Christmas in Sunderland: What events are happening for families across this festive season?

It may be dark and cold, but there is plenty to do around the city at this time of year.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 1:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 2:37 pm

Halloween has come and gone, and now the build up to Christmas is underway. But what family events are going on in and around Sunderland this year?

Much like every year, the festive season kicks off on Wearside with the turning on of Sunderland’s Christmas lights. This year the event is back in its traditional Keel Square site after 2020’s festivities were cancelled.

The official ceremony this year is on Thursday 18 November and will see actress Su Pollard take the reigns to start Christmas on Wearside.

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Families have plenty of options for things to do this festive season.

Keel Square will remain busy for the rest of the year thanks to the return of Sunderland’s ice rink to the site from 27 November.

Pollard will be starring in the Sunderland Empire’s pantomime this year alongside South Shields comic Tom Whalley. The opening night of the production of Snow White is on December 10 with the curtains closing for the final time on 2 January.

Tickets are available online with every day of the show still having tickets to buy.

Those searching for an alternative and more intimate panto performance are also in luck thanks to the Royalty Theatre on Chester Road who are putting on a production of Beauty and the Beast.

The show, which is written and directed by Helen Bowie, will be running from Friday 3 December until Sunday 19 December.

Elsewhere in the city, The National Glass centre starts its festive activities in November. Although decoration and bauble making sessions are already sold out, the site has plenty for families to do as Christmas approaches.

A Christmas craft fair will be at the centre over the weekend of 27-28 November while festive glass coaster sessions will be happening on three evenings throughout December.

The Glass Centre will also be hosting festive family glass fusing and ceramic Christmas decoration workshops throughout the month.

The craft theme continues at Sunderland’s Museum and Winter gardens where artist Kath Price is helping the public make textile wreaths on 27 November. Tickets remain available online.

For those wishing to meet Father Christmas, the main man of the festive season will be welcoming children to his traditional spot in the Bridges from 16 November. Visits cost £2 per child.