About the Tall Ships
Sunderland is the start host port for The Tall Ships Races 2018. The majestic vessels will congregate in the River Wear and Port of Sunderland as they prepare to embark on a spectacular race covering over three hundred nautical miles.
Ships travel to Esbjerg in Denmark, a cruise in company to Norway, calling at the coastal city of Stavanger, then undertaking the final leg of the 2018 Races to the beautiful city of Harlingen in the Netherlands.
In total they will cover more than one thousand nautical miles over three weeks, giving thousands of young people a thrilling sail training experience, developing new skills, sharing fantastic memories and making friendships that will last a lifetime.
Wednesday 11th July
- The ships will arrive by lunchtime – some may arrive earlier – making spectacular viewing from the seafront and around the quaysides of the River Wear. The entertainment and festivities will commence across the event site and ships crews will enjoy inter-ship sporting activities. Ships will open at specific times for visitors to explore onboard and discover more about these magnificent giants of the sea.
Thursday 12 July
- The programme of culture and entertainment for event visitors continues. The ships’ crews will enjoy a morning of sport and culture before the upbeat Crew Parade weaves through the city from the Burdon Road, along Fawcett Street, crossing Wearmouth Bridge and making its way noisily down towards Event Zone C, University of Sunderland St Peter’s Campus and bringing a true international carnival atmosphere to the streets.
- The Parade is intended to thank the host port for their hospitality and everyone is welcome to come along and join the celebrations. The Parade will conclude with a Prize-Giving Ceremony at St Peter’s Campus with prizes being awarded to ships and individuals for a range of disciplines and achievements.
Friday 13 July
- The festivities will continue across the city and a full programme of entertainment will ensure that there is something for everyone to enjoy. Official Race business starts to get serious as the Captains receive their briefing from Sail Training International officials as they set their sights to Esbjerg. The sail trainees that are about to participate in the Race arrive to join their ships.
Saturday 14 July
- The ships will be closed for public access as they make final preparations for the Races. There’ll be lots to see in the Port of Sunderland and along the river banks as the ships get ready to leave. They will undock over the course of the afternoon and move out into the North Sea to partake in a stunning Parade of Sail, sailing northwards and on to their next destination.
- Roker and Seaburn will provide fabulous viewing points as the city bids a fond farewell to the ships. The entertainment will not stop when the ships leave, with revelries and programmed events continuing well into the evening as the city reflects and celebrates a fantastic few days.
Road Closures & Travel
- On Thursday 12 July, a Crew Parade of sailors and young people from around the world will start at Burdon Road and make its way to St Peter’s Campus, resulting in the closures of Burdon Road and Park Road for the afternoon.
- These closures will be rolled out along the parade route up to the Wearmouth Bridge from 2.30pm, taking in Fawcett Street, Bridge Street, Borough Road and streets connected to the route. Roads will re-open as the parade passes.
- Wearmouth Bridge, St Mary’s and West Wear Street will be closed between 3pm and 4.30pm with roads re-opening after the crew parade arrives at St Peter’s Campus.
- One of the highlights of the festival will be a breath-taking world record attempt by three performers from Cirque Bijou, who will cross the River Wear on a high wire without a safety net, on Friday 13 July at around 9pm.
- On the evening of Friday 13 July, Wearmouth Bridge, St Mary’s and West Wear Street will be closed completely for the Cirque Bijou performance.
- On the final day of the event, Saturday 14 July, the A183 Roker Terrace/Whitburn Road will be closed from early morning until late at night between the Bungalow Café and Morrisons roundabout.
- Throughout the event the streets closest to the event zones will be subject to permit closures, to allow access for residents and businesses. Visitors should use the variety of event parking options available.
- Bookings for Park and Ride, Park and Walk, coach and Blue Badge parking are now open online, click here for details.