Sunderland Festival of Light

The Festival of Light in Sunderland is moving to a brand new venue this year. Instead of the usual Roker Park, the new venue of Mowbray Park in the city centre (it's right next to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens) will host this month-long festival.

Sunderland Festival of Light

A Guide to Sunderland Festival of Light

The Festival of Light runs every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 21 November to 22 December 2019 and tickets are £3 per person (with under 2s admitted free). The gates open at 4pm with the event closing at 9pm.

You can expect an evening featuring:
  • Live music
  • New light installations around the park 
  • Illuminated street theatre characters 
  • Extra craft activities/shows
  • Play park 
  • Food stalls 
  • Reindeer / Animals 
The postcode for Mowbray Park is SR1 1PP. Sunderland Train Station is a 5-minute walk from the event and Sunderland bus/metro interchange is a 10-minute walk away.

There are a few car parks in the city centre including St Mary's Car Park (SR1 3AH), Sunniside Car Park (SR1 1UL) or the Bridges Car Park (SR1 3PZ).

The event is fully accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs and you can take your own dogs on leads. I like that you can take your own soft drinks and food too (food stalls are also available). Bag searches will be in place.

A very limited number of tickets will be available to purchase on the day from Sunderland Winter Gardens. It is highly recommended you purchase online in advance to avoid disappointment. 

Here's a peek at what's on (check Festival of Light website for changes): 

Sunderland Festival of Light  - what's on guide

Christmas Shows at Sunderland Festival of Light

As well as the main light installations and entertainment, there are additional Christmas Shows available to book at certain times. These shows are an additional £3 per child (including under 2s) with one accompanying adult going free per child. Here's a look at what's on: 

Click here to buy tickets to a Christmas Show (please note you must also have Festival of Light tickets to attend)

Sunderland Christmas

We're visiting the Festival of Light during its second week - I'll update this post with photos and tips once we've attended.

I'm expecting to spend around 60-90 minutes at the park (including time for food and crafts) but as Sunderland is a bit of a drive from our home in Northumberland, I do want to make a night of it. Luckily, there's plenty to keep us entertained in the immediate vicinity including:
  • Hadrian's Tipi on Crowtree Road next to the Bridges Shopping Centre
  • A Small Christmas Funfair next to Hadrian's Tipi 
  • Ice Skating at Keel Square (from 21 November) - book here
  • Cinderella Panto at Sunderland Empire (from 13 December) - book here
  • Christmas Lights Switch On (21 November) - details here

We've always had a brilliant time visiting Sunderland Illuminations and I hope that the new destination of Mowbray Park will be a success.

It has cost us £12 for the 5 of us (I think they offer group discounts - it's not really explicit what these are) and if you take a winter picnic and visit on a week where there are free crafts, it can be a really inexpensive night out.

I'll update this post with photos and tips once we've visited. Let me know if you're visiting too. 

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Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area. leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed since this post was published. 

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Sunderland Festival of Light


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