Access & Facilities

National Glass Centre is a fully accessible building in all areas.

We have eight parking spaces for blue badge holders and a further 80 spaces. There is also a drop-off point near to the main entrance.

We have disabled toilet facilities and a lift to the lower levels of the Centre.

We have free manual wheelchair hire facilities, available on request at the Visitor Services desk. We offer these on a first come, first served basis.

National Glass Centre welcomes guide dogs and our Visitor Services team are fully trained in customer care so please ask us for any assistance required.

We also have an Adult Changing Place Facility on site.

For more information please call us on 0191 515 5555. View our full Access Statement below.

National Glass Centre Access Statement   

  • Introduction

    National Glass Centre provides an unusual day out that is free for all the family. You can experience world class exhibitions and learn about glass making traditions in Sunderland; watch live glassblowing in our Hot Glass Studio; take part in craft activities; buy some locally made gifts in our shop or stay for lunch at our riverside cafe, The Glass Yard.

    National Glass Centre is a part of the University of Sunderland and is based on the north side of the River Wear on St Peters Campus.

    The Centre is based on two floors with lift access to galleries on the first floor and shop, The Glass Yard and Hot Glass Studio on the ground floor.

    We advise that visitors will need at least 2 hours to explore the Centre.

    There is free WiFi access throughout the building.

    Visitors are able to browse the exhibition, experience the audio visual displays and take part in our interactive displays.  From time to time there are guided tours of the galleries.

    Our free glassblowing demonstrations run three times per day on a first come first served basis and we have seating in a stepped area for 50 people.  There is an area at the front designated for wheelchair users.

    You can also enjoy The Glass Yard and shop selling a range of hand-crafted goods many of which are made here at National Glass Centre by local artists.  These are all situated on the ground floor with step free access.

    We have two access toilets on the upper and lower floors, and have an Adult Changing Place on the first floor.

    Staff wearing name badges are on hand throughout the Centre should you require any assistance.

    We look forward to welcoming you. If you have any queries or require any assistance please phone 0191 515 5555 or email [email protected]


  • Pre-Arrival

    -For full details and maps of how to reach us please see the Plan Your Visit section of our website where comprehensive information is given depending on your mode of transport.  You can plan your journey by car or public transport using – simply enter your postcode and ours, which is SR6 0GL to get directions.

    -The nearest railway station is Sunderland, which is 1.5 miles away (a 25 minute walk). Taxis are available at the station. If you require an accessible taxi you can book this in advance by calling Station Taxis on 1019 555 5555.

    -National Glass Centre is a ten minute walk from St Peter’s Metro Station.

    -If you are travelling to us by bus, the E1 takes you from Sunderland City Centre to Roker Avenue which is only a few hundred metres distance from the main entrance.  The 700 Sunderland Connect bus is also available to take from Park Lane Campus and City Campus.

    – If you wish to travel to us by bicycle, we have bicycle hoops at the upper entrance and lower entrance with a bicycle maintenance stand near The Glass Yard for basic maintenance tasks.

    -Our Visit brochure is available in larger print on request.

  • Car Parking and Arrival

    -From 1 September 2021, visitors to National Glass Centre will be required to pay for parking at National Glass Centre Car Park, which is located to the front of the building and accessible from Dame Dorothy Street. Blue Badge holders may continue to park for free in designated bays providing they display a valid permit.

    There are 105 car parking spaces at the main upper car park on site and 4 clearly marked Blue Badge parking spaces, which are 50 metres from the main entrance.

    -The upper on-site car park surface is tarmac with a paved path leading to the main entrance. The car park is well lit at night with lighting at ground level.

    -There are 3 larger bays for coach parking.

    -There is a car park to the side of the building with 16 spaces and 2 clearly marked Blue Badge parking spaces, which are 35 metres from the lower floor entrance. 6 clearly marked Blue Badge parking spaces are available free of charge.  

    -There is a drop-off point at the main entrance for cars and coaches with a dropped kerb.

    -There is a permanent ramp with handrails on both sides leading from the car park to the main entrance.

  • Main Entrance and Reception

    -The main entrance is situated on the first floor with step free, level access, throughout.

    -At the main entrance, there is an assisted revolving door, and a wide push button automatic door.

    -There are some cushioned bench seats integrated into the Welcome desk.

    -The floor surface is vinyl.

