Roam picturesque parkland, spy flamingos and otters, admire sculptures and climb the secret staircase of this famous monument for panoramic views.
A little piece of Greece in the rolling hills of Northern England, the Penshaw Monument is a beloved landmark that is visible for miles around. Built to honour a local Earl in 1844, it is modelled on the Temple of Hephaestus, god of fire, in Athens.
In summer a secret staircase in one of the columns is opened and you can climb right up to the top to survey the surrounding countryside.
From the monument it is a short roll down the hill to Herrington Country Park, a lovely open space of walking and cycle paths, scattered sculptures and a boating lake.
Continue a little further north to meet the mischievous otters and shocking pink Chilean flamingos of Washington Wetland Centre.
Penshaw is 3 miles (5km) from the centre of Sunderland (3 hours from London by train), on the northeast coast of England.