Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Spectacular Sunderland

Sunderland is a city which lies at the heart of the City of Sunderland metropolitan borough, a part of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. It is situated at the mouth of the River Wear.

When I was growing up, my parents took me to the Sunderland Illuminations every year, the illuminations stopped in the 1990's much to many a small child's dismay (me included!)

The illuminations made a comeback in 2013 but unfortunately I didn't get to visit, so when I heard they were back for 2014 with an Alice in Wonderland theme, I couldn't wait to go.
My best friend and I visited last Saturday and had a wonderful time.

You can find more information on the illuminations here
Sunderland Illuminations return - Have fab memories of this as a child. Hope over the years it can grow and make a good come back!
Before our visit to the illuminations (we had to wait until it was dark) we decided to have a look around Sunderland as neither of us had been for some time. We started with a bit of shopping in The Bridges shopping centre which has improved dramatically since the last time I was there and has a really good range of shops now including the following:
There is also a large Debenhams to where I managed to snap up this fabulous dress reduced from £39.00 to £8.00 in the Miss Selfridge concession. Perfect for the wedding I will be attending soon.


As well as the above there are many independent and speciality shops, cafes, bars, the Empire theatre, the Sunderland museum and winter gardens and a cinema complex in Sunderland, all within easy walking distance of the centre of town.
Sunderland Empire theatre
The Empire Theatre, Sunderland
Sunderland Museum. The Winter Gardens. by CWhatPhotos, via FlickrInside the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens
We had dinner in a fabulous restaurant called Louie Louie which is an all you can eat buffet. We had never heard of it before but had a 2 for 1 voucher from the local paper and decided to give it a whirl, and boy were we glad we did!
I believe this place has recently been re-branded from Mr. Hau's to Louie Louie, and it had received some critical reviews in the past. We were welcomed in quickly and seated in a quiet spot, the restaurant itself is very spacious and the décor is good. The selection of foods was excellent, predominantly Chinese but also Indian, Japanese and English. There is also an are where you are able to chose from fresh ingredients and watch the chefs cook something for you. All of the food I tried was tasty, I am a vegetarian and managed to find more than enough choice. Some of the food has been out perhaps a little longer than is desirable e.g. the naan breads but we did eat at 5pm which is the change over time between lunch and dinner. The desert section was excellent with fresh fruit, cakes, Eaton mess, an ice cream bar and a chocolate fountain. With regards to drinks we were very surprised to find out that soft drinks were included in the price as were tea and coffee which is very unusual.  I would certainly visit again.
You can find out more about Sunderland here. If you are planning a visit to Sunderland or the North East, I am more than happy to advise you :)