Top 10 Family Days Out In Sunderland

Dad carrying his young son in his arms as he walks along the beach in Sunderland.

Image © Unsplash.

The day has finally come, and now that businesses and public areas all across the UK are opening back up again it's time to treat the family and have a fun day out.

From museums to lighthouses, there are so many great attractions in Sunderland that the children will love to visit.

Two young boys wearing matching yellow hoodies, crouching down to play with the sand on the beach.
Image © Flickr

Public Parks & Beaches

For some free days out in the North East, these public parks are a great option for some fun days out with the kids. Even something so simple as a walk along the strand can create lasting memories with the children. Here are our top five picks for active outdoor days out in Sunderland.

Roker & Seaburn Beaches

As North East days out go, there's nothing better than a classic family visit to the beach. You can take a simple stroll and enjoy the stunning views or let the kids dig right into nature with a bucket and spade. You can even bring your dog along to join in the fun!

Location: Marine Walk, Seaburn, Sunderland.

COVID Precautions: Please be aware of social distancing during your visit to the beach.

Food: These beaches are the perfect location for a picnic but if you get peckish there are plenty of cafes along the strand.

Facilities: There are no toilets or baby changing facilities available here.

Parking: There is parking near the beach.

Little girl wearing a green jacket in the park reaching out to catch a bubble.

Mowbray Park

Hidden in the centre of the city, Mowbray Park feels like a secret garden. Always well-tended and bursting with colourful flowers this oasis of calm in the middle of bustling life at Sunderland City will give your kids a break from the constant hustle and bustle of the city.

Location: 6 Burton Road, Sunderland City.

COVID Precautions: Please be aware of social distancing during your visit.

Food: There are no food vendors on site.

Facilities: There are portable toilets on site.

Parking: Parking is available nearby.

Barnes Park

One of the most gorgeous natural spots in the city, Barnes Park is great for spotting animals in every season. Attractions like the wide open spaces, duck pond and huge play area make it a great location to bring the kids for an active afternoon.

Location: Barnes Park Road, Sunderland.

COVID Precautions: Please be aware of social distancing throughout your time here.

Food: There are no food vendors in the park, but there are picnic areas.

Facilities: There are no toilets or baby changing facilities in the park.

Parking: There is parking available nearby.

Little girl sat on a rug in the park feeding a squirrel.
Image © Alexandra Suzi under Creative Commons

St. Peter's Sculpture Trail

For something different, visit St. Peter's Wharf for a day of sightseeing and art appreciation. It will be a fun day to bring the kids along for a scavenger-hunt type activity, see if you can find all the sculptures along the coast! Even if you don't know much about art this will still be an enjoyable time for all the family.

Location: St. Peter's Wharf, Sunderland.

COVID Precautions: Please be mindful of social distancing during your walk.

Food: There are no food vendors along the trail.

Facilities: There are no toilets along the trail.

Parking: There is pay and display parking on the streets nearby.

Roker Park Conservation Area

For another free activity to do in Sunderland, check out the Roker Conservation Area. Here is a well-preserved park with a unique view of the sea. Fun activities to do here include looking out for the bandstand, having fun in the large play area and heading over to the boating lake for some action. If you're lucky you might see some fishermen at work!

Location: Roker Park Road, Sunderland.

COVID Precautions: Please be mindful of social distancing during your visit.

Food: There are no food vendors on site.

Facilities: There are no toilets or baby changing areas available.

Parking: There are places to park nearby.

Two ducks swimming in the lake in the park in Sunderland.
Image © Javiera Argandona via Unsplash

Museums and Culture

If you're looking for something different to bring the kids to, here are five of our top picks for cultural attractions in Sunderland. A day spent at one of these locations is sure to be filled with rich educational activities as well as classic family fun.

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

The Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is a great indoor location that will delight the kids. With an art gallery, pottery gallery, history tour of Sunderland and a great outdoor space with flourishing greenery, there is something that everyone will enjoy.

Location: Burdon Road, Sunderland.

COVID Precautions: The museum operates with a one-way system to ensure social distancing guidelines are met. They also ask for the public to wear a face mask for the duration of their visit.

Food: There is a small cafe located inside the museum.

Facilities: Toilets and baby changing areas are available.

Parking: There is a pay and display car park nearby.

National Glass Centre

For the artistically inclined, this is the museum for you! This one place is brimming with activities; have a look around the seasonal art exhibitions, experience the magic of glass blowing with their daily live demonstrations and pick up some super unique souvenirs made by local artists from Newcastle. If this really takes your fancy, why not book a hands-on workshop? The National Glass Centre offers practical classes for families who want to bring out their artistic side.

Location: Liberty Way, Sunderland.

COVID Precautions: Visitors may be required to wear a mask indoors.

Food: There is a cafe on site.

Facilities: Toilets and baby changing facilities are available.

Parking: Free parking is available nearby for all visitors.

Souter Lighthouse

Set perfectly on the coastline, this lighthouse is a living piece of history. First opened in 1871, the Souter Lighthouse was the first lighthouse in the world designed to run on electricity. You can explore the gorgeous Marsden Grounds, experience the wildlife and see many different kinds of birds that make the bay their home. While you're there, why not grab a take away snack from the tea rooms or the ice cream kiosk?

Location: Coast Road, Whitburn, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear.

COVID Precautions: Visitors may not be allowed inside the lighthouse at this time.

Food: The Souter Lighthouse Cafe is located nearby.

Facilities: There are no toilets or baby changing facilities here.

Parking: There is a car park on site.

Orange and white Souter Lighthouse with orange tulips planted around it.
Image © National Trust

Tynemouth Priory and Castle

Stunning architecture, rich history and a fantastic sea view are what makes Tynemouth Castle a must see for a day out in Sunderland. This was once one of the largest fortified buildings in the North East and dates back to over 2000 years ago. Take a tour around the ruins or relax in the sea breeze with a picnic and a camera.

Location: Pier Road, Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear.

COVID Precautions: This is an open air space, however social distancing rules still apply. The castle is currently operating with a one-way system and also requests that visitors wear masks while in the gift shop. Please book your tickets online.

Food: There are no food vendors on site.

Facilities: Toilets and baby changing facilities are available.

Parking: There is parking available in the village outside the castle grounds.

Ryhope Engines Museum

Location: Waterworks Road, Ryhope, Sunderland.

This building is a monument to the Industrial Revolution and makes for a perfect, free of charge day out for children and adults alike with an interest in engineering. Run by a blacksmith and some very knowledgeable volunteers, you can get to know the faces behind the machine and ask questions about the amazing Victorian-era technology. Other attractions include organise vintage car showings and other community activities, have a look on their website for the next event.

Please Note: The Engines Museum is currently closed due to COVID 19, however, keep an eye out on their website for news of reopening.

Food: There are no food vendors at this location.

Facilities: There are toilets available.

Parking: There is free parking available on the grounds.



At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.  

Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong. 

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