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We do like to stay beside the seaside

A once famed North East tourism destination is reinventing itself, with a major redevelopment programme attracting visitors from across the UK and beyond.


We do like to stay beside the seaside

A once famed North East tourism destination is reinventing itself, with a major redevelopment programme attracting visitors from across the UK and beyond.

BOASTING beautiful blue-flag beaches, bustling bars and restaurants and a newly opened hotel and container village, the twin resorts of Roker and Seaburn Beaches have recently been amassing fervent crowds not seen in decades.

Once regarded as one of the nation's most popular tourism hotspots, the seaside in Sunderland has enjoyed a boost in 2021 with more Brits than ever staying on UK soil this year.  And, though dizzy summer days have passed, brisk, crisp winter walks and cake and a cuppa at the plethora of vibrant eateries that line the beach will replace days on Sunderland's golden sands.

Waves of investment into Roker and Seaburn, combined with the rising popularity of staycations over the past 12 months, have rapidly changed the fortunes of this once thriving tourist destination.  A stunning new streetscape, with public art, seating areas and play spaces has transformed the seaside.  Add to that new places, including Seaburn's £3million The Stack and - by day and night - Sunderland's seaside has sprung back to life. 

the stack

the stack 1

Home to a variety of street food traders, bars and retailers, STACK has established itself as a buzzing venue since opening last year, attracting a host of independent businesses from across the North East, from AcropolistoLonghorns, The Gin Cabinet and Yolo.

"We have seen a huge uplift in visitors from further afield in recent months, and with the opening of the new Seaburn Inn we expect this to continue to increase," said Gemma Dishman, marketing & special projects manager. "Seaburn offers the perfect location for a staycation, the coastline is stunning and it's close to other great visitor attractions across the North East making it the perfect base to explore the region."

The Seaburn Inn stands alongside STACK, overlooking the sands of Seaburn and is part of the Inn Collection Group, the North East leisure operator behind award winning developments such as The Amble Inn, The Seaton Lane Inn and The Conniston Inn. Since opening its doors in June, the 40-bedroom inn has proven a huge hit among the public, with visitors from across the country booking reservations and local customers flocking to frequent its luxury sea view bar and restaurant.

seaburn inn

Further along the promenade, the historic The Roker Hotel- home to the now world renowned Poetic License Distillery - has also continued to invest in its offering over recent months with improvements to its outdoor courtyard and just a stone's throw away, work is underway to transform a pre-war era toilet block into a third venue for Durham's Tin of Sardines - the world's smallest gin bar - which, once finished, will boast an open kitchen and picture postcard views from its hanging garden terrace overlooking Roker's iconic twin piers.

poetic license

The investment from Tin of Sardines has been backed by grant funding from The Coastal Communities Fund and will also see speciality delicatessen, Blacks Corner and a new fish restaurant led by two local restauranteurs open up over the next 12 months, breathing new life into three long-disused yet much-loved buildings.

Speaking about the plans, Tin of Sardines co-founder, Ben Davis, said: "As someone born and bred in Sunderland and as a family embedded in the region's hospitality industry for decades, we knew this was too good of an opportunity to turn down and were sold on the idea of bringing the concept to the city as soon as we set eyes on it.

"With a garden terrace to the rear and an open kitchen and bar, the venue will offer some of the city's finest views while serving up some of the finest locally-sourced produce and some of the world's most sought-after gins and we can't wait to open our doors to the public."

And alongside the seaside bars, cafes and eateries that will serve up food and drinks on the colder days of the year, the illuminating Festival of Light will see Roker Park transformed into a rainbow of colour, ensuring the seaside continues to draw in visitors as the winter draws in.  The Festival, which will run between October 14 and November 13, attracts thousands of families from across the North East, who will be bathed in the colours of thousands of twinkling lights that shine out across Roker Park and the seaside walk. 

From magical events and new venues, Sunderland's seaside is - it seems - firmly in the spotlight for all the right reasons.

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