Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light 18/10/2018 to 18/11/2018

Frequently asked questions

About the event

1. When are Sunderland Illuminations and the Festival of Light?

The 2018 event will run from 18 October to 18 November. The Festival of Light within Roker Park will open every Thursday – Sunday, with the exception of Sunday 11 November, and every day during school half term, week commencing 22 October. Sunderland Illuminations along the seafront and the activity on Cliffe Park will be open 7 nights a week, 4.00pm - 9.30pm during the event period, with the exception of Sunday 11 November. 

2. What activities are there on Cliffe Park and in the Festival of Light throughout the event?

A table of activities is available to view here

3. Will there be new lighting features?

Yes. This year’s event will see a mix of classic favourites appearing alongside brand new features.

4. What time is the Festival of Light open and what time is the last admission?

The Festival of Light opens at 4.00pm and the last entry is 8.30pm. The park will close at 9.30pm.

5. Do I need to buy a ticket to get in to the Festival of Light and how much are they?

Yes.  Tickets should be purchased online in advance and they are £2.00 per person.  You will be asked to select your preferred entry time when booking. Children aged 2 and under are free but will still require a free ticket to gain entry.

Please visit  to buy your ticket.

6. Why do I have to pay to visit the Festival of Light?

In order to continue providing the Illuminations and Festival of Light event, Sunderland City Council aims to cover the costs of putting on the event. Any surplus is invested directly back into the Sunderland Illuminations event for the next year.

7. Why do I need to select an entry time when purchasing my ticket?

We welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Festival of Light in 2017. In order to ensure a comfortable experience for all of our visitors we have introduced a system which enables us to manage the crowds and flow in to the event site.

8. I’ve purchased my ticket but wish to swap my entry time. Am I able to do this?

No. In order to ensure all visitors have a positive experience at the Festival of Light we are asking people to arrive at the allocated time selected.

9. Can I pay on the entrance of the Festival of Light like last year?

No. You must have a pre-purchased ticket to gain entry to the Festival of Light.  There will be no cash sales at the park.  You can purchase your tickets in advance at

10. Can I purchase tickets on the night?

A very limited amount of tickets will be available to purchase each evening from a Ticket Office on Cliffe Park, next to the big wheel.  As soon as these tickets are sold out, entry to the Festival of Light will be via online tickets only.

Tickets bought on site are priced at £2 per person (under 2s are free but will require a free ticket) and we can only accept cash.  We strongly recommend that visitors book their tickets online in advance to avoid any disappointment

11. If I want to book a group booking what do I do and are there any discounts?

Group bookings can be purchased online at There will be a discount of £1.00 applied automatically for every multiple of 5 tickets that are purchased.

12. Can I leave the Festival of Light and return on the same evening with the same ticket?

No. Your ticket is only valid for the entry time stated on the ticket. If you leave the park you will be unable to return at a later time with your ticket.  There is no limit to the time you can spend within the Festival of Light.  You can purchase alternative tickets for the same evening if they are available. 

13. If I want to come back for a second visit to the Festival of Light do I need to buy a new ticket?

Yes.  A new ticket will need to be purchased for each date and time you wish to visit.

14. What do I need to show to gain entry to the Festival of Light?

Either your e-ticket on the screen of a mobile device or a printed ticket will both be accepted as proof of purchase and will allow you entry.

15. If the Festival of Light is cancelled by the event organiser can I attend on an alternative night?

Yes. If we cancel the event a full refund will be given and you will need to rebook for an alternative date.

16. If I have purchased a ticket and then am unable to attend can I use my ticket on an alternative date?

No. All tickets purchased are valid for the date and entry time shown only.

17. Is the Festival of Light suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs?

Yes. The Festival of Light is fully accessible for pushchairs and wheelchair users. 

18. Will there be food and drink outlets?

Yes.  There will be a range of hot food and drinks available in the Festival of Light and on Cliffe Park.  Local businesses will also be operating.

