The sun is shining, the city streets are brimming with action and Sunderland has a plethora of unmissable things to do in Sunderland for you and your loved ones this summer.

Whether it be new stores to explore, delicious menus to try or unmissable things to do in Sunderland with the family, we’ve rounded up 10 things we’re looking forward to in Sunderland…  

Here’s 10 things to look forward to in Sunderland this July…  





Thursday 1st July will mark the 114th Birthday for Sunderland Empire and as the venue prepares to turn off the ghost light, the theatre will play host to a special series of virtual gigs which will play homage to the iconic and spectacular spaces within the Grade II listed theatre.

The Ghostlight Sessions throughout July and August, will showcase a hotbed of musical talent from Sunderland with the Futureheads, Big Fat Big, Faye Fantarrow, Picnic, Field Music and The Lake Poets streaming weekly sets every Thursday over the next six weeks.

Sunderland Empire has seen some of the biggest names in entertainment take centre stage over the years from Charlie Chaplin to Laurel and Hardy, and from Kate Bush to The Beatles. 

The Ghostlight Sessions, which have been recorded by Sunderland recording producers Motorhouse Studios, will see Faye Fantarrow perform in the unused Opera Box, Field Music takeover the iconic domed Tower entrance and Big Fat Big will rock the Dress Circle Bar.

A trailer will be released on Thursday 1st July, and popular post punk four-piece, The Futureheads will be the first set to be released on Thursday 8 July at 8pm across Sunderland Empire’s social pages, further sets from all bands will be streamed weekly thereafter and will be free to view.






The city’s leading shopping centre, the Bridges, will be transforming into a Jurassic adventure-land from Monday 19 July to Friday 3 September

Families from across Wearside will experience the thrill of virtual reality as giant dinosaurs invade the centre this summer.

Visitors will download a free augmented reality app on their smartphone, before taking part in an exhilarating interactive trail around the centre. Using their camera phone, families will scan QR codes in 10 marked locations around the centre, to reveal towering life size dinosaurs!

The Bridges Dino Trail will encourage families to take pictures and post their favourite images online, as well as snap a few selfies on social media with the hashtag #BridgesDinoTrail for a chance to win weekly prizes.






Our brilliant local businesses continue to shine! Fausto, a beloved coffeeshop and cool spot on the Roker Riviera, is opening a brand new evening venture called Fausto Pizza & Bar!

Serving up some of the best authentic wood fired pizzas in the city alongside locally sourced craft beers and delicious cocktails, Fausto Pizza & Bar is shaping up to be one of the finest spots in the North East to tuck in to hand-stretched 12” beauties, sip away on rich coffee and take in some pretty special views of Sunderland’s award-winning coastline. 

From pepperoni classics to veggie creations featuring goats cheese, mushrooms, caramelised red onion, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and rocket with a drizzle of truffle oil, be sure to get a slice of the action once Fausto Pizza & Bar is up and running. 

Keep your eyes peeled for a grand opening via the link below.






We’re buzzing to see that Sunderland City Council’s beloved family event is returning this year and it’s one that we cannot wait to get involved with! 

One of the city’s most popular events, Active Sunderland BIG Walk is striding into action 11 July as organisers have just announced that three scenic routes complete with incredible views and lush wildlife will be available for participants to choose from. 

Whether you’re after a fully accessible, family friendly 3 mile walk round Herrington Country Park or keen on venturing further afield with either 7 or 11 mile hike across the city, the BIG Walk 2021 promises to be a jam-packed adventure in the sun.

Each participant will receive a t-shirt as well as a finishers medal and it’s a fab way to get out and about in the city, explore scenic vistas and get those legs pumping. 






A major installation by Sir Antony Gormley, one of the UK’s most celebrated artists is heading to Sunderland!

Field for the British Isles by Sir Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North, will be on display at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) at National Glass Centre from July until September this year.

This monumental installation comprises 40,000 small clay figures and was last in the region 25 years ago when it was on display at the former Greenesfield British Rail Works in Gateshead.

More than 25,000 people flocked to the exhibition and it went down a treat across the North East back in 1996.

The artwork will be on loan from the prestigious Arts Council Collection, an important national loan collection of modern and contemporary British Art.

Sunderland Culture is part of the Collection’s National Partners Programme which supports regional galleries and museums to present and curate exhibitions drawn from the Collection.






Sunderland Culture are inviting people from across the North to join the team as they celebrate the Winter Gardens’ 20th birthday in July with a jam-packed schedule brimming with family activities and student showcases.

The team will be creating amazing art using recycled materials to help us tread more lightly on the planet and raise awareness on climate change.

Visitors will be able to follow the Winter Gardens birthday trail to find 20 ways to protect our planet through the simple choices you and your family make.

As part of the 20th birthday celebrations, pupils from Hudson Road Primary School will be sending virtual birthday cards and decorating bunting to display in the Winter Gardens and Culture’s Learning Space. 

Media studies students from University of Sunderland have also made a short film about the history of the Winter Gardens, which will be released on 21 July, and families can take part in a summer programme of activities linked to the plants, fish and bugs that live in the gardens. 






Breaking news! The Summer Streets 2021 line-up has been announced and it’s a cracker! 

The Peacock will welcome Mercury Prize nominated band, Lanterns on the Lake to the city on 18 July for a seated, socially distanced show. They will be supported by Me Lost Me and Nadedja. 

Pop Recs will welcome Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Archipelago and Sunderland’s own Roxy Girls for a hair-raising gig in the city centre on Monday 19 July. It will be the first show held in the new Pop Recs venue and tickets for both events are free.  

Summer Streets 2021 will also welcome Royal Northern Sinfonia, Born Lippy, New York Brass Band and Ben Lunn & Autism Able to various venues and locations across the city. 

Established in 2014, Summer Streets Festival is an annual music, arts and community festival which takes place in Sunderland every July.

Summer Streets has played host to countless musicians, outdoor arts performers, comedians, spoken-word artists and workshop practitioners – with artists hailing from all over the world taking to the streets of Sunderland.

For more information on the event and to get tickets for physical shows, follow the link below.






A brand new, boutique pizza parlour is opening up in Sunderland city centre this summer!

Opening up over the road from Winter Gardens, Proven People are arriving into the city with a fresh concept never seen before here in Sunderland.

Think New York style pizza, craft beers from a range of brewers, natural wines, cocktails and an eclectic selection of live music from a range of DJs.

We’ll be heading along to their grand opening this July, so keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive review arriving shortly! 






The Peacock are welcoming iconic Sunderland band, The Futureheads to the decks on 3 July for an after hours DJ set this summer. 

Emerging as part of the “angular movement” of post-punk-inspired bands from the U.K. in the early 2000s, the Futureheads soon rocketed to the forefront of indie music here in the UK and spent spent most of 2005 touring, including dates supporting Foo Fighters, Oasis, and Pixies

Tickets are free, the music will be great and the drinks exquisite. Book via the link below:






Pop Recs’ brilliant new venue is here and what a stunner it is! 

Four years later after saving a dilapidated building at 170-173 High Street West, this brilliant culture hub is now opening up to the public for the first time as they host Summer Streets 2021 on Monday 19 July

A major driving force behind Sunderland’s growing culture scene, Pop Recs has become a beacon of light for creatives around the region.

Once the home of Sunderland’s very first Binns store in the 1840s, the building has been radically transformed into a cool creative space featuring an industrial interior and striking wall art. 


What are you most looking forward to this July? Stay in touch with the latest Sunderland news and updates. Twitter: @SunderlandVibe, Instagram: @SunderlandVibe, Facebook: @SunderlandVibe.

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