Ten best walks to do in Sunderland
Best Walking Routes in Sunderland
Sunderland is a great place to explore on foot, and you can find countless beautiful places to walk in Sunderland. Whether you're searching for a relaxed wander along the North East coast, an adventurous stroll in the countryside or a more challenging hike outdoors, our top five walks in Sunderland allow you to discover our unique green spaces.
Plan your walk in Sunderland and uncover the best walking routes...
High Wood Walking Route
High Wood is a beautiful ancient woodland that rests on the north bank of a large loop in the River Wear. It provides a stunning short walk that's ideal for taking in the beautiful oak woodland, riverside vistas, and - quite possibly - the best view in Sunderland!Located only a short distance from the A19, this secluded walking route has a 'off-the-beaten-track' feel, offering a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to appreciate the beauty of our countryside. Luckily, this type of woodland isn't very common in the UK, so having this walking route on our doorstep in Sunderland makes it one of the best routes for walkers of all abilities to explore. Rich and complex in wildlife, you could catch a glimpse of roe deer, foxes and even kingfishers along the river, as well as viewing the famous Penshaw Monument.
While there are some short, steep climbs, weary walkers will be relieved to know that you can refresh and recharge at a very welcoming pub at the end of the route.
Roker to Seaburn Walking Routes
Another popular Sunderland walking route is that of Roker to Seaburn, which is set against the backdrop of the fabulous North East coast.
If you want big skies, grand views, historic buildings and the chance to tuck into the region's best fish and chips, this is the walk for you.
The River Wear serves as the defining natural feature of this walk, as well as showcasing the best of Sunderland's glorious coastline. From the sweeping sands of Whitburn Bay (which is notable for inspiring artist and painter L.S. Lowry during the 1960s) to Bede's Cross, which was built to commemorate the famous historic local monk and scholar, the Roker to Seaburn walking route is filled with nature and adventure.
On a clear day, you can even see down the coast to Whitby and the North York Moors, while a sunshine-filled afternoon is ideal for exploring the iconic Roker pier and lighthouse.
City Centre To Roker Marine Walk
Another great walk along the River Wear; the walking route from Sunderland city centre to Roker provides a different view of the city.
Starting at the award-winning Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens in the heart of Sunderland, and ending on Marine Walk at the North Sea coast, this route is packed with culture and history, and is one of the best accessibility friendly walks in Sunderland.
See the 1920s constructed Wearmouth Bridge, which was a modification on the original bridge that joined the sites of ancient parishes of Monkwearmouth and Bishopwearmouth. It's the perfect place for a selfie, and leads down to St. Peter's riverside, which is home to modern university buildings, the National Glass Centre and the sites of Sunderland's former shipbuilding hey-day.
Most prominently featured is the famous Sculpture Trail, however St. Peter's Church is also a must visit landmark on this route, having been one of the greatest centres of learning in the northern world, and home to the Venerable Bede himself!
Penshaw Circular Route
No visit to Sunderland would be complete without a visit to Penshaw Monument, and the Penshaw Circular Route is one of our most famous, as it allows you to get up close to this awe-inspiring building.
This is a shorter walk, but is guaranteed to get your heart racing as you hike up to the monument, which is based on one of Sunderland's highest points at 136m high. The spectacular views across the North East countryside however, are the perfect reward, as Durham Cathedral, the Cheviot Hills and Pontop Pike are all visible from here.
Penshaw Monument itself was built in the 1840s in honour of the Earl of Durham, it is based of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens and acts as the main attraction of this walk. However, Penshaw Circular Route does lead you through the nearby woodlands and countryside past the Victoria Viaduct, the site of Alice Well and the now disused Penshaw Railway, so there are plenty more sights to see!
Rainton Meadows Walking Route
Lesser known, but no less-special, is the Sunderland walking route of Rainton Meadows.
Having been transformed from the site of an industrial coal mine to one of the region's most significant areas for wildlife, Rainton Meadows walking route is certainly a walk for animal lovers.
Owned and managed by the Durham Wildlife Trust, the reserve comprises a rich mosaic of wetlands, lakes, grasslands and woodlands which can all be explored by a network of accessible pathways. Winter sees the reserve become home to a small herd of Exmoor ponies and rare breed cattle, who help preserve and maintain the beautiful wildflower meadows.
Be sure to bring along a set of binoculars to keep an eye out for the wildlife and birds here, including stoats and weasels which are regularly spotted along the tracks, or the stunning bullfinch. There's also a visitors' centre to refresh you after a day of outdoor exploring.
Which is your favourite walking route in Sunderland? There are many more great Sunderland walking routes to try and explore - these are just a selection of our favourites. Whether you're a seasoned hiker, a casual explorer, or simply looking for somewhere to walk the dog and have a day out with the kids, you'll find endless beautiful routes across Sunderland and the North East.