13 February 2018

National Glass Centre, Sunderland

The National Glass Centre is found on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland. The centre is close to the site of St Peter’s Church, part of the Monkwearmouth-Jarrow Priory that was built in 674. It was here that Benedict Biscop introduced glass making into Britain, by hiring French glaziers to make the windows for the priory.

The glass making industry exploded in the 18th century and Sunderland glass became known throughout the country. In later years, the Pyrex brand of glassware was manufactured in Sunderland until 2007 when the last two remaining glass firms announced that they would close. The centre opened in 1998 and is now free to visit; visitors can walk on its glass roof and look down into the centre below. We had dinner in the Glass Centre café which is directly below the glass roof.

While we were there, we were able to watch the glass blowing demonstration which is run at intervals throughout the day along with other demonstrations. The gift shop contains lots of hand-crafted glass items.

We finished the day with a walk along Roker beach which is only a 5 minute drive away.


6 February 2018


Saltburn is a little seaside town in North Yorkshire just a few miles from Middlesbrough and is filled with Victorian charm and smuggler legends. The pier is the last one remaining on the North East coast, with only around 50 pleasure piers surviving in the country. The famous cliff lift has also been attracting tourists for years. The valley gardens are home to a mini railway, a tea room and stunning Italian gardens.

The coastline from Whitby to Saltburn is famed for its smuggler folklore. Remote coastal communities were ideal for smugglers as it was easy for contraband to pass from house to house with no risk of detection. Saltburn was a haven for smugglers with its huge cliffs and coves. 

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