The Express has teamed up with our brand new sister site, 2Chill, to find out which place is truly the nation’s favorite.
Here, Aimee Robinson defends Sunderland and explains why it is a place worth discovering.
If you agree – or disagree – we’ll give you the opportunity to vote in the search to find the UK’s favorite spot.
Head over to 2Chill to see who is at the top of the leaderboard.
Keep in mind that the rankings will keep changing, so vote.
The places with the lowest number of votes will end up in the relegation zone.
The 10 lowest leaderboards will be eliminated every week until we find ourselves with our worthy winner.
You will forever be my home, no matter where in the world I live. Nicknamed “the house of friends”, you are home to a population of over 277,700 Mackems always ready to laugh and shake their chins. And while you might not be the typical tourist destination, based on the 2021 numbers, your vacation appeal is on the rise. In April of this year, you saw a 13.8% increase in holiday accommodation bookings over 2019. Maybe they’re starting to see all the hidden gems that make you shine for me, or maybe -be they were inspired by the Netflix docuseries. ‘Sunderland Until I Die’.
The documentary follows the city’s soccer team, an aspect that is the beating heart of the community.
Even for those like me, almost totally inexperienced in the beautiful game, the passion for the club goes far beyond what happens on the pitch.
It is a representation of the passion of the people of Sunderland, a working-class town that, even in its darkest times, has hope.
Despite the fact that the team haven’t won a major trophy since the 1973 FA Cup, their home turf remains one of the most remarkable in the country.
The Stadium of Light is England’s ninth largest stadium, and football is a major player in drawing visitors to the homeland of red and white.
READ MORE: Spanish hoteliers ‘turn down’ bookings from UK travelers
However, you are much more than a Netflix documentary.
To me, your location is one of your most attractive attributes.
While Sunderland’s transport links might not be the best in the country, you’re a city straddling the best of all worlds, all easily accessible.
Your mix of coastal, rural and urban landscapes means there are plenty of places to explore.
Those who aren’t in the know might not realize it, but you are home to 12 stunning beaches and a stunning coastline perfect for cliff top walks at sunset.
Some of my favorites are Roker and Seaburn, two stretches of sand that are popular with sunbathers (weather permitting), surfers, and wild swimmers.
You are also only a short drive from an abundance of beautiful rolling fields and countryside.
Herrington Country Park, for example, was built on the site of a former coal mine, spanning over 30 acres and is home to over 100 species of birds.
The Green Flag-awarded park even had its moment in the national spotlight, hosting several major events in the past, including BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend.
While your city center may be modest, visitors looking for greater urban sprawl are only a 30-minute tube ride from nearby Newcastle.
DO NOT MISS
Climb aboard this luxury yacht in Manchester [INSIDER]Public holidays: the traffic light system could be “scrapped” by “September” [COMMENT]France is not waiting for the British to return this summer: “2020 was a shock” [INTERVIEW]
It’s not just your location that makes you so special, however.
Sunderland has an incredibly rich heritage, spanning shipbuilding and mining, which you can discover in the eponymous museum and adjacent winter gardens.
Little nods to your story are everywhere though.
There is the National Glass Center, for example, which sits on the banks of the River Wear.
The awe-inspiring cultural venue is dedicated to the history of glassmaking, but more recently it has also given voice to your people with a new, immersive art installation. “We Are Sunderland” allows locals to integrate into the cityscape, representing what you mean to them.
There is the Ivy House, a short walk from the town’s bus station, the Ship Isis recommended for its selection of craft beers or the recently refurbished Vaux Brewery which offers a taste of the brewer’s 200-year history. Sunderland.
You are also home to a fairly good range of bars and restaurants, each offering their own unique touch to the city.
I’ve spent many evenings laughing with friends over a delicious meal or a handcrafted cocktail among my favorites, including Mexico 70, No 2 Church Lane or Poetic License.
Behind all of these companies are your people – all 277,733 of them. And they really are what I think makes Sunderland so special.