    -The area is evenly and well lit with overhead lighting from fluorescent lights.

    -There is a portable induction hearing loop system at the Visitor Services desk.

    -Three wheelchairs are available for loan free of charge from the Visitor Services desk.


  • Riverside Entrance

    -There is an entrance to the building on the lower floor along the riverside with step free, level access.

    -There is also a Visitor Services Desk just within this entrance, please note this isn’t always staffed.

    -Cars and coaches can drop visitors off in the side car park to enable them to access the building via the Riverside entrance.

    -At the riverside entrance, there is wide automatic door.

    -There are some sofas at the riverside entrance foyer and the floor surface is vinyl.

  • Attraction

    -There are interactive touch screen activities throughout the Centre which can be accessed from a sitting or standing position.

    -There are many interpretation boards and have pictorial representation where applicable.

    -There are articles held in glass cabinets (most are upright).  Some of these are vertical and may not be visible if the eye line is below 115cm.

    -The Stories of Glass in Sunderland gallery has an audio visual pavilion at the entrance and film throughout telling the history of glass-making in Sunderland.  There is also an iPad situated next to the Norman Cornish painting giving information about the artwork and artist.

    -Seats are located at several points in the galleries.

    -The floor surface is vinyl in most places.

    -Lighting in the galleries is generally bright and evenly lit with overhead halogen lighting; however, some areas are more dimly lit to aid preservation of the exhibits.


  • Public Toilets

    -Public toilets are located on the upper and lower floors with level access from the main entrance and cafe areas.

    -There is a unisex accessible toilet on the upper and lower floors, the upper floor toilet being locked with a RADAR key available from the Visitor Services desk.  

    The toilets are described as:-

    • A light, easy open door 850 – 900mm wide.
    • The toilet height is 475mm.
    • There are vertical rails either side of both basin and toilet.
    • There is a horizontal rail on the side wall adjacent to the toilet.
    • A flashing light when the fire alarm sounds.
    • An emergency alarm pull cord.
    • The toilets are well lit with fluorescent tube overhead lighting with a low level light switch.
    • The flooring is smooth vinyl.
    • There are lever taps on the sinks.

    -In addition, there is an Adult Changing Place on the upper floor.

  • Catering

    -The Glass Yard is situated on the lower floor and has step free level access from the entrance, and lift access from the upper floor.

    -Tables in The Glass Yard are well spaced apart, with a clear height from the floor of 609mm/24ins, with a mixture of upright chairs with and without arms.

    -There are around 12 outdoor tables.

    -Lighting in all areas is natural daylight with overhead lighting used.

    -The flooring in The Glass Yard is vinyl.

    -Where possible all our food produce is locally sourced. We do our best to cater for any dietary requirements; please contact us in advance to check any specific requests you may have.

    -The Glass Yard is counter service, orders are placed at the bar then meals and drinks will be brought to your table. There are also several self-service options; cakes, cold drinks, sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetable pots are all stored in our self-serve refrigerators. 

    -Large print menus are available.  All staff can assist by running through menus with you.

    -The nearest public toilet with an accessible WC is located approximately 10 metres from The Glass Yard.


  • Shop

    -There is a shop with a range of artist-made, designed goods for sale including glass and ceramics, cards, jewellery.

    -The shop is located on the lower floor next to The Glass Yard and is level throughout.

    -A low level desk and counter are provided.

    -There is ample room within the shop for a large wheelchair to manoeuvre.

    -There are tall display racks and low tables accessible from a seated position.

    -The counter has a hearing loop system installed and staff have been trained in its use.

    -Staff can offer assistance if required.



  • Additional Information

    -All of our staff receive regular training that includes disability awareness training.

    -We have a set of evacuation procedures and should you require it someone will assist you with evacuation out of the building.

    -All our information brochures, evacuation procedures etc. are available in large print.

    -A water bowl is available at The Glass Yard for assistance dogs.

    -Clear signage is used throughout the Centre using sans serif font with contrasting colour.

    -There is an area to charge a mobility scooter and battery powered wheelchair at the entrance foyer.

  • Contact Information

    National Glass Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR6 0GL

    Telephone: 0191 515 5555

    Email: [email protected]


    Grid Reference:  NZ 40429 57746

    Hours Of Operation: daily 10am – 5pm.  We are closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day.

    Local Carers: Sunderland Carers (0191) 549 3768

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