Sunderland Festival of Light 2019: How to get tickets for this year's event as it moves to Mowbray Park
Sunderland’s Festival of Light is preparing to launch the Christmas season in its brand new city-centre home – and tickets to visit the spectacular display have launched for online sale on Wednesday, October 9.
The hugely popular annual celebration, previously staged at Roker Park, will this year take place at Mowbray Park to tie in with the city’s Christmas programme throughout November and December.
And the gates on this year’s Festival of Light will open on Thursday, November 21, running until Sunday, December 22.
Visitors can head along to the Festival between Thursdays and Sundays during this time period.
Launching its online tickets today, Sunderland City Council has called on families across Wearside to come along and discover new lighting installations, enjoy live music and meet street theatre characters to get the festive season off to a sparkling start.
The Festival’s move was confirmed in January this year – and it is hoped that it’s new location will lead to a boost in the city centre’s economy as it joins other Christmas attractions in the city centre, including Hadrian’s Tipi and the Keel Square ice rink.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Every year we bring new lighting features and attractions to the Festival of Light, and this year’s event in Mowbray Park promises to be one of the best yet.
"The city centre location for this year’s event means visitors can enjoy everything Christmas in Sunderland has to offer including the Pantomime at Sunderland Empire, an ice rink in Keel Square and a great range of shopping, cafes and restaurants for the whole family to enjoy.”
Speaking earlier this year, the council confirmed that a range of attractions would still be placed on the seafront for the city’s annual Illuminations extravaganza, while the Festival of Light element would be moving. It is not yet known when these will go up.
Families visiting the celebration in 2018 could view and enjoy the Illuminations along the seafront free of charge, while a ticket was required for entry to see the Festival attractions in Roker Park.
They are expected to go up this month and remain in place until January 2020.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Festival of Light, which will also feature special Christmas shows for the first time:
What is the Festival of Light?
A family event which will see Mowbray Park transformed into a Winter Wonderland, featuring lights, music and special characters. The event will run from 4pm until 9pm on each day of it’s opening, with last entry at 8pm. Food and drink will be available on site.
Do I need a ticket and how much do they cost?
Yes you need a ticket – and they are now available online. They cost £3 per person and children aged two and under go for free. When you order a ticket, you will be asked to choose a time slot for your visit which cannot be changed afterwards. A time slot is necessary so the number of visitors in the park at any one time can be confirmed. Group bookings and other discounts are also available online, while a select number of tickets will be on sale each night of the Festival at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens – but these are limited.
How do I get there?
Due to its new city-centre location, families are being advised of their public transport options for the Festival of Light.
Sunderland station, and Metro station, are just five minutes away from the event, while Park Lane Bus Interchange and Metro station are only a 10-minute walk.
A number of car parks are also within walking distance of the centre including St Mary’s, Sunniside and the Bridges multi-storey.
What are the Christmas shows and do I need a separate ticket?
For the first time, a range of special Christmas shows are being held as part of the Festival of Light. These magical events will take place within the site’s tipi and are as follows:
Thursday, November 21 until Sunday, November 24: Snow Queen and Superhero save Christmas
Thursday, December 5 until Sunday, December 8: Elf Check List Training
Thursday, December 19 until Sunday, December 22: Story Time with Santa
There will be four shows, lasting for 30 minutes each, per evening – but you need a separate ticket to go along.
You must purchase a Festival of Light ticket before you book in to see a Christmas show. Tickets for these cost an additional £3 per child, but one adult can accompany each ticketed child free of charge.
Families are advised to pre-book tickets for these shows well in advance, as it expected that they will sell out.