Historic Buildings of Sunderland's East End

The East End of Sunderland has undergone a lot of redevelopment, however there are a large number of historic buildings, many of them listed. This walk starts and ends at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens in the town centre and first drops down to follow the south bank of the River Wear before circling Old Sunderland.

Technical sheet
No. 21580827
A Tyne and Wear walk posted on 03/05/22 by sarahhcfe. Update : 04/06/22
Calculated time Calculated time: 1h10[?]
Distance Distance : 3.91km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 31m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 30m
Highest point Highest point : 39m
Lowest point Lowest point : 5m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Tyne and Wear
Starting point Starting point : N 54.904162° / W 1.380547°
Download : -
Old Post Office Building in Sunniside Trafalgar Square Holy Trinity Church (1719) Boats on the Wear


(D/A) From Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, cross the road and walk down Fawcett Street then Bridge Street towards Wearmouth Bridge.

(1) Go under West Wear Street using the subway (right side of Bridge Street) and continue walking towards the bridge. After the building, turn right down Bridge Crescent, then sharp left onto Pann's Bank, then right at the bottom and walk along the riverbank. This path will then join Low Street, turn left.

(2) When you pass Sambucca's turn right up the path which crosses the grassed area. At the top cross High Street East into Church Street. When you reach the church, turn left and walk up the path at the side of the church (Church Walk) and pass Trafalgar Square. At the end of the lane, turn right into The Quadrant. Just around the bend, go through the gate just before the buildings and walk across the Town Moor behind the buildings and exit through the gate onto Moor Terrace,

(3) Turn right and pass the Orphanage which will be on your right. Continue walking down Adelaide Place and follow the road round into Coronation Street. Staying on the righthand side of the road and turn right into Lombard Street (2nd right), Walk to the end of Lombard Street where you will see Pheonix Hall, turn left into Spring Garden Close and then right into Walton Lane, this will take you to High Street East.

(4) Turn left at the Eastender pub into High Street East. As you walk along the street you will see the white Quayside Exchange on your right and next to it will be the Eagle Building, Cross the roundabout over the A1018 bypass road and continue into High Street West. The first 3 terraced houses on the left (nos. 170-175) mark the beginning of the expansion towards Bishopwearmouth (now the town centre). Continue walking along High Street West and then turn left into West Sunniside. Follow the road around, it now becomes Athenaeum Street. Turn left into John Street, you will see the Sunderland Museum and Winter Garden in front of you (D/A).

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 35m - Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
1 : km 0.65 - alt. 28m - Subway Exit/Start of Wearmouth Bridge
2 : km 1.63 - alt. 8m - Sambucca's
3 : km 2.4 - alt. 16m - Orphanage
4 : km 2.94 - alt. 14m - Eastender PH
D/A : km 3.91 - alt. 36m - Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens

Useful Information

Transport: There are several car parks in the town centre including multi-storey car parks. The museum is a short walk from the railway/metro station and park lane bus station. Many buses stop in either John Street or Fawcett Street.

Facilities: There are toilets and a cafe in the Museum and Winter Gardens and a number of cafes and take aways on the route.

Accessibility: There are some steep gradients but the route is paved throughout. At Sambucca's, there is a slope as well as steps up through the grassed area.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Buildings of note:

Burdon Road: Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, also houses the public library. Originally built in the French style and opened in 1879. It was orginally built following the Crystal Palace design, but has been modified and the winter gardens rebuilt in a different location. Behind this is Mowbray Park.

Fawcett Street/Bridge Street: Athenaeum Buildings (on the right: corner of Athenaeum Street and Fawcett Street), opened in 1841 by the Sunderland Literary and Philisophical Society and for a time housed the original museum before becoming a club. Corder House (no. 21) and Sydenham House (no. 22) (right-hand side of the street) show a mixture of Moorish and Gothic architecture. Elephant Tea Rooms (no longer a tea room, no.64 at the junction with Bridge Street), dating from the 1870s, check out the elephant gargoyles. On the opposite corner is the Hutchinson's Buildings (Mackie's Corner) built around 1850, this was the first dedicated shopping area in Sunderland and was the place to meet. Wearmouth Bridge built in 1927-29 (1).

Pann's Bank/Low Street: Along here you will see many new buildings, if you look across the river you will see Sunderland University St Peter's Campus and the National Glass Centre. You will pass the Fish Quay buildings on Low Street (2) before heading into Old Sunderland (East End).

