Sunderland is home to the National Glass Centre. This coastal town has a long history of glass making and the Glass Centre, attached to Sunderland University, is a great place to visit. Admission to this attraction is free and within the building there are exhibitions, a museum and a restaurant. Glass blowing demonstrations also take place several times each day.
Glass making was introduced into Britain by Benedict Biscop near this site around 674AD when French glaziers were brought to the area to produce stained glass windows for St. Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth.
As time passed the wealth of coal mines in the area provided vast quantities of cheap coal needed for 18th century glass making. The port of Sunderland also proved ideal for importing high quality Baltic sand needed to produce the glass and then exporting the finished product. Sunderland was later home to Pyrex and Cornings.
Sited at the mouth of the River Wear the views from the building are outstanding. There is also a glass roof that is able to withstand 460 people standing on it at any one time - if you feel brave enough to take a walk over it I'd recommend wearing trousers as the roof is directly over the Brasserie.
The locally sourced food in the brasserie is very good value and also extremely tasty - the seafood in particular is always my first choice at this venue - in fact I've been there a few times just for lunch as I love the 'Captain's (seafood) Platter' so much.