One North East city was earlier this month named in a UK-wide study to be the worst to visit in the region – but do residents agree?

The study, carried out by The Telegraph, scored Sunderland a total of 89 points across four categories – transport, culture & heritage as well as green spaces.

Sunderland beat out cities including Bangor, Doncaster, and Carlisle, but still came close to the bottom of the list in the UK and was the worst-ranked city in the North East.

The Northern Echo: Sunderland City Centre.Sunderland City Centre. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

The home of the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light gained city status in 1992 and is also known for its tourist spots including Roker, Seaburn and the National Glass Centre.

The city is also home to the Winter Gardens museum - but Sunderland scored just 19 points for culture and heritage, despite a rich history of shipbuilding, stemming from the 18th century.

However, despite its merits, Sunderland was still branded as one of the UK’s worst in terms of its draw to tourists.

But do residents agree with this assessment? We spoke to Sunderland locals in the city centre to see what they thought about their city.

The Northern Echo: Sunderland City Centre.Sunderland City Centre. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

“The city is run down – it’s shocking”, was the view of one woman outside the newly built Sunderland Train Station – a £26 million project which first threw open its doors late last year.

She added: “When I was young, there were shops for people to visit, now it is just different, loads of litter everywhere and shops have closed.

“It was more of a city then than it is now.”

The draw or lack thereof of shopping was echoed by other residents.

Another added: “If you want to shop, you must go out of town. No shops are being built, there is student accommodation which is a waste of money.

“Tourist destinations are also out of town, there really isn’t a lot to see here in the city centre.”

The Northern Echo: Sunderland City Centre.Sunderland City Centre. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

One woman said: “For people to visit, there are pubs and bars to drink in, and restaurants to get a meal but people wouldn’t visit just to do that.”

However, some locals expressed more of a positive view about their hometown and criticised the ranking which put Sunderland near the bottom of the pile.

“I don’t agree with that ranking, but it really depends what people come to Sunderland to see. We have miles of coastline and parks for people to enjoy.

“Sunderland is fine for the people of Sunderland, but it really isn’t comparable to other cities.”

Another added: “I don’t understand why it has been ranked like that. I think it is a nice place to visit if people just come and give it a chance.”

The Northern Echo: Sunderland City Centre.Sunderland City Centre. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

Elsewhere in the region, Durham trumped Sunderland in the rankings with a total of 186 points - with its highest score of 60 coming from the culture and heritage category.


Get more content including the stories that matter to your community from The Northern Echo for just £5 for 5 months for a limited time only here.

Topping the list was Bath, which racked up 248 points overall.

Of Bath, the study reads: "Bath has Unesco World Heritage Site status not once but twice. One inscription covers the entire city – a rare honour that reflects its unique history and character; the other applies to Bath’s membership of the exclusive Great Towns of Europe club.

"The overall winner, as you’ll see, is a beautiful, rather gracious city that has long been regarded fondly – but which also has cultural clout."