Friday, 20 October 2017

Sunderland Illuminations With Tyne & Wear Metro

Every year Sunderland have an illuminations event (from the 5th October to 5th November), where Roker Park is transformed into an illuminated wonderland that both adults and children will enjoy. Every single year we say that we will take the children but we never get around to it as we keep hearing how bad the traffic and parking is. So when I was recently invited to enjoy a family day out on the Tyne & Wear Metro I knew that a trip to Sunderland Illuminations would be the perfect day out that the whole family would enjoy. 



Travelling via Metro is so easy, with stations all over Tyne & Wear making it a quick and convenient way to travel for family day's out. My children always think that it such an adventure to travel by Metro train, we live in North Tyneside and whilst we don't have a Metro within walking distance of our house we do have four stations just a short drive or bus ride away. 

Tyne and Wear Metro train at Haymarket


Metro has made things even simpler for families to travel with the PAYG Pop card which you can buy from any Nexus travel shop. The cards are free and you just need to top them up with a minimum of £10 and you can use them for travel on the Metro, which saves so much time as you don't have to buy tickets from the machines before each journey. My teen also has an under 16 pop card which I really recommend if you have children and live in Tyne & Wear as once you buy the card from a Nexus travel shop (only £5) your child can travel all day on the bus, metro or ferry in Tyne & wear for just £1.10p a day. 


On Saturday we headed to Sunderland Illuminations, we got the Metro from Haymarket to Seaburn (you need the South Hylton route) the journey was a lot quicker then I thought it would be and we arrived at Seaburn in around 20 minutes. The children were kept occupied with the Metro's little book of things to see, which you can pick up from Metro travel shops and stations.  It has puzzles and games to keep children occupied as well as lots of great day out ideas you can go on via Metro. 


Sunderland Illuminations is on every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5th October until the 5th November 2017 and every day during the half-term holidays (23rd - 29th October) from 5pm -10pm. When you arrive at Seaburn Metro station you turn left and follow the road all the way down to the seafront which is about a 15-minute walk, you end up at a fun fair and if you follow the fun fair you will reach Roker Park where the Illuminations are. We noticed there were buses running from the Metro to Roker Park if you did not fancy the walk. 


As it was a nice day we arrived at around 3pm and spent some time at the beach, we stopped off for some ice creams along the way and bumped into some Paw Patrol characters much to the children's delight. 


At 5pm we headed to Roker Park as we had pre-booked tickets for the illuminations online, I highly recommend you do this as it is only £1 per person and it means you just show your phone/ email print out and can enter straight away. 

Sunderland Illumination Goofy Disney Light

Sunderland Illumination Disney Donald Duck Light 2017

As we arrived at 5pm it was still light and the park was not very busy so we managed to see all of the illuminations up close, ride on the model train (which is free but donations are very welcome) and explore the park. 


There is a lot of stalls selling food, drinks and sweet treats dotted around the park, as well as many stalls selling flashing lights and balloons. They also have a few small fairground rides inside the park and a helter-skelter and hook the duck. We brought some flashing lights and Minnie Mouse ears for the children which were between £3-£7 each, we also brought some hot dog's which cost £4 each and we brought the children some sweets which were about £2 each. 


The Illuminations have a Disney theme this year and the children loved spotting the much-loved characters that they know and love. There was a Frozen display with Anna, Elsa and Olaf lights and 'Let it go' playing in the background, much to Sophia's delight. We also spotted Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Pluto and Goofy and again they had Disney music playing in the background which was nice. 

Mickey Mouse Light at Sunderland Illumination 2017

Disney Minnie Mouse at Sunderland Illumination 2017

There was the huge Cheshire Cat and White rabbit from previous years in an Alice in Wonderland themed section which looked magical lit up against the darkness. 

The Cheshire cat from Alice in wonderland Light at Sunderland illumination

White rabbit light from alice in wonderland at sunderland illumination 2017

We also discovered the giant lit up water tap, pumpkins, fairies and dinosaurs dotted around the park. 

