The festive season is alive and glistening! The countdown to Christmas has officially begun and we can’t wait to get involved with all the festive fun right here in Sunderland. From twinkling light shows at Sunderland Festival of Light, to seasonal cocktail sipping at Hadrian’s Tipi, check out our guide for a dazzling November in Sunderland.

Festival of Light
From 21 November

The Festival of Light is back, and this year’s event is shaping up to be the biggest and brightest yet.

Taking place throughout Mowbray Park, the brand-new schedule for the festival sounds amazing! Visitors can enjoy a whole host of fabulous christmas shows, crafts, street theatre and delicious food and drinks.

Festive fanatics can also enjoy a whole new range of new lighting features. Grab yourself a hot drink and get the whole gang involved at the Festival of Light this Christmas. An amazing seasonal gift from the team at Sunderland City Council, for more information on the Festival of Light and to book tickets online, please

Hadrian’s Tipi

We can’t wait for the return of Hadrian’s Tipi!

Yes, that’s right, the popular winter retreat in the heart of Sunderland is returning for another year of feel-good festive fun at a new city centre location!

Situated at the former Crowtree Leisure Centre site, Hadrian’s Tipi is the perfect place to cosy up beside the open fire pit and sip on an aromatic glass of mulled wine whilst listening to live music.

This year an additional marquee will provide more covered space making it the ideal place to escape manic shopping centre queues and seek refuge from the ferocious winter weather – head here for roaring log fires, snug seating areas and vibrant bar area stocking a wide variety of hot and cold drink favourites.

Hatch 76 are also making a return, with their delicious duck fries, duck wraps and burgers to feast on day & night.

Make sure you visit this Christmas!

Christmas Lights Switch On

Prepare to be dazzled with Sunderland’s amazing annual Christmas Lights Switch On!

Taking place at Keel Square, this year’s entertainment line up will include a performance from Spark! Drummers and an appearance from Cinderella and Prince Chrarming from Sunderland Empire Pantomime, Cinderella.

Settle in as Mayor of Sunderland Councillor David Snowdon lights up Keel Square in spectacular fashion. After the switching on ceremony, gaze to the skies as a wonderful firework display takes place.

There’s tons of other amazing activity happening in the city centre on the same night too.

Head over to Mowbray Park for the Festival of Light, get your skates on at the Keel Square Ice Rink and enjoy a winter tipple at Hadrian’s Tipi.

Free parking is available after 3pm in the nearby St Mary’s car park, and all other council owned city centre car parks.

Get your skates on!
From 21 November 

Skate to your hearts content this Christmas as Sunderland Ice Rink returns once again for more fantastic family fun! An exhilarating open air ice rink, be sure to enjoy stunning festive views as Keel Square is transformed for the winter with twinkling fairy lights and dazzling Christmas decoration.

Sound tracked by the latest chart-toppers, glide along with little ones, dance along to Christmas bangers and show off your skating moves with friends – the ice-skating rink at Keel Square is one of the top places to visit at this Christmas in Sunderland!

Why not treat yourself to a steaming cup of rich hot chocolate or a glass of bubbly from Vesta Tilley’s or tuck into delicious Italian cuisine at Luciano’s?

Brought to you by Sunderland BID, tickets start from just £7.50 and are available to buy now. Book yours now.

Dashing through the Bridges

Cheer on little ones as they dash through the Bridges in this fantastic charity fundraiser!

Having enjoyed an incredibly successful debut last year, The Reindeer Dash comes to the city once again as kids take flight in this fantastic fun run.

Organised by the folk at Sunderland BID and the Bridges, The Reindeer Dash will bring children and families together for a morning of laugh-out-loud fun and exhilarating shopping-centre exercise.

A fantastic festive event that helps raise vital funds for the Foundation of Light, Red Sky Ball and loads of other charities in the Wearside community, make sure you get involved with this year’s Reindeer Dash and do your bit for charity.


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