When is Sunderland's Festival of Light this year? All the information you need ahead of the annual event

The illuminations are a major event on the city’s calendar, here’s what you need to know ahead of the Festival Of Light’s return.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 11:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 10:12 am

Following a year without the festivities due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Festival of Light returns to Sunderland this autumn.

When is the Festival of Light this year?

The yearly festival, which has been running since 1936, will be starting on Thursday, October 14, and will run until Saturday, November 13.

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Sunderland Illuminations on Seaburn and Roker seafront.

Where can I see the displays?

2021’s edition of the event will be in Roker Park for the first time since 2018. Two years ago it was moved closer to the city centre at Mowbray Park, but has since been shifted back to the traditional coastal site after the pandemic cancelled 2020’s festivities.

What days is the festival open to visitors?

The Festival of Light is open to visitors every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5pm – 9pm across the month. The last admission is 7:45pm. Throughout October half term the event site will be open all week; this is between October 25-29.

Will Roker’s illuminations also be back?

The illuminations, a tunnel of lighting along the seafront accompanying the lights in Roker Park, will return too. Although they were also present last year, social distancing measures meant the stalls along the coastline couldn’t add to the atmosphere. Because of their public placement, these are able to be seen when the park and festival aren’t open.

What light features will be there?

The event organizers have teased some new features, in addition to some old favourites.

Will the event be different due to Coronavirus?

Although the festival is back, the organisers are needing to reduce capacity compared to previous years in order to encourage social distancing and keep visotors safe. Ticket holders will also be given a time slot to enter in order to manage capacity throughout the evenings.

Where can I get tickets?

Tickets are available from the My Sunderland website and are £3, although group discounts are available. Children under two can enter for free.

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens are also selling tickets. Unlike previous years, you cannot buy tickets from the event site at Roker Park.