16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids

This post was published in February 2024. Always check with venues direct for the most-up-to-date info before heading out, especially regarding opening hours. 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids

Most of the places mentioned in this post are in the City Centre and easy to walk to on foot however a few are located on the outskirts and a quick bus/Metro ride may be easier with little legs. 

You can download a free google map with the locations of these venues & websites here: Download a FREE Google Map of Sunderland 

OR scroll to the bottom of this post for a map embedded in this post. 


Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids - Dinosaurs in Sunderland Winter Gardens

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is a fantastic FREE entry venue where you can easily spend a few hours.

There are dinosaurs to discover in the Winter Gardens, fantastic permanent exhibitions including fossils, gems, animals and local history plus a full programme of events with workshops, crafts and trails across the year. 

Find out more: https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/our-venues/sunderland-museum-winter-gardens/

Mowbray Park 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids - Mowbray Park

Mowbray Park is just next to Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens so easy to combine the two. There are lovely walks, a lake, a famous Walrus sculpture and enclosed playground. 

Mowbray Park is also home to the popular Sunderland Lights festival. 

National Glass Centre 

The National Glass Centre runs various exhibitions and workshops across the year as well as Glass Blowing demonstrations at set times. 

Find out more: https://sunderlandculture.org.uk/our-venues/national-glass-centre/

Sunderland Bowl 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids - Sunderland Bowl

Sunderland Bowl is more than just a bowling alley. You can bowl, play mini golf, shuffle board, virtual shooting, smart darts and more. Sports are shown on the big screen and the bar serves food too. They regularly run special offers too. 

Find out more: https://www.sunderlandbowl.co.uk/

Sunderland Empire 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids - Sunderland Empirea

Sunderland Empire is a wonderful theatre bringing the very best shows to the North East in the heart of Sunderland City. Upcoming shows include (ad-affliate links): 

Click the blue links to find out more and book. 

Sunderland Wall 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids - Sunderland Wall
Credit Sunderland Wall

Sunderland Wall is one of the best climbing walls in the North East and one of the largest indoor climbing centres in the whole of the UK. There are walls for everyone from tots and beginners up to the most experienced climbers. Tuition is available. 

Find out more: https://sunderlandwall.com/

The Bridges 

The Bridges may be a shopping centre but they also run lots of events (many free) across the year, especially in school holidays. Their seaside event from 2023 (pictured) included treasure hunts, seaside themed crafts, an indoor beach area, pirate and mermaid storytelling, sand art and more. 

You can check upcoming events here: https://www.thebridges-shopping.com/

The Fire Station

The Fire Station is a live music and events venue with a diverse variety of performances taking place across the year, including plenty for kids. 

Check what's on here: https://www.thefirestation.org.uk/whats-on

Sunderland Aquatic Centre 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids - Sunderland Aquatic Centre Inflatables
Credit - Sunderland Aquatic Centre 

The Atlantis Adventure Mega Inflatable sessions at Sunderland Aquatic Centre receive RAVE reviews in our Facebook Group (including this one). It looks like loads of fun! Booking in advance is required with sessions usually taking place over weekends and school holidays. 

Find out more: https://www.everyoneactive.com/centre/sunderland-aquatic-centre/atlantis-adventure-mega-inflatable/

Sunderland BID Events 

Sunderland BID organise lots of events (many free) across the year from outdoor cinema and ice trails to lantern parades and food festivals. 

Check what's on here: https://www.sunderlandbid.co.uk/events

Stadium of Light Tour / Beacon of Light Events 

Stadium tours are available to book and are popular with supporters young and old. Expect a look behind the scenes, a chance to venture into the dressing rooms, tunnel, press area and more.

Find out more and book: https://www.safc.com/fans/stadium-tours

It's also worth checking out events at Beacon of Light - a community space attached to the football club with absolutely loads going on from Soft Play and Fifa Tournaments to a huge variety of sports for all abilities and family fun days. 

Check out what's on here: https://beaconoflight.co.uk/what-s-on/

Harry's Game Shack 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids  - Harry's Game Shack

Harry's Game Shack is a place for gamers of all ages and abilities to enjoy a variety of games and consoles in their gaming lounge. There are over 60 stations to choose from ranging from retro games up to the latest consoles and VR games.

You can pay to play by the hour or there are regular special offers to choose from (some including food and drinks too). 

Find out more: https://www.harrysgameshack.com/

Laser Quest Sunderland with Mini Golf, VR and Escape Rooms 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids  - Laser Quest

Laser Quest Sunderland is a multi-purpose indoor leisure facility offering Escape Rooms, Laser Tag, VR Experiences and Mini Glow Golf. 

Find out more and book: https://lqsunderland.co.uk/

The Sweet Petite 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids - The Sweet Petite

If you have a sweet tooth or you're a fan of themed cakes and desserts, you have to try The Sweet Petite. It's a beautiful cake shop! We really enjoyed some Halloween themed cakes here last year. They also offer themed afternoon tea on selected occasions but these events do usually sell out really quickly. 

Find out more: https://www.thesweetpetite.co.uk/

Roker Beach

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids  - Roker Beach

Just a few miles from the City Centre you'll find Roker Beach which is a lovely place for a coastal walk. The prom is lined with independent coffee shops and lots of seating and you can pop into Roker Park too. 

Check out my blog guide to this walk here: Roker to Seaburn Pushchair Friendly Walk 

Thompson Park 

16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids  - Thompson Park

Again, Thompson Park is just outside of the city centre but worth a mention as it's fantastic with an enclosed playground, adventure playground, zip wire, interactive ball wall, sports courts, cafe and more. This park has just received loads of investment and it shows! 

Read our blog guide here: Thompson Park Sunderland Guide 

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16 Things to Do in Sunderland with Kids


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