18 March 2021/ Area guides

Office leasing guide: Sunderland

Offices to rent in Sunderland 

A cosmopolitan cocktail of city, coast and countryside, Sunderland has all the buzz of the big city combined with the quiet charm of both the country and seaside.

Located in Tyne and Wear on the north-eastern coast of England and dating back to the 7th Century, Sunderland grew into a port specialising in shipbuilding and the trade of coal and salt. By the 18th Century, Sunderland was hailed as the 'Greatest Shipbuilding Town in the World.' However, with the mines' closure and the decline of the shipbuilding industry, Sunderland was forced to reinvent itself by developing new industries.

With a strong track record for making things skilfully, including glass and ships, today Sunderland is gaining a reputation for attracting and nurturing successful enterprises, from manufacturing to emerging technologies. There are more than 91 internationally owned companies based in Sunderland, employing around 25,940 people.

More than £1.5 billion is being invested in the city by 2024, an ambitious regeneration project to open up new opportunities in advanced manufacturing, financial and customer services, technology, distribution, retail and leisure.

The University of Sunderland also has two campuses in the city focusing on the arts, design and sciences, as well as business, law, tourism, education, computing and engineering.

Although firmly rooted in industry and production, Sunderland is becoming an increasingly cosmopolitan and diverse city with large investments being made into growing arts and culture. For theatre buffs, the Sunderland Empire Theatre, which dates back to 1907, is one of the largest in the northeast of England with capacity for over 2 000 people and regularly playing host to West End productions.

Keen to learn more about living and working in Sunderland? We have everything you need to know. 

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Notable business areas in Sunderland

Sunderland has a dedicated Business Improvement District located in the city centre. The area is a business-led, working partnership with one clear vision – to create a vibrant and entrepreneurial city centre with opportunities for everyone. Since 2014, the BID has invested more than £3m into developing the city centre.

The Sunderland Software Centre is a hotspot for technology companies and home to some of the country's most innovative businesses, including Sagezza, Avnet, Green Marine Solutions and Coatsink.

Another fantastic location for technology and software companies is the Evolve Business Centre. Located on the outskirts of Sunderland, at Rainton Bridge South, close to the A1 and A19, Evolve is a state-of-the-art business centre, often described as 'Sunderland's Silicon Valley'. 

And if you're looking for a space to start or grow your company, look no further than the Washington Business Centre. Easily accessed just off the A19 and A1231, Washington Business Centre has everything needed to suit new and expanding businesses.

Getting around in Sunderland

With easily accessible road and rail links, an international airport connected by the metro to the city centre, and a seaport minutes from open water, Sunderland connects businesses to global markets.

Sunderland has excellent road links to most major towns and cities

Sunderland has excellent road links to most major towns and cities in the north of England for those travelling by car. Durham is close by via the A690, and Newcastle is only a 40-minute drive away.

International Airports are less than an hour away

Sunderland is also accessible by major airlines through Newcastle International and Durham Tees Valley airports. It takes approximately one hour on the local metro services from Newcastle International to Sunderland. And Durham Tees Valley airport is just a 40-minute drive away. 

Trains link Sunderland to cities across the UK and Scotland

Sunderland is well connected to both Newcastle and York by train. It also has direct lines to Edinburgh and London, and there are five daily direct trains to London King's Cross on weekdays, which take around 3.5 hours.

The Tyne and Wear Metro, the second-largest metro system in the UK, serves Sunderland, linking the city with Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside and North Tyneside. From Sunderland, Newcastle is just 30 minutes on the Metro, making commuting quick, easy and affordable.

Sunderland has excellent bus networks 

Sunderland has excellent bus networks serving the whole area of Sunderland, Washington and Houghton-le-Spring and even further to Newcastle and Durham.

Sunderland is a bike-friendly city

Cycling Sunderland is one of the best and easiest ways to get around. The city has a number of well-maintained cycle paths, which take you from Sunderland's outer edges into the heart of the city and along its glorious coastline.

