Sunderland Parks and Gardens

(Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England, UK)

Picture of the seasonal summer bedding at the Winter GardensA city with many pleasant green spaces, Sunderland is certain on the up and working hard to make this a more appealing place to live and visit. Local parks have been given much attention and re-landscaped, with the Winter Gardens next to the Sunderland Museum being especially noteworthy and close to Mowbray Park.

A number of the parks around Sunderland now occupy the sites where 150 years ago busy coal mines were in full swing. The Herrington Country Park is one such place, as is the Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve and its plentiful wildlife. Close by, the Washington Wetland Centre is known for its huge flocks of migrating birds and waterfowl, being highly suitable for families.

Herrington Country Park

Address: Chester Road, Penshaw, Houghton Le Spring, Tyne and Wear, DH4 7EL, England, UK
Tel: +44 0191 534 8526
The Herrington Country Park is located in nearby Houghton Le Spring, off the A183 and just across from the Penshaw Monument. This expansive green space offers one of the most spacious open-air concert venues in the North-East and also hosts many major events, which in the past have included the Durham County Show, Party in the Park and the North East Motor Show. There are also further attractions spread around the Herrington Country Park, such as cycle trails, sandstone sculptures, a playground for young children, and a wildlife haven that was formerly the site of a disused coal mine.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Image of monument at Mowbray Park

Mowbray Park

Address: Burdon Road, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR1 1PP, England, UK
Tel: +44 0191 219 3941
A municipal park situated within the heart of the Sunderland city, Mowbray Park is near to the action of both Fawcett Street and Holmeside, and lies alongside the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens. Traditionally Victorian in its appearance, Mowbray Park was established in the middle of the 19th century and continues to provide a very tranquil spot to come and relax, amidst the surrounding bustling city life. In the 1990s, more than £4 million was spent restoring the gardens and at this time, several statues were erected, being connected to the famous author Lewis Carroll, who has long had strong connections with the city and actually stayed in Sunderland when he wrote his poem, 'Jabberwocky'.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve and Joe's Pond

Address: Houghton Road, Hetton, Houghton Le Spring, Tyne and Wear, England, UK
Tel: +44 0191 584 3112
Occupying a scenic area that once operated as the site of the Rye Hill colliery, the Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve has become an important spot for local Tyne and Wear flora and fauna, and lies just 13 km / 8 miles to the south-west of Sunderland. Birdwatchers regularly come here to see the huge variety of different species that live and visit the park, with just under 150 different species residing here. Joe's Pond is where many of the wading birds and water fowl congregate, while the southerly side is home to meadowlands and seasonal wild flowers. The walking trails around nearby East Rainton and Chilton Moor are particularly close by.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Sunniside Gardens

Address: Norfolk Street / West Sunniside, Washington, Tyne and Wear, SR1 1LE, England, UK
Close to Mowbray Park and in the very centre of the city, the Sunniside Gardens (formerly 'The Shubbery') are more than 100 years old. In 2006 and early 2007, the gardens were completely revamped and re-landscaped at the cost of some £2 million, following an international competition for the new design and a Heritage Lottery Fund grant. This modern urban space now incorporates illuminated fountains, public sculptures, contemporary rounded seating, stylish stone paving and colourful flower borders.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Washington Wetland Centre

Address: Pattinson, Washington, Tyne and Wear, NE38 8LE, England, UK
Tel: +44 0191 416 5454
The Washington Wetland Centre is to be found within the nearby town of Washington, just 10 km / 6 miles to the west of central Sunderland, and provides a pleasant day out for families. Innumerable migrating birds overwinter here, while the resident herons and curlew regularly breed here in large numbers. Occupying approximately 110 acres / 45 hectares and regarded as a hugely successful conservation story, the Washington Wetland Centre is also called home by a large group of bright pink Chilean flamingos, a seasonal 'Splash Zone' play area, dragonfly ponds, wildflower meadows, woodland trails and the Waterside Cafe, which overlooks a stream.
Open hours: daily - 09:30 to 16:30
Admission: charge, discounts for children under 16 years old, families (two adults and two children) and seniors, children four years old and under are free, members of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) are free

Information about parks and gardens in Newcastle.