Frequently Asked Questions

Race Map


1. Where is The Tall Ships Races in 2018?

The Tall Ships Races 2018 starts in Sunderland. Race 1 will take the fleet to Esbjerg, Denmark, they will then ‘cruise in company’ to Stavanger in Norway. Race 2 will take the Series to its conclusion in Harlingen, Netherlands.

2. When is the event?

Sunderland will host the fleet from 11-14 July 2018. The vessels should all have arrived by midday on Wednesday the 11th.

3. What are the opening hours for The Tall Ships event?

The event sites will open daily from 10am and will be closed at 10pm. Most of the vessels will be open intermittently to the public dependant on their race inspection preparations, crew change-over and training programmes and anything else that keeps the decks busy.

4. Is the event free?

There is no access charge to the event sites or the vessels. You should expect to queue for a significant period at peak times to get on the ships, though we will do our best to post updates on ship closing times and any vessels that have short queues on social media throughout the event.

5. Where is Sunderland?

The City of Sunderland metropolitan borough is in Tyne and Wear, North East England. It is a coastal city at the mouth of the River Wear with adjoining beaches of Roker, Seaburn and Whitburn. It is South of Newcastle, and North of Hartlepool

6. How can I get there?

Visit our ‘How to get here page’ for information

7. How far is it from:

Durham 14 miles via A690
Newcastle 15 miles via A184
Middlesbrough 30 miles via A19
Whitby 64 miles via A171 and A19
Carlisle 73 miles via A69
Leeds 91 miles via A19 and A1M
Edinburgh 132 miles via A1
Manchester 139 miles via M62 and A19

8. Is there disabled access?

We will be doing everything possible to make all event sites accessible for those with restricted mobility. Accessing Tall Ships inevitably involves negotiating steep slopes and many steps, however the STS Lord Nelson will be present at the event and has been purpose built to give people with disabilities the opportunity to experience sail training, and will welcome disabled visitors aboard.
We will also have a designated Blue Badge holder car park on the north side of the river at St Peters campus.

9. Is it suitable for children?

Yes, there will be lots to do for all ages; there will be a lot of people at the event, so make sure that you keep a close eye on little ones to avoid becoming separated.

10. Is there parking?

An extensive Park and Ride plan will be in place and tickets will be available through our website nearer to the time of the event. Sign up to our newsletter (enter your name and email address at the foot of the home page of this site) to receive the latest updates.

11. Is there Coach parking?

a. How much will coach parking cost?
£40 per coach for advance bookings, £60 on the day.
b. Where will the coach parking be?
Stadium of Light / Bone Yard (accessed from Hay Street).
c. Will there be a drop off point or will the parks be close enough for passengers to walk to the event site?
For a number of reasons we’ve moved away from drop off at the actual event sites, plus SoL is within walking distance of northern event site and Event Shuttle Bus.
d. Will there be a limitation on availability of coach parking?
There will be capacity for up to 70 coaches.
e. How do I book coach parking tickets?
Coach Park tickets will be available online on our event website – sign up to the event e-newsletter to ensure you receive news of updates about when the tickets will go on sale.
f. Do coach parking costs include VAT and will we be issued with a receipt on the day or if we book on-line in advance?
Prices are inclusive of VAT, receipts will be issued with your booking confirmation when booking in advance, or issued to the driver when paying on the day.
g. How far is it to walk to the event zones from the coach parking?
The start of the northern event site is within 600m (0.4 mile). The start of the southern event site is within 1.7km (1.1 miles). NOTE: excluding the distance to each site, visitors wishing to explore all of the northern event site should expect to cover at least 1.5km (0.9miles) and 2.4km (1.5miles) to cover the southern event site.
h. Where will the shuttle bus run from in relation to the coach parking area? Pending the appointment of a shuttle bus provider; the nearest shuttle bus stop will be 400m from the Coach Parking.
i. Is there to be a number of shuttle buses?
There will be multiple shuttle buses operating the same route.
j. Will they be running frequently?
The buses will operate on a continuous loop, with a bus approximately every 10 minutes.
k. Will the shuttle buses be free?
Children under 5 travel free, however passengers aged 5 and over will need to purchase a ‘Tall Ships Day Ticket’ priced at £2.00 per person.
l. Are there ample free toilet facilities for passenger/drivers to use at the Stadium of Light?
Toilet facilities are available within Stadium of Light and nearby Sunderland Aquatic Centre and pending procurement; there will be temporary toilet facilities located within the Coach Parking area.
m. Will there be any other facilities there?
A small food kiosk and vending machines are located within the foyer of Sunderland Aquatic Centre, McDonalds and Tesco’s are also within 500m (0.25 mile)
n. Are there any promotional leaflets available to be posted out?
There are posters available to download from the event website’s resource centre:

12. How many ships will there be?

There is a global fleet of over 800 Tall Ships. We currently have 52 Tall Ships signed up to come to Sunderland.

