Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Why autumn and winter are the best months in Sunderland

Opening night of Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light.
Opening night of Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light.
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If you’re a regular reader of my column you’ll know how much I love our city, however, the autumn and winter months are by far my favourite time to live in Sunderland.

I think we do a great job of wintery events, but it seems that year on year Sunderland is really upping it’s game.

There are so many excellent events to attend, whether you’re looking for family fun or more grown up entertainment to get involved in.

My absolute favourite event of them all is the Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light down at the seafront.

It brings back so many wonderful childhood memories of getting wrapped up warm and going to see all of the attractions, from the helta skelter to the mini village and the train.

Now that I’m a parent myself, I love taking my little girl to see the lights and that same fun all over again.

Over the last few years the illuminations seems to have gone from strength to strength, growing in size and with more attractions to entertain the kids, such as the big wheel and more amusements.

Keel Square is also a hive of festive activity right now, with Hadrian’s Tipi popping up and staying all the way through to January, offering a range of festive food and drinks. It’s almost time for the return of the ice rink and Christmas stalls too.

I’m totally rubbish at ice skating, to the point where my family always just leave me to do my best Bambi impression while clinging onto the side all the way round, but despite my lack of skating skills it’s still great (and entertaining for those watching) to have a go and get into the festive spirit.

Now that it’s November, we can officially start talking about Christmas, and the Christmas light switch on is just around the corner.

This year there are a whole host of opportunities to attend a switch on event in and around the city, including the Keel Square event on Thursday, November 22 at 5.30pm.

While I appreciate that it’s also equally easy to hop on the Metro or in the car and head to events outside of the city, and many people do decide to head out of Sunderland to spend their leisure time and money, but with so much going on right on our doorstep, there has never been a better time to try Sunderland first and support our local economy.

The more we all get behind Sunderland events, fingers crossed there will be events more popping up throughout the year.