Sunderland Illumination 2017 pumpkin light decoration

They had a Tardis and Darlek along with some astronauts making spooky Dr Who sounds. They had some brilliant looking light up artwork and maze which we did not get to see as the queues were quite big when we passed. 

DR Who Tardis sunderland illumination Roker Park

Sunderland Illumiantion 2017 Dr who

The lake area was really nice too with the light up fountains in the centre which looked amazing as the sky got darker. There was a lot of seating around the lake area, so I recommend heading here if you are eating in the park and can't get a picnic bench. They also have lots of portable toilets dotted all around the park, which is ideal when you have young children.


Roker Park Sunderland lake

We really enjoyed visiting the illuminations, we spent about two hours in the park and it was a lovely way to spend an evening as a family. My teen enjoyed herself just as much as my three and four-year-old, it was a really nice family event and such great value too at just £1 per person entry (£2 if you pay on the gate). 

lit up helter skelter ride at Sunderland illumination

We left the park just before 7pm and it was starting to get really busy, so if you have young children I would recommend going for it opening at 5pm and leaving before it gets busy at 7pm like we did. We walked along the seafront on the way back and it was extremely busy and they were turning people away who were trying to pay on the gate, so if you can book in advance online. 

Disney Pluto light at Sunderland Illumination

Along the seafront they had lots of fairground rides and a huge big wheel, they also had lots more food and sweet vans. The little two went on a fairground ride which was £2 each, I did not notice how much the bigger rides or the big wheel were though. 

Big wheel lit up at the fair at Sunderland Illumination

We then walked back to the Metro the way we came which took about 15 minutes and we were back in the house just after 8pm. I honestly had no idea that going somewhere like Sunderland Illuminations could be so quick and easy by Metro, it really was so much more convenient than going in a car and being stuck in traffic and struggling to find a parking space. If you are looking for something to do as a family this half term then I really do recommend a trip to Sunderland Illuminations. 

Tips
  • Book tickets online at www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk in advance, they only cost £1 per person and it will save you money and time in the long run.
  • Arrive early if you can to beat the queues, we arrived at 5pm when the gates opened and got in straight away, when we left just before 7pm the queue to get in were huge.
  • Get a free lost child wristband from the security staff, it has your contact details on in case your child gets lost.
  • The model train ride is located at the back of the park (near the play park) and is so much fun for children, head there early to beat the queues. 
  • Remember these things can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be, if you want to save money bring snacks and try to avoid the fairground rides which are located at the back of the park behind the lake or at the seafront. 
  • Remember to bring change with you if you are planning on buying lights, food etc. 
  • Remember your camera as you can take some lovely photos, especially when it gets darker. 
  • Get the Metro if you can as it is so hassle-free. 
If you do go I hope you have a lovely time like we did and make sure to let me know what you thought in the comments below. 

Disclosure This is a collaborative post with Tyne & Wear Metro. 



Babyfoote

56 comments:

  1. It looks like you all really did have a fab day out on the metro. I love the illuminations, and hope we manage to catch them this year too. You're right about being able to make it as cheap or exepensive as you like; people whinge about the cost of the snack vans but they don't need to go there! I'm off to check the website to book my ticket in advance :)

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    1. I hope you manage to see them with your boys. I know you don't have to buy things / pay the prices if you don't want to. I think at £1 entry it is a bargain x

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  2. Looks fab. We didn't go last year, but did the year before and it's a sweet night out. Thanks for the tip about paying in advance as I hadn't realised it was cheaper.

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    1. It really is a sweet night out, booking in advance was so much easier xx

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  3. It looks fab - whenever we've visited we've always went early to avoid the crowds and just played on the beach or whatever too. It soon gets dark doesn't it.

    I'm still not sure I can convince Steve to go.......

