Sunderland will be Wonderland for a month to celebrate Alice’s 150th anniversary

Laura Hartland-Adams, events and operations manager at Sunderland BID as the Mad Hatter, and BID marketing and communications manager, Gemma Dishman, as Alice.

Laura Hartland-Adams, events and operations manager at Sunderland BID as the Mad Hatter, and BID marketing and communications manager, Gemma Dishman, as Alice.

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Head down the rabbit hole and follow Alice as she leads a month of activities in Sunderland.

To mark the 150th anniversary of one of the most popular books in children’s literature, celebrations will take place in the city which inspired some of the characters.

Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass are worldwide classics, with the former completed by the writer in 1865.

Now, Sunderland’s Business Improvement District has come up with a month of activities as a tribute to Lewis Carroll, who was a regular visitor to the area.

The author used to visit his cousin, Margaret Wilcox, who lived in Whitburn, and the coast around her home is believed to have been the inspiration for the Walrus and The Carpenter.

He is also understood to have composed the opening lines of The Jabberwocky as part of a parlour game he was playing with his family.

Activities begin in the city centre over the weekend of August 8 and 9, where a giant maze is being constructed, which will ask passers-by to help solve a riddle.

The following weekend has been named Eat Me Drink Me, with walking and talking Mad Hatter tables, cooking activities with the Queen of Hearts and food-tasting opportunities.

On August 22 and 23 magic doorways will appear around the city centre along with keyholes and secret entrances, all designed to try and trap the White Rabbit.

Visitors will have the opportunity to win a range of prizes by uploading pictures of themselves by one of the doorways, which will be then projected onto a giant screen.

The final weekend – August 29 and 30 – will see the activities move to the Sunniside area of the city, with a giant Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, where everyone is asked to dress up and take part.

Local businesses, including Katie’s Garden in High Street West, will also be involved. For further information on all of the activities, visit www.experienceithere.co.uk.