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National Glass Centre

Location: Sunderland
Region: North East

Postcode: SR6 0GL

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Visit National Glass Centre

The National Glass Centre in Sunderland stands as a testament to the city's deep-rooted glass-making heritage. Nestled along the River Wear, this modern establishment not only celebrates historical craftsmanship but also showcases the contemporary wonders of glass artistry, making it a must-visit for both art enthusiasts and curious minds.

Visitor Information: National Glass Centre

  • National Glass Centre

    Positioned gracefully on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland, the National Glass Centre is a shining emblem of the city’s rich glass-making legacy. It’s not just a museum, but a thriving hub of education, artistry, and innovation.

    A Transparent History: Glass has been intertwined with Sunderland’s history for over 1,300 years. The National Glass Centre offers a profound glimpse into this intricate relationship. Through its galleries and exhibitions, visitors can trace the journey of glass-making, from ancient hand-blowing techniques to today’s industrial precision methods.

    Live Demonstrations: One of the Centre’s most captivating features is its live glass-making demonstrations. Watch in awe as skilled craftsmen transform molten glass into exquisite pieces of art. The fiery furnace, the gentle blow, and the artisan’s expertise combine to create a mesmerising spectacle.

    Interactive Exhibits: The Centre’s interactive exhibits are particularly appealing to younger visitors. These hands-on experiences provide insights into the science of glass-making, allowing participants to appreciate both its art and engineering aspects.

    Contemporary Glass Art: As a testament to the ever-evolving nature of this medium, the National Glass Centre also showcases contemporary glass art. These exhibits change periodically, reflecting the innovation and creativity of modern artists.

    Glass Roof & Viewing Platform: Offering a unique vantage point, the Centre’s glass roof and viewing platform allow visitors to literally walk on glass. It’s a surreal experience, providing panoramic views of the River Wear and the surrounding area.

    Workshops & Courses: For those inspired to try their hand at glass-making, the Centre offers a range of workshops and courses. Whether it’s crafting a simple bead or mastering the intricacies of glass-blowing, there’s something for everyone.

    Brasserie with a View: After a stimulating tour, visitors can relax at the Centre’s brasserie. Overlooking the river, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee or a delightful meal, reflecting on the wonders of glass.

    The National Glass Centre is more than just a destination; it’s an experience. For art enthusiasts, history buffs, or those simply curious about the magic of glass, it offers a multifaceted journey that’s both enlightening and entertaining. So, the next time you’re in Sunderland, make sure to carve out time for this sparkling gem.

  • Highlights
    Not to be missed when visiting

    Live Glass-Making Demonstrations: Witness artisans transform molten glass into breath-taking masterpieces right before your eyes.

    Interactive Exhibits: Dive into hands-on experiences, understanding the science and art behind glass-making.

    Contemporary Glass Art Exhibitions: Explore the innovation and creativity of modern-day glass artists through changing displays.

    Historical Galleries: Delve into Sunderland’s 1,300-year-old glass-making legacy, tracing its evolution over the centuries.

    Glass Roof & Viewing Platform: Experience the thrill of walking on glass while enjoying panoramic views of the River Wear.

    Craft and Design Shop: Browse a curated selection of handcrafted glass items, perfect for souvenirs or gifts.

    Glass Workshops & Courses: Engage in hands-on learning, from basic bead-making to advanced glass-blowing techniques.

    Brasserie Overlooking the River: Savour delicious meals or drinks with a scenic view of the riverside.

    Special Events & Temporary Exhibitions: Keep an eye out for exclusive events, workshops, and temporary exhibits that provide a fresh perspective on the world of glass.

    Educational Programs: Join guided tours, lectures, and educational sessions that delve deeper into the world of glass and its significance in the region.


  • How long does a visit to the National Glass Centre typically last?

    A standard visit lasts about 2-3 hours, but it can vary depending on your interests and participation in workshops or demonstrations.

  • Is there an entrance fee to the Centre?

    Entry to the National Glass Centre is generally free, but there may be charges for specific events or workshops.

  • Are guided tours available?

    Yes, guided tours are often available. It’s recommended to check the Centre’s schedule or contact them in advance for details.

  • Can children participate in the glass-making workshops?

    While children are welcome to many of the workshops, age restrictions might apply for certain activities due to safety concerns.

  • Is the Centre wheelchair accessible?

    Yes, the National Glass Centre is fully accessible for wheelchair users and also has disabled parking facilities.

  • Can I purchase the artworks on display?

    While many of the pieces are for exhibition only, the Centre’s Craft and Design Shop offers a selection of handcrafted items available for purchase.

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