We’ve rounded up 10 of the top things to do.
1. Santa Rides, Roker Park, Sunderland
The City of Sunderland Model Engineering Society will be running a weekend of Santa Special trains over the weekend of December 14 and 15 between 1pm and 4pm at their Roker Park railway track. Weather permitting, visitors will be able to whizz around the mini track on a train driven by Santa himself. The model engineering society don't charge for rides, but donations are always welcome.
Photo: JPI Media
2. Winter Wonderland, Rainton Arena, Sunderland
Winter Wonderland is spreading festive magic at Rainton Arena, Houghton. Sunderland, every day until December 23. As well as Santa's Grotto, there's real reindeer, an ice rink, a craft marquee, tipi bar, fairground rides and a host of stalls selling food and drink. There's also a shopping area if you need to pick up some gifts. Entry is free, but the rink and the grotto will need to be paid for.
Photo: JPI Media
3. Cinderella, Sunderland Empire, December 13 to January 5
Scarlett Moffatt heads up the cast as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella which opens at Sunderland Empire this week. The panto will be running from December 13 to January 5 and also stars comedian Miss Rory as Rorina Hardup, Duncan Burt as her ugly sister Ruby, Nick Jnr’s Gemma Naylor (Go! Go! Go!) as Cinderella, ITV’s Superstars finalist Jon Moses as the Prince and Tom Whalley as Buttons for a photo call. Usually theatres spend months in negotiations with household names like Scarlett to appear in their pantos, but the I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here winner is such a regular to the High Street West theatre that she approached them for her debut panto performance.
Photo: Stu Norton
4. Snow White, Customs House, South Shields, until January 5
As part of the Customs House's 25th Anniversary celebrations the Little Panto with the Big Heart presents Snow White. Come see their take on the classic fairytale, performed for the first time since its first festive season in 1994. The Evil Queen, having banished her fair sister in a mirror, is now forced to look after her ward Snow White. Driven evil by her jealousy, she wishes to dispose of the fairest in the land. Will Dame Bella and Arbuthnot save the day or will heroes Sniffy and Whiffy smell something is rotten in the state of Cooksonville and help the Prince of the North find his true love.