26 November 2021

Anyone really wanting to ramp up the Christmas spirit can get their skates on this weekend (Nov 27) as Sunderland’s festive ice rink opens.

The rink at Keel Square, which will be covered for the first time, will open this Saturday and will be followed by a full programme of activities throughout December.

On the opening Saturday – and on 4, 11 and 18 December – the rink will also be home to food and drink pop-ups running from 2pm until 9pm, with traders including The Jacket Inn and Sweet Petite.

And on the December dates above there’ll be even more reasons for visiting, with the opportunity for youngsters to skate alongside a number of magical Christmas characters from 10am until 11am.

Sunderland BID, which has created the rink as part of its festive programme working with Sunderland City Council, has also put together a family bundle which includes an hour of unlimited use of the fairground rides at the former Crowtree site and a session on the ice.

The tickets are £50 and can be used for two adults and two children or one adult with three children.

Companies, schools or groups of friends can also book the ice rink for private skating parties, giving them a unique and exciting way to celebrate the festive season.

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID, said she was excited to see the rink back.

“It’s always a really popular attraction around Christmas and we’re hopefully going to make up for the fact we were unable to have the ice rink last year,” she said.

“We’ve also made sure that it’s undercover this time round so it will mean that the weather won’t affect the fun.”

The ice rink is part of a full programme of events taking place in the run up to Christmas, which includes the annual charity Reindeer Dash around the Bridges on Sunday 5 December.

Places for the dash can be booked at  and cost £4 for children under 12 and £6 for adults and anyone over the age of 13.                                           

Anyone wanting more details about private bookings at the rink should email [email protected] or call 0191 722 1002.

To book the fairground and ice skating packages or to just book ice skating sessions, visit

Full details of the city’s festive programme are available at