland’s even hosted some of the most popular West End shows

Musicals such as Wicked and the Jersey Boys are just some of the many shows that have been held in the Empire Theatre. This year, Shrek the musical, is coming to the city for two weeks in November. Strictly come Dancing professional dancers, famous comedians and dramatic plays also take place in the theatre providing plenty of entertainment.

For show and ticket information visit Sunderland Empire Theatre


10. Keel Square  

The newly designed Keel square has become a wonderful key point to the city centre. It has colour lighting, a fountain and plaza and foaming jets. The square also contains eye catching art work including the Keel Line which celebrates Sunderland’s industrial heritage, as the art work spans the length of one of the largest ships built on the Wearside, called the Naess Crusade, launched in December 1972.



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