Only minutes from NewcastleGateshead you’ll be delighted to discover vibrant seaside towns with a sparkle and buzz all of their own. Between St. Mary’s and Souter lighthouses eight miles of good old-fashioned seaside stretches out; with award-winning beaches, coves and cliffs to explore; fish & chips, real ale and ice cream; sandcastles, swimming, surfing, rockpooling and all the fun of the fair. Day or night, you’ll find it at the coast.
Whitley Bay, Tynemouth Longsands, King Edward’s Bay and Cullercoats Bay - were all awarded prestigious Blue Flag status alongside Sunderland’s Roker and Seaburn beaches and South Shields’ Sandhaven. Watch big ships and fishing boats sail by or visit traditional pubs and happening clubs right by the sea – there’s even a restaurant in a cave at Marsden Grotto, and a cafe on the beach at Tynemouth Longsands!
For a break from the beach Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium has sea-creatures from all around the world and a colony of real miniature monkeys to please the whole family, whilst the weekend market which takes place within the beautiful Victorian Metro Station offers all sorts of quirky bargains on a Saturday or Sunday morning, whatever the weather. For adrenaline-filled fun at the beach be sure to stop off at Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. Further along the coast, just minutes’ walk from Sunderland’s Roker and Seaburn beaches, The National Glass Centre is another great way to escape the midday sun (or rain, although we hope not!) for free!
St Mary’s Lighthouse and Island at Whitley Bay features a nature reserve and wetland habitat perfect for a spot of rockpooling, not to mention some of the best views of the coastline to reward you for tackling the 137 steps to the top! Souter lighthouse in South Shields, the first lighthouse to be electrically powered, is now open to the public and provides a great family day-out with well-preserved technology, an outdoor play area boat, foghorn demonstrations, enthusiastic guides and a charming picnic spot on the Leas. With winding cliff-top walks, rugged grassland and spectacular views, the Leas - a National Trust site which you may recognise as the Great North Run’s finishing point – is an area of outstanding natural beauty not to mention special scientific interest.