    It's lovely that your teen and toddlers enjoyed it in equal amounts - bet it's hard to find a day out like that xx

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    1. It really does get dark so quick, it was lovely to see the illuminations in the dark. Go on your own with the kids if he won't go, mind I thought Lee would hate it but he didn't. xx

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  4. Wow, this looks amazing! I love this time of year when the illuminations come out!

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  5. What a wonderful day out! The illuminated figures are brilliant, how fun!

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  6. Ahhh a lovely day out. I remember our annual trip to see the Blackpool illuminations as a child, I used to be so excited.

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    1. I went to Blackpool once as a child, illuminations are magical as a child x

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  7. Ah wow - the illuminations really come alive when it gets dark! Such a fun display for children and adults alike :)

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  8. Oh wow!!! My eldest would have loved the Disney illuminations. Your little guys look like they enjoyed the whole experience from start to finish.

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  9. I love it when companies do little things to keep kids entertained like putting an activity book on the Metro! Looks like a really fun trip out, we have a local illuminations park near us which we must go to! x

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    1. It was such a fun trip out, my son adored the metro x

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  10. This looks like a fab day out. I love it when companies like the Metro make things easier for parents to have a day out hassle free like this one :)

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    1. Me too, it always makes things much easier and more enjoyable x

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  11. It sounds like a lovely trip, I bet my daughter would love all the Disney illuminations x

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    1. It really was, the Disney Illuminations were lovely x

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  12. We are so fortunate to have the metro system! I went to Sunderland illuminations as a kid but have never taken mine, reading this I really should!

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    1. The metro is so handy. Oh you really should take your children, it was the first time I had taken mine and they had a great time x

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  13. That's sounds like such a few at thing for families. I was thrilled to see they gave a Goofy. He's my favourite Disney character and is often overlooked. It also seems a reasonably priced thing for families.

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    1. Goofy is my little girls favourite too, she has a Goofy ted she sleeps with xx

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  14. Oh wow, what a great day out. Love all the figures and how they light up too. Brilliant :)

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  15. I like the sound of the Pay G pop card it sounds kind of similar to an Oyster. It is wonderful that you were able to enjoy the beautiful illuminations as well!

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  16. What a fun day out, mine would have been made up to see the Tardis and the Dalek

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    1. They looked great lit up when it was dark x

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  17. I have never been, I keep meaning to go and never get round to it. Love that Cheshire cat. Looks like you had a fun day out

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    1. Oh you should visit if you can before it ends, it was a lovely evening out xx

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  18. Oh what fun! We are going to take a trip to blackpool illuminations this week I think!

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  19. Wow! What a beautiful park. I would love to visit this park with the kids. I bet they would love it.

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  20. What a fab place to visit! I think illuminations are magical for little ones to see. I love the Cheshire Cat :) x

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  21. Looks like a great day out. Love all the lights!

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  22. These sound fantastic and they look to have characters for everyone!

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  23. This looks like great fun! Definitely going to recommend to my brother's to take their kids there :)

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    1. His kids will love it, mine certainly did and it is a great day out x

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  24. These illuminations look so cool! I love the different characters and it is definitely something my little ones would enjoy. Just wish we lived closer!

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    1. It is perfect for children (and adults) x

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  25. I had no idea Sunderland had illuminations! I wish Manchester would do something like this.

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  26. can photos be taken at sunderland illuminations

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    1. Sorry for the delay, yes they can. They have ropes around the lights so you can't get too close but you can still take photos x

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  27. we had a really good time too-though we drove and managed to park on the sea front!

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    1. It was the first time we had been, oh that's handy you managed to park easily x

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  28. Looks like a great event. There is something magical about illuminations. That Cheshire cat is really impressive as well! #daysoutwithatoddler

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  29. We didn't manage to go this year but we visited last year and loved it! It looks like you had a fab day out. I love the metro system, we are so lucky to have it xx

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