Guide to Sunderlands Festival of Light, Roker Park

It’s time for the annual Festival of Light. Each year, Roker Park is illuminated with a great light display, as well as fairground rides and food stalls available.

It runs from 13th October till 12th November, Thursday to Sundays and every day during half term so there is plenty of time to get down and see it.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Included in this guide there will be tips on where to park, and how to get there, ticket information and prices, and general information so you can make the most out of this event.

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Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Let’s get onto it!

Sunderland Festival of Light Tickets

The festival of light is a ticketed event and has been for some years. However, since the pandemic, they introduced timeslots for your booking which are still in place.

Time slots start at 4pm – 7:45pm (in 15 minute intervals). From 4pm-5pm on Thursday 13th and 20th and every day during the half term are the quiet hours and during this time the number of people visiting and the noise will be significantly less.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Tickets for the event must be booked in advance and this year they won’t be selling tickets at the doors.

Ticket Prices:

Tickets are £3 per person. But there is a discount available for groups.
Group of 3 people: £8
Group of 4 people: £10
Group of 5 people: £12
Group of 6 people: £15
Group of 7 people: £18
Group of 8 people: £21
Group of 9 people: £24
Group of 10 people: £27

Under 2s go free. But they must also be included in your booking. You can select how many under 2s will be in your group.

You can book your tickets from the Visit Sunderland Website HERE.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Once you have booked you cannot change your timeslot or get a refund on your tickets so take your time while booking!

To get into the park, most of the usual entrances are exits only. We used the entrance on Side Cliff Road and there was another entrance on Roker Park road.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

What is included in my ticket?

All that is included in your ticket is entry to the park. If you want to buy anything from the various stalls or have a go on any of the rides these are all extra.

Once you have entered the park, you can stay for as long as you want, but you can’t leave and then return to the park as you please.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Where to park for the Roker Park Festival of Light?

All of the streets around the park are permit-holders only and they are usually very strict with it. For this event, if you are driving I would recommend parking further away from the park and walking in as the car parks will get very full very quickly.

The nearest car parks are:

Marine Walk Car Park

This is a pay-and-display car park. Or you can use the PayByPhone app. It costs 60p per hour.
Postcode: SR6 0RH

Harbour View Car Park

This is a pay-and-display car park. Or you can use the PayByPhone app. It costs 60p per hour.
Postcode: SR6 0RQ

However if you want to park further along in Seaburn and walk along, then two car parks you can use are:

Dykelands Road Car Park

This is a pay-and-display car park, which also uses the PayByPhone app. This one is 70p per hour.
Postcode: SR6 8DG

The Stack Car Park

This car park still is not listed on Google, however, it is on the former fairground site. This one is also a pay-and-display car park which uses the PayByPhone app. This one is 60p per hour.

Postcode SR6 9NP – This is the nearest postcode I could get, so hopefully, it will take you to the correct place.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Public Transport Links, Roker Festival of Lights

Roker Park is in a great location to be accessible via public transport for those who don’t drive or who don’t want to hassle with driving over.

Metro Links

Roker Park is close enough to both Stadium of Light and Seaburn metro station. It is approximately a 15-minute walk from both these stations.

You can check the metro times on the Nexus Website.

Bus Links

There are a number of buses you can get to and from Roker Park from within the North East area. The best ones that go past it are the E1, E2 or the E6.

You can have a look at these routes and timetables on the Stagecoach website.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Roker Park Festival of Lights – Review

Now that we have covered the boring bits, here is my review of the actual festival.

Firstly I have to admit that it has been quite some years since I last went. The reason we stopped going was that it got a bit repetitive and the lights were always the same, the parking was a nightmare and the fairground on the field next to it was always rammed.

That’s all very different this year.

Firstly, we parked at the Stack car park at about 5:40 and walked along. Even though there was an event on that night at the stack itself, we managed to get parked very easily.

If you do this, I highly recommend going to YOLO coffee on your way down and grabbing a not chocolate for the journey. Bonus if it is their white chocolate one with all the trimmings!

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

The lights are mostly brand new with some old favourites making a reappearance. However, the majority of the display was made up of lights I hadn’t seen before! And it was laid out differently from what I remember too. There were more lights to look at.

This year, there won’t be a funfair on Cliffe Park as there usually is. They claim this is due to some renovations to the cycle path. However, I think this is in fact a good thing. Instead of there being swarms of people on that field who aren’t necessarily there for the lights. The only fairground rides and food stalls are inside the park which you need a ticket to access.

The rides located in the park were just your typical rides. A merry-go-round, a helter-skelter some dodgem-type things, and a few others. All the rides seemed to be £3pp.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

There were also a few different food stalls. Some next to the bandstand was typical classic event burger van-type things. Although one of these was selling sugar doughnuts which is a tradition in my family to get when we go to the lights! This stall also sold Nutella hot chocolates which looked incredible. Most things from that stall were around £5 each.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Then further around the park next to the pond, there were more modern, Christmas market type, stalls. Here there was a bratwurst stall, a greek stall, and another one which was selling alcohol and mulled wine and cider. These seemed a little more expensive, if you were wanting to eat here I would budget between £8-£10pp.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

Within the park as well as outside of the park there were people selling those plastic flashy lights that kids love. A lot of people were wearing them and playing with them. From what I saw things typically ranged from £5-£8. Just to keep in mind if you are wanting to purchase.

Another great thing about the event this year is that there were a few entertainers going around. They have a Jurrasic Park-themed area with a ‘Park Worker’ who has a ‘baby triceratops’. He was going up to families and letting kids take photos with the baby dino.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

There were also some Disney Princesses walking around which I thought was a really nice touch!

Overall, I definitely think the event has improved massively from the years previous to this. The cost of the ticket not only allows you to see the lights but also visit the fairground and food stalls. Since the introduction of timeslots, the park was a lot less busy than I remember it being which was another reason we stopped going years ago. The light themselves have improved and there is more going on overall in the park.

I do think this is a really great event and something we can be proud of! We had a really great time, even without having any kids with us. It is definitely something for everyone.

Sunderland’s Festival of Light, Roker Park

You can still book tickets on the Visit Sunderland Website. There is also a FAQ page on there in case I have missed anything, or feel free to drop me a message on my socials and I’ll get back to you there.

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Stay Safe and Happy Festival of Light!

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