A FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND, festive trail, with hidden elves, reindeers and giant gifts, is proving a big hit with North East families.

And it is also providing the perfect seasonal solution for people wondering how to keep their youngsters entertained in a socially distanced way across the festive season.

The Christmas in Sunderland experience combines a series of spectacular light installations within the city centre with seven, magical, augmented reality characters.

Organisers, Sunderland BID and Sunderland City Council, are urging anyone who has not yet taken part, to download the free app which brings the Augmented Reality features to life.

Head of Business Operations, Sharon Appleby, said it is the perfect entertainment for the current climate.

She said:“Not only is it huge fun for all ages, but it’s entirely outdoors and, by its very nature, socially distanced.”

“We need a little Christmas magic more than ever this year, but we also need fresh air and exercise more than ever, too."

Along with revealing the hidden AR features of the trail, the Sunderland Experience app, which can be downloaded free from Apple and Google Play stores, highlights offers at a variety of city centre businesses.

The Christmas in Sunderland experience will run until Sunday, January 3, 2021.