Organisers are hoping that visitors to one North East city will have an 'ice' time ahead of Christmas this year as they prepare to put on a packed timetable of jolly events.

Sunderland is ready and waiting to get into the Christmas spirit this year as the city has announced there will be a full schedule of festive activities across December.

Whether it's visiting Santa in his grotto, munching on some delicious food at pop-up markets or heading to the Empire Theatre for a pantomime, Sunderland BID has announced a jam-packed schedule of events this year.

This year, a special pop-up festive ice rink will be placed in Keel Square on December 9-10, which will offer general skating sessions but also the chance for youngsters to take to the ice with Disney princesses.

The Northern Echo: Sunderland is set to become a winter wonderland this December.Sunderland is set to become a winter wonderland this December. (Image: PR)

Here's the full timetable of events:

  • November 16 - January 7: BID's Christmas Stocking Trail on the Sunderland Experience App
  • December 2: Santa's Grotto in The Bridges returns alongside a makers and bakers market
  • December 3: Reindeer Dash in The Bridges
  • December 9-10: Pop up ice skating rink in Keel Square
  • December 16: Live carving of Santa's sleigh
  • December 16-17: Ice sculptures and Santa's Grotto in Keel Square
  • December 17: Pop-up food market at Sunniside Gardens

“Our Christmas programme just keeps getting bigger,” said Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, “and the ice festival will really be at the heart of it all.

“More details will follow in the coming weeks but it’s shaping up to be a magical Christmas here in Sunderland.”

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Councillor John Price, Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City added: “We’ve got a really exciting programme of activities taking place in the city centre this winter, and a pop-up skating rink is sure to be popular with families in the countdown to Christmas.

“Whether you’re looking to keep children entertained, want to enjoy some festive films, or try some delicious local food, there’s really something for everyone to enjoy so I would encourage everyone to head over to Sunderland BID’s website to learn more about what’s on.”