The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018

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Get set to welcome the world famous Tall Ships Races 11-14 July 2018

Sun FM is proud to be an official media partner of the Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018.

We cannot wait to welcome the majestic fleet of Tall Ships to take part in a colourful four day festival of culture and entertainment across the city, before they set sail in spectacular style to compete in the first leg of The Tall Ships Races 2018.

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A spectacle from start to finish

Wednesday 11 July
All of the ships will have arrived by lunchtime - some will arrive as early as Monday 9 July - viewing will be spectacular from the seafront and around the quaysides of the River Wear.

  • 10am - 10pm - Event Zones at Port of Sunderland, Town Moor and St Peter's Riverside will be open with a full programme of entertainment
  • 6pm - 7pm - A Welcome Parade will take place, starting in the East End (SR1 2BW) and through the Port of Sunderland
  • 9.30pm -  Short firework display

Thursday 12 July
The programme of culture and entertainment for visitors continues. The ships' crews will enjoy a morning of sport and culture before the vibrant Crew Parade travels through the city centre from Burdon Road (SR1 1QB), along Fawcett Street, crossing Wearmouth Bridge and making its way down towards Event Zone C, University of Sunderland St Peter's Campus (SR6 0AD). The Parade will bring a true international carnival atmosphere to the streets!

  • 10am - 10pm - Event Zones at Port of Sunderland, Town Moor and St Peter's Riverside will be open with a full programme of entertainment
  • 3pm - 4.30pm - Crew Parade and Prize-giving Ceremony
  • 9.30pm - Short fireworks display

Friday 13 July
The festivities will continue and a full programme of entertainment means there is something for everyone to enjoy. Official race business will start for Captains, crew and trainees before their journey to Esbjerg.

  • 10am - 10pm - Event Zones at Port of Sunderland, Town Moor and St Peter's Riverside will be open with a full programme of entertainment
  • 9pm - 10pm - Cirque Bijou High Wire Artistic Performance will take place along the riverside and Wearmouth Bridge including pyrotechnics!

Saturday 14 July
The ships will close for public access as they make final preparations for the Races. They will undock through the afternoon and move out into the North Sea for the stunning Parade of Sail. The Ships will sail northwards to Souter Point and then turn around to start the race to their next destination - Esbjerg. The coastal resorts of Roker and Seaburn will provide fabulous viewing points as the city bids a fond farewell to the ships!

  • 10am - 8pm - All Event Zones will be open with a full programme of entertainment
  • 12pm - 8pm - Summer Streets Festival at Recreational Park, Seaburn
  • 2.30pm - First vessels leave their berth
  • 5.30pm - 7pm - Parade of Sail, best viewing from Roker and Seaburn seafront
  • 8pm - 9pm - The Tall Ships Races 2018 to Esbjerg starts

Find out more 

Parking/Park and ride information

Visitors can now pre-book parking facilities online for The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018.

The Races – set to be the UK’s largest free family event in 2018 – will begin on Wednesday 11 July, when a magnificent fleet of 55 vessels will arrive at the port of Sunderland, at the North East coast.

This will mark the start of a four-day festival of entertainment before the ships depart for Esbjerg, Denmark. The entertainment – which will include street theatre, food and refreshments, displays and live music – will be spread across four event zones.

Coaches, drivers and Blue Badge holders can make sure they enjoy everything the event has to offer – and save money - by pre-booking their parking spaces.

Four Park and Ride sites are in operation around the city, with capacity for over 3000 cars, plus dedicated coach parking at the Stadium of Light, and Blue Badge parking at St Peter’s Riverside.

In addition, fully accessible shuttle buses will run at frequent intervals between the event zones on the north and south of the River Wear to allow people to experience everything the event has to offer.

Park and Ride tickets pre-booked online costs £10 per car per day and will cover the driver and four passengers to travel on the Park and Ride buses.

These tickets will also allow the holders to access the event shuttle buses throughout the day of validity. Additional Park and Ride passengers are charged at £4 each and under-fives travel for free.

If bought on the day, the Park and Ride ticket cost is £4 per passenger.

Blue Badge parking is also available to buy online with tickets for each available at just £10 per day – a 50 per cent saving on the ‘on the day’ price of £20.

The event schedule begins on Wednesday 11 July when the ships will lower their gangways to visitors.  

On Thursday 12 July,the programme of culture and entertainment continues when a Crew Parade will weave through the city centre, bringing a carnival atmosphere to the streets, followed by a prize-giving ceremony.

On Friday 13 July a major artistic commission will take place on the riverside and local sail trainees taking part in the Races will arrive to join their ships.

Finally, on Saturday 14 July the ships will take part in a spectacular Parade of Sail, past the coastal resorts of Roker and Seaburn, with onshore entertainment continuing well into the evening.                                                                                                              

To pre-book parking and for further information visit

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