13. When will they sail in?

The fleet must be assembled in the Port of Sunderland by midday on Wednesday 11 July 2018. Owing to the unpredictable nature of sailing conditions and the vast distances that some of the ships will be traveling to get to Sunderland, some are likely to arrive up to two days early.

14. Where have the ships come from?

Vessels are welcome from across the globe to form up The Tall Ships Races fleet. The North Sea route for the 2018 race series is attractive to European vessels with Poland, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Norway being well represented.

15. How tall are the ships?

The tallest Tall Ship that we know of is the Shabab Oman II which stands at 57.9 metres or 190 feet, that’s three times the height of National Glass Centre. Even at low tide, it will be twice the height of the rooftop viewing platform.

16. What else is there to see and do?

All event sites will offer a broad range of entertainment for all ages. The stages at St Peters Campus and Town Moor will be filled with local acts, and the city will take the opportunity to showcase its heritage and cultural offers. There will be lots to keep younger children busy with carnival rides and attractions. There will be fireworks each evening in the Port area, which will be in clear view for visitors on both sides of the river. Event zones will also host food and drinks vendors.

17. Where can I stay overnight?

There are several hotels and guest houses in Sunderland; the See It Do It website provides all the information that you need. (

18. Can you go on the ships?

The ships will be open to the public during event opening hours, however they will need to close in order to conduct crew change overs, pre-race administration and some vessels will be hosting hospitality events in the afternoons and evenings – some of these events will be ticketed and be available for public sale. We will do our best to post updates on ship opening times and any vessels that have short queues on social media throughout the event.

19. When will they sail out?

At around 2.30pm on Saturday 14 July 2018, the ships will start moving out for the spectacular Parade of Sail. The prime viewing location for this will be Roker and Seaburn beaches. The ships will be sailing north, up to and in line with Souter Lighthouse, to unfurl their sails before turning back south-east to the start line which will be roughly due east from the Roker Pier and Lighthouse.

20. Can I bring a group of people?

Group travel and use of public transport is welcomed and recommended. Information on locations of coach parks and Park and Ride sites will be available in March.

21. Can we just come for one day?

Yes, there will be 4 event zones with plenty to see and do every day of the event.

22. Is there somewhere to eat?

There will be food concessions at the event sites, and we would also encourage visitors to explore the city to discover one or more of its fantastic restaurants. Check out the See It Do It website ( and the Sunderland BID website ( for more details.

23. What else can I do in the area?

There is so much beneath the surface that we do not shout about! From its heritage and history, to its modern underground music scene there is enough to do in Sunderland to keep you busy for the entire summer holiday period. Check out the See It Do It website for more details (

24. Is there a shopping centre nearby?

The Bridges Shopping Centre is in the heart of the city.

25. Is there a train/bus station nearby?

For more information on travel and transport questions, go to the event website (

26. How can I get involved?

You can join a ship as a sail trainee for Race 1 to Esbjerg and experience a voyage first hand find out more here (
Businesses will be able to get involved through sponsorship, corporate hospitality and by supplying to the event. More information is available at the business opportunities page (

27. Is there a mailing list I can join?

Sign up for our monthly newsletter from the homepage of the event website (

28. Are there suggested itineraries we can use that incorporate Tall Ships and the rest of the North East?

Sunderland Airshow is two weekends after the event on 27-29 July 2018. The Great Exhibition of the North will be running from 21June - 10 September in Newcastle-Gateshead.

29. Where are the event zones and what activities will be available there?

There are 4 main Event Zones:

Event Zone A – The Port
Event Zone B – Town Moor
Event Zone C – St Peter’s Campus
Event Zone D – Seafront (please note activity will only happen here on Saturday 14th July)

The full event programme will be released soon – Please keep checking our website and social media channels for details.

30. Do you have social media channels?

Yes we regularly update our social media accounts with key information. You can follow us on twitter - @TallShipsSund and you can find us on Facebook – TallShipsRacesSunderland and Instagram at - tallshipssunderland

31. Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately dogs will not be allowed into the event zones. However assistance dogs will be allowed access to all public areas.

32. Will there be picnic areas available if I want to bring my own food and drinks?

Yes there will be picnic seating available on the Town Moore Event Zone as well as grassed areas on the St Peter’s Event Zone.

33. Where will there be toilets available?

Toilet facilities will be available on every Event Zone.

34. Will there be security onsite?

Yes there will be security onsite throughout the event. Please note bag searches will be in operation.

35. Which roads will be affected by the event?

Road closures will be announced soon. Please check our website for details.