Pictures of Sunderland Illuminations 2017 - and what you need to know if you want to see them yourself

The city's seafront will be lit up in fantastic splendour as Sunderland Illuminations return for 2017.

Last night saw children from schools for pupils with additional needs made guests of honour at a preview evening ahead of tonight's grand launch.

Here's what you need to know if you're planning to visit Sunderland Illuminations and the Festival of Light:

What's on?

Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light stretches from St Peter's Church right along the city's seafront..

As well as feature lighting, the illuminated observation wheel is returning to Cliffe Park and there will be traditional fairground rides and food and drink outlets between Cliffe Park and Bede’s Cross.

These run from from Thursday 5 October until Sunday 5 November, 5-10pm each day.

Roker Park Festival of Light

Traditionally the highlight of the Sunderland Illuminations, Roker Park is lit up with impressive installations on a Disney theme.

The park will be open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from tonight (October 5) to November 5.

It will also be open every night during the school half term holiday week (October 23-27), from 5pm – 10pm each night. Last entry into Roker Park will be 9pm

Pirates, dinosaurs and fairies and new Disney additions are among the displays, and a new art zone includes a series of artist-designed light artworks.

There is also a food court and bar area in the park, as well as helter skelter, and regular music and entertainment performances on the bandstand.

Is there a charge?

Visitors need to buy tickets for the Roker Park Festival of Light element of the Illuminations.

These cost £1 in advance, with children under two getting in free.

Tickets can be bought online here.

Tickets will also be available to buy at the event, from a ticket booth on Cliffe Park, for £2 per person.

Do I get anything else included in the ticket price?

The Sunderland Empire is offering a discount for this Christmas's pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk Pantomime for everyone who buys Sunderland Illuminations Festival of Light tickets.

Customers will receive a discount code to use when buying tickets for the pantomime.

Will there be fireworks on November 5?

The Sunderland Illuminations 2017 end on Bonfire Night on Sunday November 5, and a fitting firework display will bring the festival to a close.

The display begins at 6pm and the best place to see them will be from Cliffe Park and all along the seafront. There is no charge for this event and tickets are not required.

How do I get there?

Parking:

There will be no parking available in the streets surrounding the event.

Limited pay-and-display parking is available at Marine Walk car parks.

Park and ride from the city centre:

Service 101, operated by Go North East, will run from Thursday October 5 - Sunday November 5 on Thursdays, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as every day during the school half term week holiday week (October 23-27)

Buses will run every 20 minutes from Keel Square (the north side bus stop near St Mary’s Car Park) via the Wheatsheaf, Newcastle Road and Sea Road, and will drop off at Seaburn Tram Shelter.

Return journeys will be from any bus stop on the sea front starting at the Tram Shelter going southwards, and the bus will run towards Bungalow Café, along Harbour View and then back to Keel Square.

Travel on the bus is free for people parking in St Mary’s (postcode SR1 3AH) or Sunniside (postcode SR1 1UL) car parks and showing their car park ticket to the bus driver. These car parks are also free to park in after 3pm on Thursdays.

Otherwise, the bus costs £1.50 per adult single trip, £2.50 per adult return, and £1 for a child day ticket (age 5-16). Under 5s travel free. Buses are wheelchair and pushchair accessible.

Concession passes and all other Network One or Go North East tickets/passes will not be valid on the service.

Public transport:

The nearest Metro stations are Seaburn (a 20 minute walk to Roker Park) and Stadium of Light (a 14 minute walk to Roker Park).

To find the best bus or Metro route for you, visit http://www.traveline.info/