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“hour to spend”

National Glass Centre
Ranked #3 of 48 things to do in Sunderland
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Based in a unique, contemporary glass and steel building, the National Glass Centre houses exhibition galleries, artists' studios and production facilities, a craft & design shop and an award winning café/restaurant. National Glass Centre is part of the University of Sunderland. We deliver a programme of changing exhibitions, education programmes and events for schools, families, adults and children. We are dedicated to exploring ideas through glass and providing opportunities for people to be creative, enjoy themselves and feel inspired.
South Shields, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
102 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“hour to spend”
Reviewed 23 August 2014

interesting history of glass in the area, at various times there is demonstrations of glass working and some exhibits. also a gallery which houses exhibits by artists, this looks like one room but enter and you can pass through two other rooms with quite intricate exhibits in them. it is possible to walk on the roof of the building for views of river Wear, be aware that you can walk across the glass part of the roof and look down to the museum and riverside walk. I combined the visit with a riverside walk, and a visit to st Peter's church

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank ian1509
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NGC_GlassCentre, Public Relations Manager at National Glass Centre, responded to this review, 26 August 2014
Thanks for your positive review of our centre. We are glad you enjoyed your experience with us and look forward to welcoming you back in the future.
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650 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
North Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Fascinating place, great brasserie”
Reviewed 22 August 2014

Free entry, with boxes for donations, and free parking. Excellent wheelchair access, with a dedicated lift down to the lower floor, and disabled toilets on both floors which were spotlessly clean, with plenty of handrails.

The display cases in the historical section were a little high for me to see into them properly from my wheelchair, but there are many interesting artefacts displayed in them, and a detailed history around the walls of glass-making in Sunderland. Also on the entry level is the exhibition space, where we had excellent access to three very different contemporary exhibitions.

Down on the riverside level, we were really interested in the demonstration of working glass on a lathe (the small child behind us announced, 'That man's doing magic!', and we could see why!). We missed the morning demonstration of lampwork, unfortunately.

The shop is well-stocked and not as expensive as we expected, and the brasserie was first class. We went for the option of home made cake with optional pouring cream (£3), and can confirm that the chocolate cake and cranachan were both lovely! My cappuccino was generously sized and tasted very pleasant. The staff were very helpful and attentive and, thanks to the glass walls, we had a panoramic view of the riverside.

I expected more content, but the entire place was well set out and very wheelchair- friendly.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank Heather C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NGC_GlassCentre, Public Relations Manager at National Glass Centre, responded to this review, 26 August 2014
Thanks for your positive review of our centre. We are glad you enjoyed your experience with us and look forward to welcoming you back in the future.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Surrey
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Fascinating insight into glassmaking”
Reviewed 22 August 2014

A good way to spend a few hours.
The demonstrations were really good, the process for lathing and for blowing was explained clearly by knowledgeable craftsmen.

The shop was really aimed at children with the usual pocket money tat you get in any museum shop, it would have been good to see more actual glass pieces for sale.

I was hoping for an area with seconds or items that did not turn out as planned that you can buy .

The glass roof seems to be a big hit with the children.

The café was clean and tidy and food was ok but maybe a tad over priced, however the views made up for this.

The section showing the history of glass making was interesting. The display showing old glass items and Pyrex dishes brought back lots of memories.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank mrssmart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NGC_GlassCentre, Public Relations Manager at National Glass Centre, responded to this review, 26 August 2014
Thanks for your positive review of our centre. We are glad you enjoyed your experience with us and look forward to welcoming you back in the future. With regards to our Shop: as we are a Centre which is used by art and glass enthusiasts and schools and families alike, our retail policy tries to cater to all audiences. We have a large selection of beautifully hand-crafted glass and ceramics by local artists available. Our exclusive Hot Glass Studio Range is created by the glass makers on the premises and you can find a cabinet of affordable studio seconds and demonstration glass in our Hot Glass Studio, next to our demonstration area, for sale at around £30 per piece. Hope this helps for your next visit!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sunderland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A great day out.”
Reviewed 15 August 2014

First time we been to the glass centre, me my 4 nephews and there nana had a great day. Really easy to get to and when we went there was butterfly mobile making it cost £2 per child but it was worth it they spent a hour colouring in and sticking things and they came out happy with something to take home that they had made.
Then we had a walk around looked at the exhibitions then went for lunch in the café, it was a lovely seating area the staff where first class did not have to wait to long and the food was excellent was a bit pricey but it was nice so don't mind paying.
Then we went and watched the glassblowing kids loved it seeing how they made a vase, there was a guy explaining everything that the woman was doing, very interesting. After that we had a look around the gift shop, all in all we had a great day out and would go back.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank Gillybean87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NGC_GlassCentre, Public Relations Manager at National Glass Centre, responded to this review, 22 August 2014
Many thanks for your positive review of National Glass Centre. We are delighted that you enjoyed your experience with us! Keep an eye on our website for future offers and events. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stockton-on-Tees, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
143 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“A bit disappointing”
Reviewed 14 August 2014

It's a long time since we visited and the walk on the partial glass roof is still as exciting. Inside there didn't seem too much to do. We viewed the Solo exhibitions which were not to our taste but provoked discussion. I know it's not a museum but thought there could have been more to read and view. Most interesting was the Pyrex tableware from the 60's.
In the time we were there most people seemed to use the place for the restaurant or to access the great walks along the river. We walked to Roker and really enjoyed it.
If we returned it would be for one of the latter 2 reasons

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank Linda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NGC_GlassCentre, Public Relations Manager at National Glass Centre, responded to this review, 22 August 2014
Many thanks for review of National Glass Centre. Your feedback about our exhibitions has been forwarded to the relevant departments. Our visitors often say they enjoy our free glass blowing demonstrations with commentary, which happen throughout the day, on a daily basis - we hope you managed to catch one of these - as they are a highlight of every visit.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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