Penshaw Monument | Sunderland | Location Review

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Penshaw Monument, Sunderland – Views, exercise and a great place to visit!

Here is the second review article in our North East location review series and we feel that this location, Penshaw Monument located in Sunderland, needed a bit more exposure.

If you’re a visitor to the north east of England then Penshaw Monument is a landmark that you most likely haven’t heard of or even seen.  Tucked away in the area of Houghton-le-Spring, Penshaw Monument is a landmark that we feel you simply cannot afford to miss out on going to see and enjoy whilst you are up here in the north east.

Penshaw Monument - Scale - wetryanything

Driving up to Penshaw Monument is an experience in itself.  We remember the first time that we had laid eyes on the monument from the road and we were suitably impressed.  Standing at 70 feet tall on the top of a hill it certainly does put the word monument in monumental.  Also if you visit it at night it is illuminated with an array of different colours, which can be seen miles away on a clear night.

Penshaw Monument illuminated


A little bit about Penshaw Monument

Constructed in 1844 Penshaw Monument, or otherwise known as The Earl of Durham’s Monument, was built on Penshaw Hill within the City of Sunderland.  It was commissioned as a dedication to John George Lambton who was the first Earl of Durham and acted as a memorial to his work on the Durham report in 1838 which became one of the most important documents in the British Empire at the time, detailing how the Empire should manage its colonies and build relationships with London and the Empire’s colonies.

The design is based on the Temple of Hephaestus, who was the Greek God of metalworking, craftsmanship and fire, which is located in Athens and was designed by architects John and Benjamin Green and finally then built by Thomas Pratt of Sunderland.

Penshaw Monument Roof - wetryanything

Penshaw Monument is now looked after by the National Trust and if you are a member or visit the monument on their open days then you can have access to a special staircase hidden within one of the columns of the monument allowing you to have a look around the top part of the landmark.



Penshaw Monument as we mentioned earlier is built upon Penshaw Hill and to get to the top takes about ten to fifteen minutes to scale to get to the actual monument itself.  It can get quite steep but the stairs that have been modelled into the hillside do help you get up there as well as down.

At the top of the hill, you certainly know that you have scaled the hill as your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest and you do get those jelly legs.  Of a morning you can catch some hardened joggers using the hill as part of their exercise regime.  So if you have a few hours handy and you fancy a free workout then be our guest.


Views on Views

At the top, and once your legs have got over the strain of that hill climb, is where this landmark really shines.  The monument itself is impressive and when standing in the construction itself you can get a sense of the scale of the whole thing and its uniqueness in construction.

Penshaw Monument Sea View wetryanything

The other element that shines is the views.  On a clear day, you can literally see for miles and miles.  From the coast on one side to views of Washington, a little bit of Gateshead and Sunderland on the other it really is a reward for all the effort you had put in climbing Penshaw Hill.

Standing in the middle of the monument is a unique experience as you feel enveloped with those monumental pillars that surround you, then you get those incredible views and finally, you have the open-air sensation that comes with the monument having no roof.  It is truly magnificent.  If you pick a day where there aren’t too many people visiting the monument and you are on your own it can be a truly relaxing experience with the silence of the monument only being interrupted slightly by passing cattle who use the hillside to graze.


Penshaw Monument – A great place to visit for all ages!

Penshaw Monument is truly a tourist attraction that appeals to all ages.  Whenever we have visited there you will always see families looking around the monument and their kids enjoying the freedom of the field that the landmark sits on.  It also has a wooded area which you can discover on the way back down the other side of the hill and once you are at the end of the wooded area, know as Penshaw Wood, there are a few pubs nearby where you can rest those weary legs and enjoy a well-earned drink.

The National Trust conducts events throughout the year at Penshaw Monument and you can even join the Egg Hunt that is carried out during the Easter half-term break.



Penshaw Monument shot from Herrington Park - wetryanything

We absolutely love Penshaw Monument. It is truly a unique tourist attraction in the north east of England that really stands out from its surroundings.  With its Greek-inspired design, the views that it has to offer and the peace and quiet that you are rewarded with then we would say that you really do need to visit this tourist attraction plus it’s free to visit so what more can you ask for.  It really has everything that you need – views, exercise and a great place to visit.

If you would like to know more about Penshaw Monument then why not visit the National Trust website by clicking here.

Read our reviews of the other places we have visited by clicking here.


You can find Penshaw Monument here…

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