Offices, serviced offices and shared workspaces in Sunderland

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Sunderland has excellent business amenities

The city has many affordable hotels

The right amenities are essential for business trips, and hotels in Sunderland certainly do not disappoint. Whether you need conference or meeting rooms, a gym or a hearty breakfast to fuel up for the workday, Sunderland has many suitable hotels from budget up to luxury.

If you really want to treat yourself, your colleagues or clients, book a room at the Roker Hotel. Built over 170 years ago, the Roker is one of Sunderland's oldest hotels. Only one mile away from the local metro with links to Sunderland and Newcastle city centres, this hotel boasts proximity to stunning local attractions well within walking distance. It also has two function venues for events for up to 350 people, as well as three lively eating and drinking establishments.

The Hilton Garden Inn adjacent to the Stadium of Light, home to Sunderland Football Club, is another great option for a business trip. Make use of one of the hotel's three meeting rooms, enjoy a meal at the Karbon Grill Kitchen and Bar or take advantage of the 24-hour fitness centre.

For a good value for money option, the Premier Inn located right in the middle of the city centre on Hind Street is also a convenient spot to spend a night or two. 

Sunderland has restaurants to suit every taste and budget

From some of the country's best seafood restaurants to vintage tearooms, fine dining and gastro pub grub, Sunderland has something to suit every taste and budget.

Given the city's proximity to the sea, you wouldn't be wrong to expect restaurants in the area to serve up a high standard of seafood. Latimer's is always a popular choice offering diners only the finest selection of local seafood. If you're in the mood for fish and chips, Minchella's is another great option. Situated next to the beach, there's almost always a long queue of people out the door, waiting for Sunderland's best fish and chips.

If you're looking to impress a client or spoil a colleague, D'Acqua has an eclectic mix of delicious English, French and Italian fare served from the basement level of a Grade 2 listed building in the heart of Sunderland.

And for those who need their early morning caffeine fix before a long day at the office, Sunderland also has an impressive independent coffee scene with trendy cafes like Fausto Coffee or Coffea Caban popping up all over the city.


Sunderland has lots of other useful and exciting amenities

Most people don't think of the great outdoors when they think of Sunderland – but they should. The city is home to five green flag parks such as Herrington Country, Hetton Lyons and Roker Park. Not to mention the sports facilities on offer at Thompson Park and exotic wildlife at Washington Wetlands.

Sunderland is also home to the Bridges Shopping Centre, an indoor mall that houses more than 90 different shops. So whether you're looking for fashion or furniture, you're sure to find whatever is on your shopping list. There's also an emerging independent shopping scene in the Park Lane Shopping Village, offering shoppers an eclectic mix of items from locally owned businesses.

For the fitness fanatics, there's no shortage of gyms and fitness facilities in Sunderland. In the city centre, JD Gyms on Trimdon Street has hundreds of pieces of the best cardio and strength equipment, offers over 300 classes a month and has plenty of free parking. There's also a Crossfit facility and a David Lloyd gym, a stone's throw away from the Sunderland Software Centre.

Offices, serviced offices and shared workspaces in Sunderland

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Key agents

  • Montagu Evans LLP
  • Cushman & Wakefield
  • Stephen Kane & Company
  • Sanderson Weatherall LLP
  • Avison Young
  • Lofthouse and Partners
  • Knight Frank LLP
  • Naylors Gavin Black

Notable Tenants

  • Saggezza
  • Avnet
  • Faurecia
  • EDF Energy
  • Barclays Bank
  • Berghaus
  • CitiGroup
  • Arriva
  • Nissan

Interesting facts about Sunderland

  • Dating back to the 13th century, Washington Old Hall in Sunderland was the ancestral home of the family of George Washington, the first President of the United States.
  • Lewis Carroll took inspiration from Sunderland and the northeast for many of his works, including Alice in Wonderland.
  • Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, on Borough Road, was the first municipally funded museum in the country outside London.
  • Every year, Sunderland hosts a short film festival, an event that has attracted filmmakers from around the world and is inspired by the city's partnership with Washington DC.
  • Sunderland's St Peter's Church, on the north bank of the river, was once home to one of the greatest ever Anglo-Saxon scholars, the Venerable Bede. It's one of the earliest stone-built churches with original parts still standing.