Tens of thousands visit Sunderland Illuminations - still time to see the light fantastic

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Tens of thousands of visitors have paid a visit to this year's Sunderland Illuminations - and many more are expected to turn out during this week's half-term holiday.

Witches, pirates, ghosts and fun activities are all appearing in Roker Park this week as children enjoy a break from school and look forward to Halloween.

Visitors still have until November 5 to pay a visit to the Sunderland Illuminations, and culture chiefs are urging them to wrap up warm, get on down and not to miss out on the spectacular.

John Kelly, the senior councillor responsible for culture in Sunderland, said:” We’ve had a great turnout so far and there’s even more to see and do this half term. It is always fantastic to see so many people having a great time and this year we have even more activities during the holidays and of course our spectacular firework finale on bonfire night.

"I hope people make the most of the stunning location and come to make the most of our beautiful coastline and its dazzling lighting displays.”

This year's event sees all of Roker Park being used for a whole host of new features, including pirates, dinosaurs and fairies, as well as old favourites such as the Sunderland Tap and a Sea of Stars on the lake.

Children can take on the role of a pirate, ride on the shuggy boats and take a trip to Treasure Island which leads to the lost island of dinosaurs. There’s a pirate adventure golf course, illuminated arts and lots of other exciting activities to keep the whole family entertained.

What you need to know if you want to visit the Sunderland Illuminations:

:: The lights are on 5-10pm every evening, with last entry into Roker Park at 9pm

:: A f £1 for Roker Park has been introduced for the first time this year (children aged 2 and under are free) to help fund the event

:: Tickets can be bought in advance from:

- City Library (Fawcett Street)

- Bunnyhill Customer Service Centre

- Washington Town Centre library

- Houghton Library

- Sandhill Customer Service Centre and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Ticket can also be bought from booths on Cliffe Park, Bede’s Cross and Marine Walk from 5pm every day during the event.

Cllr Kelly said: “I’d encouraging people to buy tickets in advance, to save queuing on the night, and to also use of the park and ride service too. It’s free for those using St Mary’s or Sunniside multi-storey car parks, and picks up and drops off in Keel Square.

Special events:

:: Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 October from 6-8pm try and spot our special guests Captain Jack, Captain Hook and our very own Spotty as they enjoy an evening out at Sunderland Illuminations.

:: From Friday 28 until Monday 31 the Illuminations will take on a spooky theme for Halloween. Come along each night and find our Witches on walkabout from 6- 8pm, can you spot these scary witches trying to spoil the fun?

:: From Friday 28 until Monday 31 there are some special activities each night at the bandstand right in the middle of Roker Park.
Friday 28 Oct 6-6.30pm:Stardust Academy, 7-8pm Story Telling with Sugar Candy Skull Princess

:: Sat 29 5-7pm Crafts by CEED, 7-8pm Story Telling with Sugar Candy Skull Princess

:: Sunday 30 Oct 6-7pm CASA Performing Arts, 7-8pm Story Telling with Sugar Candy Skull Princess

:: Monday 31 Oct Between 7-8pm there will be a special story telling activity with Sugar Candy Skull Princess

The Sunderland Illuminations conclude with a spectacular firework display at 9.30pm on Saturday November 5 with the best views from Cliffe Park

Model Railway in Roker Park
The Model Railway in Roker Park will be running on Fridays and Saturdays 5-8pm. There is no charge but donations are welcomed.

CLIFFE PARK

Illuminated Observation Wheel
The Illuminated Observation Wheel will return to the event again this year. It will operate 6pm -10pm on Saturday 24 September for launch night, and then every night until Saturday 5 November .Adults £4, children £3, or family ticket £10 (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children)
There’s also large pirate swing boat, Venetian carousel, children’s fairground rides and much more.

OCEAN PARK
Thrill zone fun fair for big scream rides.

HOW TO GET THERE
There will be no parking available in the streets surrounding Roker Park and the seafront. Please see Parking FAQs below for full details.

:: Park and Ride from city centre
Monday 21 – Sunday30 October (half term week) and Friday 4 and Saturday 5 November

Pick up at St Mary's Boulevard in the city centre, at bus stop opposite Keel Square, at the former Vaux site. Drop off at Keel Square. £1.50 per adult single trip, £2.50 per adult return, and £1.10 for a child day ticket (age 5-16). Under 5s travel free. Buses are wheelchair and pushchair accessible

:: Free travel 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.

:: Park and walk
From University of Sunderland St Peter’s campus car park (postcode SR6 0DD) and National Glass Centre
£1.50 per evening, from 5pm. Approx 1mile/20 minutes walk to Roker Park.

:: Public transport
The nearest Metro stations are Seaburn (20 minute walk to Roker Park) and Stadium of Light (14 minute walk to Roker Park).
To find the best bus or Metro route for you go to http://www.travelinenortheast.info