Visitors to The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 can slash the cost of parking by pre-booking their space.
The Races – set to be the UK’s largest free family event in 2018– will begin on Tuesday 10 July, when a magnificent fleet of more than 50 vessels will arrive at the port of Sunderland, at the North East coast.
This will mark the start of a five-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.
And 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.
Five Park and Ride sites are in operation around the city, with capacity for more than 3000 cars, plus dedicated coach parking at the Stadium of Light and Blue Badge and Premium parking at St Peter’s Riverside.
In addition, fully accessible Event 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 cost £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 £2 each and under-fives travel for free.
If bought on the day, Park and Ride tickets cost £4 per passenger, with an additional £2 per person cost for the Event Shuttle Bus.
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.
Public transport providers will also be laying on additional services throughout the festival.
“I would really urge all visitors to get online and book their parking tickets now,” said Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture at Sunderland City Council.
“We’re expecting more than one million visitors to the event and with a little forward planning, visitors can ensure they have a parking space – and save money.”
The event schedule begins on Tuesday 10 July when the ships which have already arrived into Sunderland will lower their gangways to visitors.
Wednesday 11 July will see all of the ships berthed in the Port or at St Peter’s Riverside, and a Welcome Parade will make its way through the Port.
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, high-wire act Cirque Bijou will be performing an amazing 30m walk up 220m to the Wearmouth Bridge, accompanied by performers and pyrotechnics. Local sail trainees taking part in the Races will also 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.