National Glass Centre Sunderland: Where Art Meets Innovation

by | Feb 3, 2022 | Explore Sunderland

Discover how glass arrived in Britain, how it is made and why Sunderland has such a rich glassmaking heritage here at the National Glass Centre. During your visit, you get to learn about the Anglo-Saxon abbot, Saint Benedict Biscop, who first brought glassmaking to Sunderland, and Britain, back in the 7th Century AD. Biscop and his team of glaziers produced stained glass for the impressive windows at Bishop Wearmouth Monastery.

Fast forward, over 1300 years later, you can explore how the craftsmen of Sunderland’s factories, such as Pyrex and Hartley Woods, went on to produce some of the finest glass in the world century after century. The resident glassmakers of the National Glass Centre have kept those skills alive. Trained in the art of turning molten glass into beautiful pieces of art, the Centre’s glass blowing team creates all manner of things, from glass baubles at Christmas to hearts for Valentine’s Day.

Watching this can be enjoyed from the comfort of a seat at one of the Centre’s six daily glass demonstrations with commentary, or you can get even closer to the action and book a hands-on glassmaking experience. In the exhibition area, you can marvel at some of the world’s finest contemporary glass and ceramic artists, as well as up and coming artists currently studying with the University of Sunderland. In 2018, the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art was added to the building, meaning you can now enjoy a constantly changing programme of both established and emerging contemporary artists’ work.

The learning team deliver an extensive family crafts programme with lots to do for all ages, such as glass painting, glass sand casting, glass fusing and ceramic crafts. Keep an eye out for things to do, especially around school holiday times. You can also pick up your own souvenir or a stunning example of glass art in our gift shop, kids love the marbles, before taking a well-earned rest in The Glass Yard Cafe with its captivating views out onto the River Wear.

The Magnum Hotel is just an 8-minute drive away from National Glass Centre. After enjoying the glass demonstration at the Centre, head back to a relaxing stay with comfy beds, free wi-fi, free parking, and a restaurant next door. Book your stay: www.magnumsunderland.com 

Explore Sunderland with us? Discover and plan your perfect trip with local insights, travel guides and destination inspiration from AG Hotels Group. Sign up for our newsletters, here

× How can we help you?