When is Sunderland's Christmas lights switch-on 2018, who is switching them on and what else is happening?

Last year's Christmas lights switch-on in Keel Square
Last year's Christmas lights switch-on in Keel Square
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You can sniff that Christmas is just around the corner in Sunderland.

Decorations are going up around the city, festive specials are appearing on menus, and everything is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Here's a guide to the official beginning of festivities in the city:

When is Sunderland's Christmas lights switch-on and where is it taking place?

The Sunderland Christmas lights switch-on takes place in Keel Square on Thursday November 22, with events starting at 5.30pm and finishing at 7pm.

Who is switching on Sunderland's Christmas lights?

Sunderland Empire panto stars Richard McCourt and Josh Andrews are flicking the switch alongside Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Lynda Scanlan.

What will the weather be like?

Sadly it's looking like it will be chilly and wet. You can read the Met Office forecast for the evening here.

Where can I park?

Free parking is available after 3pm in the nearby St Mary’s car park.

What else is happening on the night?

A full programme of events supporting NSPCC's Christmas campaign will count down to the switch on.

Sunderland school choirs, the vintage tones of Sunderland singer Kate Hilton and a festive musical tribute from up-and-coming talent Channy Thompson will provide the entertainment for the evening.
The evening will culminate in a firework display.

Will food and drink be on sale?

The newly launched Hadrian’s Tipi will be open throughout the event duration to welcome customers in from the cold with a range of warming festive beverages.