19. Will there be toilets and baby changing facilities available at the event?

Yes. Toilets and baby changing facilities will be available in the Festival of Light and on Cliffe Park. Public Toilets on Marine Walk will also be open to event visitors.

20. Will there be first aid provision?

Yes. First aid will be provided throughout the event duration.

21. What times do the activities start and finish on Cliffe Park?

All activities are open at 4.00pm and close at 9.30pm.

22. Will there be a big wheel on Cliffe Park again?

Yes. This will operate 7 days a week 4.00-9.30pm for the event duration except on Sunday 11 November when the event will be closed.

23. Will all the restaurant, bars, cafes and businesses be open along the seafront and Marine Walk as normal during the event?

Yes.  Please contact the individual businesses for opening times.

24. Is there anything special happening on the closing evening?

Yes. In addition to Festival of Light and seafront activities, a spectacular free firework display will take place at Roker seafront at 6pm on Sunday 18 November to mark the close of the event.

25. Will Roker Park (Festival of Light) be free to access during the day?

Yes. Access to the park will remain as usual until approximately 3.30pm each day at which point the park will be closed in preparation for visitors entering the park at 4.00pm.

Parking, travel and Park & Ride questions 

26. Why is there a Resident Vehicle Access Permit scheme in place for the Festival of Light dates?

In order to ease traffic congestion for residents local to the event site, a road closure is implemented in the surrounding streets. An access permit is required to gain access through, or park within, the road closure area.

27. Who receives a Resident Vehicle Access Permit?

Resident Vehicle Access Permits are issued to all properties within the road closure. The permits allow residents access through the road closure and the ability to park within the road closure area.

28. Do the Resident Vehicle Access Permits guarantee residents a parking place outside of their property?

No. The passes allow residents to gain access through the road closure to enable them to park within the restricted area. We can’t guarantee a parking place outside of any given property.

29. Which streets will be closed and when?

The following streets will be closed from approximately 3.45pm- 9.30pm every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the event period and every night during the half term week (week commencing 22 October). 

To see a list of streets which are closed, click here

30. Can I request additional Resident Vehicle Access Permits if I live within the road closure area?

Yes. Limited additional permits are available.  Please email or call 07500552085 and provide your full name, postal address, contact telephone number and the number of passes that are being requested. 

31. Is there a Park and Ride service and do I have to pay for it?

Yes.  A Park and Ride service will be in operation from the city centre Thursday- Sunday throughout the event period and every day during the half term week (week commencing 22 October).  Full details of the park and ride service and bus timetables will be available soon on

32. Where can visitors to the event park?

We would encourage visitors coming to the event by car to use the Park and Ride service, as there is extremely limited parking available at the seafront, which operates on a first come first served basis.

Lowry Road Car Park, SR6 8ZZ, 211 spaces, free

Marine Walk Car Park, SR6 0PL, 50 spaces, parking charges apply

Harbour View Car Park, SR6 0ZZ, 128 spaces, parking charges apply

We would ask all visitors to park responsibly.  Civil Enforcement Officers will patrol to enforce any illegal parking.

33. I have a Blue Badge, where can I park?

There is limited Blue Badge parking at the Seafront; Marine Walk, Marine Walk Car Park, Harbour View Car Park, Whitburn Road opposite Queens Parade and Lowry Road Car Park.  These spaces operate on a first come first served basis.

The Park and Ride service will operate accessible buses.

34. Where can I find out more about the event?



Twitter:  @SeeitDoitSund

35. Is there a map of the park that I can access?

Yes a downloadable map of The Festival of Light will be available soon at

36. Who can I contact if I have a question or comment?  

Please email or call 07500552085.

Supported by

Did you know?

Mowbray Park in Sunderland city centre is one of the oldest parks in the North East. Restored to its former Victorian splendour, it has an intriguing array of art works.


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