Top Christmas events to take your older loved ones in Sunderland

Posted on November 21, 2019
Top Christmas events to take your older loved ones in Sunderland
3 min read

Finding things to do during the Christmas season is easy. Throw a stone in any British community with a population greater than two and their dog, and you’ll find some sort of festive activity taking place within it. As such, people looking to take their older loved ones out and about during the holidays are blessed at having a plethora of events to investigate.

Christmassy events are also the perfect opportunity to take elderly people to new places, as they allow a balanced mixture of new and familiar. Christmas is universal, so there’s lots of things around that they’ll still be able to relate to and enjoy.

In this article we’ll be focusing on Sunderland and selecting five of the events the city often hosts every Yuletide.

Get switched on for the Christmas lights

The best way to kick off the Christmas season with a bang, do not miss the chance to enjoy Sunderland’s dazzling Christmas display switched on for the first time. As well as seeing the lights switched on by Sunderland’s Mayor or other notable figures, the event sees a range of live performances, stalls and festivities, alongside the other Christmas events taking place in the city at the time. Local school and church choirs will sing carols and Christmas hymns, and the night finishes off with a spectacular fireworks display.

Parking is available for free at St Mary’s carpark, and any nearby council owned car parks.

Make Christmas arts and crafts

If your loved ones are particularly good with their hands, or if they enjoy making things regardless, then you’ll be pleased to know that various venues across town host their own arts and crafts activities.

These events are often held frequently across the Christmas season, allowing participants to make their own handmade Christmas decorations to add a bit of a personal touch to their seasonal decorations. Events can include wreath-making, stained glass workshops, or baking chocolate Yule logs.

Most of these events require paid admission, as well as advance booking, so it always pays to plan ahead to make sure you and your clients can grab a spot. Likewise, these events may not be able to accommodate every guest, so always check beforehand if your loved ones have any special accessibility requirements.

Be entranced at The Festival of Lights

Based in Mowbray Park, the Festival of Lights forms part of the broader Christmas in Sunderland programme, returning year after year with a range of shows, performances and live events every weekend in the run up to Christmas. Tickets can be bought for around £3 per person, and each weekend event starts on Thursday and runs through to Sunday.

As part of the experience, the Festival of Lights hosts stunning light shows, live music, installations, food stalls, and various performances that differ from week to week. On certain dates, live reindeer are also present for people to see and pet. It caters to all age ranges, and is fully accessible to wheelchairs. Dogs are also welcomed, provided they are kept on a leash.

Enjoy a pantomime at Empire Theatre

Finally, because no Christmas is ever truly complete without attending a pantomime, the famed Empire Theatre hosts performances each year. Whether it’s Jack and the Bean Stalk, Aladdin, Cinderella, or Snow White, every year sees a new breathtaking production take to the stage. Expect songs, jokes, and much audience participation at each show.

Shows are held frequently at the Empire Theatre, although be sure to book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Like many pantos, there can be lots of bright lights, loud noises, and minor pyrotechnics. Those sensitive to visual or auditory simulation may therefore benefit from access to quiet spaces or the TV relay from the Dress Circle bar. A BSL interpreted performance is available on certain dates, and eight spaces are provided in the stalls for wheelchairs. If any assistance is required, be sure to ask for help.


If you are looking for a carer in Sunderland, we can help you find the right person to assist you with home care in your local area. Whether you’re looking for hourly or live-in care, we’ll help you live an independent life in your own home. Give us a call on 020 8629 1030 to find out more.

You may also be interested in the top things to do with your older parents in Sunderland.

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