Christ­mas spirit is alive and well in Sun­der­land

Show­cas­ing great busi­nesses and ex­per­tise in the heart of the city cen­tre

Sunderland Echo - - Promoted Content -

The count­down to Christ­mas has be­gun – and that’s cer­tainly true in the city cen­tre.

Fes­tive spirit has well and truly ar­rived, with a packed pro­gramme of pop­ups, events and ac­tiv­i­ties de­signed to en­sure that the Sun­der­land ex­pe­ri­ence is one not to be missed.

While it may be tempt­ing to sit at home and do your shop­ping on­line, ac­tu­ally see­ing prod­ucts in the flesh along with en­joy­ing sea­sonal en­ter­tain­ment is some­thing that can only be done in per­son.

And the mes­sage from Sun­der­land BID is shut the com­puter and head to the city cen­tre to ex­pe­ri­ence the real magic of Christ­mas.

Sharon Ap­pleby, Head of Busi­ness Op­er­a­tions at Sun­der­land BID, be­lieves that peo­ple who don’t head in to the city will re­ally miss out this fes­tive sea­son.

“There’s no sub­sti­tute for en­joy­ing the Christ­mas lights and en­hanc­ing the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence by eat­ing out or so­cial­is­ing,” she said.

“And we’re de­lighted that there’s such a full pro­gramme of events which we hope will guar­an­tee that peo­ple will come out in force.”

The ever-pop­u­lar ice rink is set to re­turn once again to Keel Square, with ses­sions for fam­i­lies, chil­dren or adults who just want to have a night out with a dif­fer­ence.

Skat­ing will be­gin on Thurs­day, Novem­ber 29, right through to Sun­day, Jan­uary 6, so there’s plenty of op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the sea­sonal ac­tiv­ity.

Keel Square is a real hub of fes­tive cheer this year, not only be­cause of the ice rink and Hadrian’s Tipi with its food out­lets and en­ter­tain­ment, but also as it’s a great base to ex­plore the other great venues in that part of the city.

How­ever, you can start to get into sea­sonal spirit even ear­lier, with the an­nual light switch on tak­ing place on Thursda, Novem­ber 22.

Santa’s grotto will be re­turn­ing to The Bridges once again, giv­ing young­sters the op­por­tu­nity to en­sure they’re on the nice rather than the naughty list.

There’s also the op­por­tu­nity for young­sters of all ages to get in­volved in the Rein­deer Dash at The Bridges on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 9, to raise money for the Foun­da­tion of Light and the Red Sky Ball.

An in­door 1k run around the shop­ping cen­tre with a spe­cial warm up from Santa, run­ners will be greeted at the fin­ish line and awarded a medal by Richard Mc­Court.

Bet­ter known as be­ing one half of com­edy duo Dick n Dom, Richard will be in Sun­der­land for this year’s pan­tomime at the Sun­der­land Em­pire, Peter Pan.

Star­ring Hol­lyoaks ac­tor Jamie Lo­mas as Cap­tain Hook, Richard Mc­Court as lov­able side­kick Smee, Gavin and Stacey’s Me­lanie Wal­ters as Mrs Dar­ling and West End star Josh An­drews play­ing Peter Pan, the panto runs from De­cem­ber 14 to Jan­uary 6.

And there’s good news for fans of Christ­mas mar­kets be­cause Sun­der­land has two com­ing to the city this year.

Port of Call at Park Lane is host­ing a free mar­ket in the tipi from 11am to 4pm on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1, and Sun­day, De­cem­ber 16, where vis­i­tors will be able to browse a range of crafts, cakes, con­fec­tionary and much more.

With Christ­mas mu­sic play­ing and mulled wine, hot cho­co­late, Christ­mas cock­tails and Port of Call’s Christ­mas ex­press menu on of­fer, there’s lots to try.

Or, try the Cul­tural Quar­ter Mar­ket out­side The Fire Sta­tion at High Street West from Thurs­day, Novem­ber 29, to Sun­day, De­cem­ber 2, with fes­tive treats and Christ­mas-themed food and drink to make the most of.

And thrill seek­ers, or fans of the less ad­ven­tur­ous rides, will be pleased to know that the fun fair is re­turn­ing to the city just in time for Christ­mas.

Set­ting up on the old Crowtree site on Fri­day, Novem­ber 23 un­til Jan­uary 6, rev­ellers will be able to en­joy a range of rides and clas­sic fair­ground treats like candy floss and pop­corn, in a day fit for the whole fam­ily.

“We’ve re­ally gone all out to en­sure Christ­mas in Sun­der­land is great fun for ev­ery­one this year,” said Sharon.

“So let’s hope ev­ery­one turns out in force to sup­port the ac­tiv­i­ties.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about Sun­der­land BID, visit www.sun­der­land­

Na­talie Del­low and Gemma Dish­man, from Sun­der­land BID, get­ting into the spirit of the city’s first Rein­deer Dash last year. Re­turn of Sun­der­land’s ice rink at Keel Square, and Hadrian’s Tipi at Keel Square

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