National Glass Centre


Inspiring people to learn about, make and enjoy contemporary glass.


National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland is a cultural attraction and venue with a difference. With glass at the heart of everything they do, they reflect Sunderland’s glass making heritage and celebrate the work of contemporary artists working at the cutting edge of their field.

Glass making is a key element in the history of Sunderland, bringing together its religious, social and industrial heritage. Discover the origins, growth and legacy of glass making in Sunderland with their permanent exhibition, Stories of Glass in Sunderland.  Using compelling personal stories from local people and striking audio visual display, this interactive exhibition traces the history of glass making in the City from the 7th Century to the present day.

National Glass Centre’s gallery spaces host their international exhibitions programme, which presents the work of leading contemporary artists in glass and ceramics.

Their popular, free glass blowing demonstrations run throughout the day and families can explore their exhibition spaces with themed tours and treasure hunts and play on their iconic glass roof. Family activities as well as adult courses and classes run throughout the year providing hands-on glass experiences.

National Glass Centre’s Shop stocks a fantastic range of glass, ceramics and jewellery, with their new Made in Sunderland range celebrating the work of local artists. Choose the perfect souvenir for your day out!

Visitors can enjoy fantastic local food in the beautiful riverside surroundings of The Glass Yard which is is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea as well as the legendary Sunday lunch. Every month during the summer they host live music evening events and you can even get married there!

National Glass Centre – Reflecting our past; igniting our future.


Opening Times

National Glass Centre (1 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020)
The Glass Yard Cafe | Last hot food orders at 16:00 (1 Jan 2020 - 31 Dec 2020)

* Open all year daily 10:00-17:00. Closed 25 Dec & 1 Jan.
Admission FREE

Dates and times marked with a '*' are provisional and may be subject to change



Guide Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff

Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis.

Map & Directions

Road Directions

From North: Depart Tyne Tunnel and follow A19 to Sunderland for approximately 4 miles. Take A1231 Sunderland/Gateshead exit and turn left at the roundabout (A1231) Sunderland.

From South: Join A19 North and take A1231 Sunderland/Gateshead exit. Turn left at the roundabout (A1231 Sunderland).

Follow the brown directional signs to the National Glass Centre.

Public Transport Directions

Metro: Nearest station is St Peters or Sunderland Station.

Cycle: The National Glass Centre is part of the C2C Cycle Route and the Coast to Coast Cycle Trail from Whitehaven, Cumbria to Roker in Sunderland.

By Train: Regular services operate between Sunderland and Newcastle every 30 minutes. Travelling from the east coast mainline (Darlington, Leeds and London) is via Newcastle. There is a direct rail link to Sunderland from Middlesbrough every hour.

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  • All Areas Accessible to Disabled Visitors
  • Facilities for Hearing Impaired Visitors - Induction loops in pod conference room and education room.
  • Facilities for Visually Impaired Visitors - Large print and braille information and signage.
  • Guide Dogs Permitted
  • Parking Areas for Disabled Visitors
  • Ramp / Level Access
  • Toilets for Disabled Visitors


  • On-Site café/restaurant - Restaurant catering for 100 people, serving full meals and snacks throughout the day. Special group discount packages available.
  • Picnic Site

Languages spoken

  • Polish spoken

Parking & Transport

  • Car parking
  • On site parking
  • Parking (free)

Payment Methods

  • Approx length of visit - 2 hours to 1/2 a day
  • Blue Badge Guides admitted free
  • Delta accepted
  • Groups Accepted - Essential to prebook.
  • Maestro accepted
  • MasterCard accepted
  • Special group rates - Meal packages
  • Sterling Travellers Cheques accepted
  • TIC Staff Admitted Free
  • Visa accepted

Provider Facilities

  • Conference facilities - Five different rooms of various sizes can accomodate groups up to 250 people.
  • Event Venue
  • Toilets

Provider Features

  • In town/city centre
  • Indoor Attraction
  • No Smoking Attraction

Target Markets

  • Family Fun - Workshops held regularly, please contact reception for a What's on Guide
  • Marketed Towards Children
  • Marketed Towards Families
  • Marketed Towards Senior Citizens
  • Marketed Towards Students / Youth

Tours and Demonstrations

  • Demonstrations Given
  • Educational Visits Accepted - 5 meeting rooms available which can hold between 1 and 250 people.
  • Guided Tours Available for Groups
  • Guided Tours Available for Individuals


Sunderland, Sunderland


  • Visit England Code of Practice 2014
  • Regional and MiscellaneousNorth East England Tourism Awards - Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award – Bronze North East England Tourism Awards - Large Visitor Attraction of the Year Award – Bronze 2014


  • VAQAS VB Attraction VAQAS

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