Old Sunderland: 10 &11 Church Street are the only surviving merchant's houses from around 1710. Holy Trinity Church dates from around 1719 and served as the town hall and courts until these were built. Just behind the church is the Donnison School, built in 1798 to educate girls. Beyond this is Trafalgar Square, built 1840, are almshouses for the families of lost seamen. The Town Moor, once held air raid shelters during WWII. Just around the corner is the Ophanage (3) built in 1861 in the Italianate style, and educated boys whose fathers were lost at sea.

High Street and Town Centre: Pheonix Hall, opened in 1785, this is the home of the Sunderland Freemasons. The white Quayside Exchange acted as the court house, post office, market and town hall when opened in 1814. The Eagle Building was named for the eagle on its roof a pub (Eagle Tavern), has been on this site since the 17th Century. The current eagle is a replica.170-175 High Street West are 3 Georgian terraced houses which mark the beginning of the expansion of Old Sunderland. West Sunniside has some very well preserved buildings including the Central Buildings. The fine building on the right on the corner of St Thomas Street is the Old Post Office building. There are some more well kept buildings in John Street including the old County Court building.

For more buildings see the Historic England website.

Other walks in the area

distance 5.56km Vertical gain +37m Vertical drop -27m Durée 1h40 Moderate Moderate
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

This England Coast Path section starts in Sunderland City Centre and picks up the route in Hendon following a mostly urban route for the first half of the walk which then turns down to the cliff tops for the remainder of the walk to Ryhope. On this route you will see many new developments, including the A1018 which the route follows

distance 3.7km Vertical gain +4m Vertical drop -10m Durée 1h05 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

A walk through the conservation area of Ashbrooke in Sunderland including many fine buildings, Mowbray Park, Backhouse Park and finishing at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

England Coast Path - Roker to Sunderland City Centre
distance 5.33km Vertical gain +46m Vertical drop -24m Durée 1h40 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

This riverside section of the England Coast Path follows the mouth of the Wear from Roker to Hendon finishing at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens in the city centre. The Wear was famous for its shipbuilding, all now long gone, but its religious past and glass making industry are still present. Alongside new developments the changing face of Sunderland is very evident in this walk.

distance 6.15km Vertical gain +40m Vertical drop -67m Durée 1h50 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

This urban section of the English Coast Path passes through Pallion and Deptford, the center of shipbuilding on the Wear. There is plenty of evidence left of this industry, The route slightly deviates from the original Weardale Way route to follow the new A1231 route passing the recently reinstated Doxford Shipyard Gate.

distance 7.84km Vertical gain +49m Vertical drop -76m Durée 2h25 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

This section of the English Coast Path starts by crossing the Northern Spire Bridge and then follows the northern bank of the River Wear passing the Queen Alexandra Bridge, Stadium of Light and Wearmouth Bridge where it rejoins the original Weardale Way path around the marina to the end of the walk at Roker. This walk passes remnants of the ship building industry along the Wear and new developments such as the Northern Spire Bridge and Sunderland university Campus.

distance 2.45km Vertical gain +10m Vertical drop -4m Durée 0h45 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

Bede's way is a walk linking the twin monastic sites of St Paul's in Jarrow and St Peter's at Monkwearmouth in Sunderland. The walk is split into 6 easily walked sections which can be walked individually or all together. So why not follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and explore the North East's religious heritage. This section begins at Seaburn Park before passing through Roker before finishing at St Peter's Church.

distance 6.59km Vertical gain +22m Vertical drop -34m Durée 1h55 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

This section starts along the cliff tops at Ryhope and then drops down to Ryhope Dene eventually arriving at Seaham Hall Beach. The section then continues along Seaham Promenade to the National Trust managed land at Noses Point. This walk gives a good contrast between the rugged cliff tops and traditional seaside town.

distance 7.61km Vertical gain +81m Vertical drop -44m Durée 2h25 Easy Easy
Starting point Starting point in Tyne and Wear

This stretch of the walk does not pass through any forests, however it takes in a beautiful stretch of the North East coast, an historic lighthouse, old lime kilns, nature reserve, water tower and windmill, overlapping with Bede's Way and the England Coast Path.

For more walks, use our search engine.

The GPS track and description are the property of the author.