A Guide to Climbing Penshaw Monument (and what to do nearby)

This post includes a guide to climbing Penshaw Monument which is a FREE to visit attraction in North East England.  Expect information on where to park, where to visit nearby and details of a lovely coffee stop at The New Plough Coffee Trailer nearby. 

A Guide to Climbing Penshaw Monument (and what to do nearby)

I first spotted the New Plough Coffee Trailer on New Girl in Toon's Instagram. The little coffee and cake stop had been recommended to Chloe by Nomipalony and now I am recommending it to all of you. A chain of influencing at its best ;-) 

The New Plough at Waterside Cox Green is a cute little horse box serving cakes and drinks with outdoor seating overlooking the River Wear in Sunderland. It is situated next to a livery and you can walk along and say hello to the horses, ponies and pigs too. It is such a lovely spot for a drink with kids. 

Use postcode SR4 9JS. Some of the roads are a little windy as you approach but nothing too bad. There is a large, free parking area next to the building in the first photo below. Park up and then follow the signs for the New Plough Inn for 20 seconds.  

They are open every day from 10am - 4:30pm, sometimes they close when the weather is bad but they are in the process of building sheltered seating. Check out their FB page for up-to-date info about opening hours.  

At the moment, they do not cater for gluten free diets but they are looking into it. There is some outdoor seating but if the weather is particularly sunny or you are visiting over a weekend, I would recommend bringing a picnic blanket just in case. Some people were sitting on the grass on the day of our visit. 

Dogs are welcome and you may spot their resident sausage dog who is very friendly. The whole area is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs. It is free to visit and there are no pre-bookings. 

The New Plough Coffee Trailer

Queue up and order from the trailer - one person at a time. There are a selection of homemade cakes (highly recommend the lemon drizzle), crisps, cold & hot drinks to enjoy. We ordered 2 coffees, 3 cold drinks and 5 pieces of cake. 

Our bill was £17 and payment can be cash, card or contactless. Service was fab and the lady who served us was lovely and chatty, she even gave us an extra small piece of brownie free of charge as some of the sizes were uneven. 

The New Plough Coffee Trailer

The New Plough Coffee Trailer

The New Plough Coffee Trailer

The New Plough Coffee Trailer

The New Plough Coffee Trailer

I love that they have a little see saw for kids. There was plenty of hand sanitiser available in the trailer and everyone is provided with a wipe for their hands with their cake which was a nice touch I thought. 

I did spot a portaloo along past the stables which I assume customers can use (update - I asked and it is indeed available for customer use. It is on the other side of the stables, ask a member of staff if you are unsure). 

The New Plough Coffee Trailer is right next to a livery and although you can not enter the stables, you are welcome to walk along the path and say hello the animals through the fence. Please do not feed or stroke the animals. The path by the animal fields is surfaced and fine for pushchairs / wheelchairs. 

We loved Grumpy the horse (not pictured - he was too grumpy). If you walk right to the end of the path you will see some pigs too. 

Sometimes free pony petting is available too - keep an eye on their FB page for details. 

The area along the River Wear is perfect for walking and a popular spot. You will see a map with marked routes in the car park. Some of it is pushchair accessible (I spotted a few people emerging with pushchairs) but my friend Chloe mentioned that parts of the route are fairly narrow and bumpy.

We decided not to walk along the river as The New Plough Inn is super close to Penshaw Monument (less than 2 miles in the car) and can you believe, we have never climbed it. There is ample parking underneath the monument (use postcode DH4 7NJ).  

If you cannot get parked, there is a huge free car park at Herrington Park across the road. 

Penshaw Monument is free to visit and climb with no pre-booking required. It is popular with dog walkers and families but it wasn't packed - we managed to socially distance ok. Sometimes National Trust offer roof-top tours but these have been suspended at the moment.

We climbed up the steps. It is short but steep.  There is a bench for a breather halfway up if needed. It is fine for toddlers, in fact the little ones we spotted seemed to be managing better than most of the grown ups. Heidi put us all to shame as usual and ran straight to the top - oh to be young again! 

It was windy at the top but the views were stunning. Definitely worth the climb. 

I hate climbing down more than up and Heidi slow-shamed me and moaned I was taking forever on the way down. At least I did it without falling over though. 

Just across the road from Penshaw Monument is Herrington Country Park. It has a large free car park (use postcode DH4 7EL). 

If you are looking for pushchair/wheelchair friendly walks, there are surfaced paths around the park with lakes to pass by. It is beautiful with lots of open space. The toilets are open in the main car park near the play park and there is an ice cream van open too. The park cafe was closed on the day of our visit but Penshaw Tearooms (on the monument side) are open. 

There is a cute little train (spot it in the distance) which leaves from outside the play park and offers rides for a small fee. 

The play area is brilliant for under 10s - there is a zip wire, several climbing frames and slides. It was busy on the day of our visit though and my three said it was too busy for them and that they didn't feel like they could get on anything because there were so many kids. We did visit early afternoon which is peak time and I assume it will be quieter later or earlier in the day. 

What a lovely way to spend a few hours in Sunderland. All of the places we visited are not far from the A19, offered plentiful free parking and were easy to get to. It was a nice way to get some fresh air. 

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Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


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