A while ago, I used to work in Sunderland. I passed by the Winter Gardens every now and again, and once had a tour around for my job. Back then, I was too busy to realise what wonders the museum held, and we just had a little look in at the garden. So a wet and windy day had me going back to see what it’s like now.
The ground floor rooms are full of interesting, amazing, curiosities. There doesn’t seem to be a link between the items on display (there probably is), but each thing is fascinating to look at. There are pocket watches, a car, a few lions and this diver suit.
James had more fun playing dress up! There are a few ‘boy costumes’ and a few for girls. I think the girls could wear either, but the boys can’t really get away with the dresses and flowery caps. That’s sad, I think, because boys like dress up too, and we had to wait while a girl wore the top hat and coat. Something for them to think about, perhaps.
There’s a textile room which we enjoyed wandering around, mostly because you can touch the various fabrics, and that’s a nice sensory thing for Noah! He really liked these rocks in the Geology section upstairs. I’m afraid to say that a few were tasted! He’s fine, and I don’t think the rocks were hurt by that experience!
Also upstairs is a brilliant collection of glass from Sunderland (the National Glass Centre is just down the road), a collection of stuffed animals, and an exhibition about life in Sunderland through the centuries.
And there’s the adorable little house, which is literally just a hole in the wall. They need more tea set items, so if you’re nearby, have some you’re going to throw away, and passing – do drop them off! I had to drink my ‘tea’ out of a jug, and what’s that teaching our youngsters about the world?!
We had our real lunch in the restaurant. I ordered a ham sandwich for James, and a bacon and brie ciabatta for me. James’ sandwich was full of ham, and when he’d had a good go at it, but still left some, I can tell you I really regretted not having a spare Tupperware box with us.
When we visited Sunderland Winter Garden, the dinosaurs were exploring the gardens, too!
All in all, this was a brilliant day out for us. We parked just up the hill from the museum, and secure covered parking cost 90p per hour, which isn’t too bad. There’s a lovely looking park right next to the museum (look out for the walrus!) so if the weather is kind, you could take a picnic. There’s lots to see and do; I’ve just touched on the exhibits in this post, and best of all, the Sunderland Winter Gardens Museum is free!
Have you ever visited a Winter Garden?