Cheap Sunderland Hotels
What to see by car: Sunderland
Five miles west of Sunderland is the new town of Washington, focus of much
of the area's contemporary investment and manufacture. The original Old Village
has been zealously preserved as a conservation area which includes the ancestral
home of the family which spawned the first US president, the Washington Old
Hall. The 12th century National Trust building is a Jacobean showpiece, the
echoing, stone-flagged house has a fine kitchen, Great Hall and garden, and
some exemplary wood panelling.
To the north of Sunderland, Newcastle distinguishes itself with some fine Victorian
buildings, the revitalized Quayside and a vibrant cultural scene and nightlife.
England's northeastern region abounds in ancient Roman ruins and medieval castles.
The most famous of the Roman heritage is Hadrian's Wall, built along the seventy-odd
miles between the North Sea and the west coast and easily visited from the appealing
abbey-town of Hexham, just half an hour from Newcastle. In later centuries the
Norman kings and their immediate successors built a sequence of formidable fortresses,
most impressively those at Bamburgh, Alnwick and Warkworth. The Cathedral at
Durham is also an impressive piece of 12th century architecture.
The Northumberland coast boass some fine castles, as well as Holy Island, the
extravagant ramparts of Berwick-upon-Tweed, a string of superb, if chilly, beaches,
and the desolate archipelago of the Farne Islands. Inland there are the scenic
Durham dales and the harsh landscapes of Northumberland National Park, a huge
chunk of moorland and tree plantations that edges the most dramatic portion
of Hadrian's Wall.
Outdoor enthusiasts can test themselves on some challenging long-distance walks
or cycles. The main long-distance footpath through the northeast is the Pennine
Way, which crosses Hadrian's Wall and climaxes in a climb through the Northumberland
National Park and Cheviot Hills. Less demanding is the 63-mile St Cuthbert's
Way, which links Holy Island with Melrose, just across the border in Scotland.
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