Living in Sunderland

Living in Sunderland

If you choose Sunderland, you're not just choosing a course, but a home away from home too. Find out everything you need to know about how friendly, diverse and affordable it is to live in the North East and get ready to explore city, coast and countryside from your doorstep. 

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Where is Sunderland?

Sunderland is located within the county of Tyne and Wear, in the North East of England. Providing the perfect fusion of city and seaside living, it's a fantastic part of the country and a great choice for somewhere to live and study. Nestled by the River Wear's mouth to the North Sea, Sunderland's population of around 175,000 strengthens our reputation as a small and friendly city, but you'll also be just a stone's throw from Newcastle upon Tyne and Durham. We're also advancing when it comes to technology as Sunderland is about to become one of the first 5G-enabled universities in the UK.

Students enjoying a meal in a restaurant

Eating and drinking

There's something to suit all tastes and budgets when it comes to food and drink options in Sunderland, with the city offering a blend of familiar chains and independent eateries to discover, from a wide range of cuisines. Whether you're looking for a cosy café for brunch, a pub for a quick pint or somewhere to grab your Friday night takeaway, we've got it all here.

Or, hop on the Metro and travel just a few stops to Seaburn where you'll find Stack – one of the North East's most popular food venues providing a variety of street food traders all in one place, as well as regular live music events.

Two students browsing together in a shop


If you fancy indulging in some retail therapy, Sunderland's shopping scene comprises your typical high street names with quirky boutiques and independent retailers. The Bridges Shopping Centre serves as the main shopping hub within the city centre and houses over 90 stores, plus several food outlets if you want to grab a bite to eat while you shop.

A short drive or bus journey away, you've got Dalton Park and The Galleries which are home to an even wider range of retail outlets. You've also got Gateshead's Metrocentre and Newcastle's extensive choice of shops, just a train ride away if you want to plan a day trip.

Why us?


Over £400 million is being invested in Sunderland over the next four years


Sunderland is the 7th cheapest UK city for student accommodation

According to Student Crowd

By 2030, Sunderland will have attracted £2.1 billion of public and private investment resulting in more than 17,000 new jobs

An interior image of the seating in front of the stage at the Fire Station

Arts and culture

Sunderland has a rich cultural heritage and it's well worth taking a break from your studying to spend a weekend exploring what we have to offer. There's something for everyone, whether you're looking for art galleries and museums, historical attractions or theatre and cinema.

Enjoy an exhibition at National Glass Centre, experience a slice of history at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens or step back in time with a trip to Hylton Castle. Then unwind in the evening by catching a show at the Sunderland Empire Theatre or soaking up some live entertainment at the newly refurbished Fire Station.

Students ordering drinks at the bar at Stack

Nightlife and music

When it comes to nightlife, the city's large student population means that there's something going on every night of the week on Sunderland's clubbing scene, from themed nights to classic club nights, plus lots of student-friendly drinks offers to take advantage of. If you prefer a more relaxed night out over the partying lifestyle, Sunderland isn't short of craft ale pubs and cocktail bars, perfect for winding down with friends.

Gig-goers will love what the city delivers in the way of live music. Not only does this include a thriving independent offering, but some of the world's biggest artists and bands like Beyoncé, Elton John and Ed Sheeran have performed at our very own Stadium of Light.

A view of Penshaw Monument across Herrington Country Park

Outdoor spaces

We love our central city location, but one of the great things about living here is that you're never far away from open, outdoor spaces, with the coast and countryside right within your reach.

It goes without saying that one thing our students love is the beaches. With the endless sands and miles of beautiful coastline, Seaburn and Roker Beaches are ideal for walks and spending summer days with friends. Both beaches have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag award for another year running in 2022, putting them at the forefront for cleanliness and safety.

Living in Sunderland wouldn't be complete without a trip to Penshaw Monument, one of Wearside's most recognisable landmarks. Close by is Herrington Country Park, which is a beautiful place to walk and take in nature. The park also hosts regular music events such as Kubix Festival and Let's Rock the North East.

If you want to stay closer to the city centre, Mowbray Park is one of the oldest in the North East and is right in the heart of the city.


A view along the River Tyne of the bridges of Newcastle and Gateshead

Beyond Sunderland

While Sunderland itself has plenty to offer, you'll find there is so much more of the North East to discover while you're a student here. Head just 15 miles north west of Sunderland and you've got the buzzing city of Newcastle and its many attractions, shops, bars and restaurants to explore. You've also got the historic city of Durham nearby, with its scenic riverside location dominated by its castle and cathedral.

A little further afield, you've got one of the UK's most beautiful counties, Northumberland, capturing the ultimate of the North East's rugged natural beauty. Noted for its stunning beaches, remarkable castles and spectacular national park, the opportunities for days out are endless.

  • Being a smaller city makes it simple to navigate Sunderland on foot and you'll find a lot within walking distance from our campuses and accommodation, including the beach which is only a 20-minute stroll from St Peter's. Our two campuses are just over a mile apart from each other, making it easy to travel between the two.

    The city centre is largely accessible and there are plenty of walking and cycling routes nearby, including lots of green spaces and coastal walks to enjoy.

    On foot
  • The Tyne and Wear Metro is a rail service connecting Sunderland to other areas of the North East, including Newcastle and Gateshead. You'll find several Metro stations dotted around Sunderland, with one in close proximity to both campuses, as well as our halls of residence. It takes around half an hour from the University station next to City Campus to get to the centre of Newcastle. There are several discounted tickets available for travelling as a student on the Metro, making it an affordable and convenient way to explore further afield.

    Sunderland's train station will keep you well-connected with other parts of the country, including London, Newcastle and York. The station is located within the city centre and both Northern Rail and Grand Central operate from here. It's also currently undergoing a huge makeover, with an estimated £26m being spent on the refurbishment.

    By train
  • Sunderland boasts a fantastic bus network, making it easy to access the local area and other nearby locations. The Nexus website is the best place to find out more about planning your journeys.

    The Sunderland Connect service, provided by Go North East, allows students to travel for free by simply showing their student ID card. This service operates between both campuses, plus other stops along the way within the vicinity of our accommodation and key areas of the city.

    We also have our own Students' Union circular minibus, which picks up and drops off around our campuses and halls of residence. The Campus Circular service operates from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 8pm. There's also an Evening Circular service in operation during term time.

    By bus
  • If you're bringing a car to university, the most accessible way for the majority of drivers entering Sunderland will be via the A1(M), whether you're travelling from the North or South. You can get here from Newcastle via the A184, Durham via the A690 and Middlesbrough via the A19.

    Parking is available at both of our campuses and you can get substantially cheaper rates as a student by applying for a permit. If you're living in University accommodation and wish to use the car park, you must apply online for your permit, which can be done in advance of arrival if you're already aware of your allocated room.

    By car
  • The nearest airports to Sunderland are Newcastle International and Teesside International, which are less than an hour's drive away from the city centre. Newcastle Airport has its own Metro station within the terminal, so you can also travel by this method which is just under an hour's journey from Sunderland.

    By plane

Getting around Sunderland

Travelling in and around Sunderland is both easy and affordable for students due to the city and region's excellent transport links. Whether you're planning to travel locally or are venturing further away, you'll find planning any journey hassle-free.