Sunderland – Saturday, 22nd August 2015 at 15:00
Address: Stadium Of Light, Sunderland, SR5 1SU
Telephone No: 0871 911 1200
What’s It Like
The Stadium of Light, can be rocking, with the PA system deafening and the Sunderland supporters exceptionally friendly. 3,000 Swans fans are in the upper tier of the north stand at one end of the stadium. The facilities and views are excellent. Food and drink on offer are fish & chips, pies, pizza, pasties, and jumbo sausage rolls. Fosters, Strongbow and John Smiths are sold.
Visiting the North East
If you’re going to do a footy weekend, there’s no better place than just up the road at Newcastle, and a good number of hotels makes this possible (way too many to list here) – I’ve stayed at the Cumberland Arms in Byker (NE6 1LD), a 10 minute Metro ride outside Newcastle centre. It’s a real ale and real cider lover’s paradise with up to 10 varieties of each on offer and always live music on the weekends. Loads of restaurants, pubs and clubs make Newcastle a party destination, where you’re bound to encounter countless hen and stag parties.
At the Discovery Museum (NE1 4JA), a free exhibit, walk the streets of Newcastle through the years, from Roman times up to the early millennium, stopping by the homes, communities and businesses of the past. See the Norman castle that give Newcastle its name, take a look at the city’s Victorian past, learn more about Newcastle’s effort in supporting both World Wars and groove away as the swinging 60s swept through the toon.
At the same venue, on the Saturday at 11am, there’s ‘The All New Superhero Squad’ – There’s a load of superhero themed activity from crafts, challenges and daring games plus a huge party to celebrate all the new cadets success with dancing music and prizes. Each little superhero will receive a certificate and party bag to take home. Cost of entry is £15 (child with one adult), each extra adult is £6.
Sunderland itself has plenty of places to visit. The National Glass Centre (SR6 0GL) has free entry. In the Glass Studio watch live glass blowing with commentary every day. It has many exhibitions and a café. Hylton Castle (SR5 3PA) is a gatehouse-tower of a castle built shortly before 1400. The castle is the second oldest building in Sunderland and situated in its own grounds alongside St Catherine’s Chapel. It also has its own ghost – the Cauld Lad.
Herrington Country Park (SR1 7DN) offers walks, cycle trails, environmental sculptures and more. The park is one of the largest open-air concert sites in the area and a contemporary children’s play park, designed around a well-known local myth, the story of the Lambton Worm. Wildfowl Wetlands Trust Washington Wetlands Centre (NE38 8LE) is nearby, set in 45 hectares of wetland and woodland on the River Wear, Washington Wetland Centre is one of the North East’s biggest conservation success stories.
Pubs and Grub
There are bars inside the ground, but it gets really crowded. The ‘William Jameson’ (SR1 1RH), a Wetherspoons in the centre of town has a great atmosphere. ‘The Albion’ (SR6 0EN) on Victor Street, is a 5 minute walk from the ground, with some parking nearby. It’s friendly and they put on complimentary snacks after the game; and a chippy a couple of doors away.
Two social clubs – The Sunderland Companions Club (SR5 1AH), and New Democratic Club (SR5 1AH), are both a 5 minute away, on the road approaching the Wearmouth bridge on the North (stadium side) of the river. They both get very busy, and will offer a warm welcome to away fans, and serve cheap beer.
If you have some spare time, the ‘Harbour View’ (SR6 0NU) is a 15-20 minute walk. Go along Roker Avenue, opposite the main entrance to the stadium to the seafront. Turn left along the seafront and you’ll see the pub up on the left. It serves good beer, reasonably priced food with large screen TVs. You’ll get some good views along the coast here.
Air Travel, Train and Parking
Newcastle airport is 24 miles away, the Metro runs from the airport to the stadium every 15 minutes with trips of 55 minutes. There’s limited car parking at the ground; but traffic for a few miles around the ground is pretty bad, so allow plenty of time.
Alternatively, park in the city centre and walk to the ground (10-15 minutes). There’s a free ‘Park & Ride’ scheme on match-days at Sunderland Enterprise Park, which is well signposted off the A1231. Buses run every 5 minutes, for 90 minutes before kick-off and after the game.
Trains leave Swansea at 05:58 and 06:58, getting into Sunderland at 13:09 and 14:09. There are no trains back to Swansea that day, so an overnight stay is a must. Trains leave at 03:58, 05:58, and 06:58; journeys are 7 hours plus.
The station in the city centre is a 15 minute walk from the stadium. Exit the station opposite Greggs, turn right heading towards a JJB store, walk through the gap between JJB and a nail bar to the right of JJB. Keep walking straight ahead and in 100 metres you’ll see the stadium over the Wearmouth Bridge. Cross the bridge, and turn left into Millennium Way, opposite the now closed Wheatsheaf pub. The away turnstiles are straight ahead.
The Metro stations ‘Stadium of Light’ and ‘St. Peters’ can be used and only a few minutes’ walk from the stadium, away fans should use St Peters as its closer to their entrance.
For the Travelling Jacks making the trip – Be Loud, Be Proud and Be Positive!