I am so lucky to live in the North East of England! Spectacular coastal landscapes, more castles than I can count, mysterious plane wrecks, waterfalls, tasty seafood dinners and cute cattle are a few of the many treasures the North East has to offer.
Newcastle is a small city in the North East of England and it was a major contributor in the industrial revolution due to its prime location next to the river.
I live in Tynemouth & I am lucky enough to have one of the best beaches in the UK right on my doorstep. The beach is one of the most popular destinations for locals to flock to on a hot sunny day. One smooth run of golden sand stretches a mile offering a huge range of activities: Family walks, Surfing, Fresh Seafood Restaurants, and local live music at the Surf Café.
Going to the beach is a must for everyone! The North East coast is a tourist hot spot which never gets too busy, meaning the locals can treasure it all year round too.
Tynemouth Longsands is a beach on the North East Coast of England. It is a Blue Flag award-winning beach meaning it is internationally recognised for cleanliness, facilities and water quality. Here you can have 1-1 or group surf lessons with Tynemouth Surf Co; the founder of which played a pivotal role in putting Tynemouth on the surfing map.
During the Winter hard-core surfers can be seen out along the rugged coastline. Big North Atlantic swells wrap round Scotland and surge towards the beach with enormous power. As the North Sea is around 6 degrees throughout the Winter, using a thick wetsuit, hood and boots is a must! All this high-quality equipment can be hired at Tynemouth Surf Co. More recently other companies have started up including Yonder. Yonder is a Women’s Surf school which aims to build a community of female surfers. At Yonder, 2-hour group sessions start at £25 (including all equipment) and £35 for 1:1.
All-year round dog walkers & couples can been seen on the beach from sunrise until sunset. There are seasonal restrictions on dogs, between the 1st of May and 30th of September dogs are banned from half of Tynemouth Longsands. As the beach is one mile long, pooches can still swim and safely chase balls off the leash, without crossing the “no dog” boundary.
If it is not warm enough to bask in the North East Sun, a coastal drive is an amazing alternative. Starting at Blyth South Beach, this beautiful drive follows the coastline to Tynemouth. Blyth is an industrial town in the Northumberland district, which has a 4km sandy bay ending at Seaton Sluice. The route from Blyth To Whitley Bay involves a scenic section through the beautiful countryside, passing through old Hartley village. There are plenty of places to stop, take in the beautiful scenery and break the journey. My favorite is Whitley Bay, where you can kayak out to the Lighthouse and spot seals or if you aren’t feeling as adventurous, stop at De-Meo’s award winning Ice-cream parlour.
For a more energetic activity you can cycle from North Shields to South Shields. Nexus passenger ferry connects the two sides of the river, costing £1.80 for a single or £3 return & runs from 6.45 until 19.30. South of the River Tyne is better for leisurely cycling as there are dedicated smooth tarmac cycle paths following the winding coast all the way to Sunderland. South Tyneside council have also developed a ‘journey planner’ which calculates the best cycling route for you!
Mouth of the Tyne Festival
During the Summer Tynemouth Castle hosts the Mouth of the Tyne festival which has been an annual event since 2005 celebrating famous international & local talent live at Tynemouth Priory & Castle. Last year the headliners included Sam Fender, The Proclaimers and Little Comets! The festival, which is aimed at both locals and tourists, thankfully allows you to bring your own alcohol & food into the concert! Food stands in the past have included Burgers, Fire Pizza, Churros and Waffles. This is perfect activity if you want to get boozy whilst listening to great music for a small cost.
Riley’s Fish Shack
King Edwards bay is a small sandy beach enclosed by surrounding cliffs, tucked at the bottom of the cliffs sits a converted shipping container called Riley’s Fish Shack. The building is small and cosy, complete with views of the shoreline and Tynemouth Priory & Castle. If you want high quality fish eat here! All fish produce is sourced from the local fish quay and the origins of all other ingredients can be found on their website. So, whilst tucking into a scrumptious monkfish wrap or juicy lobster it really feels like you are supporting local North East businesses.
As the sun begins to set over the dunes, the surf café is in the perfect spot to catch the last sun rays of the day. The Surf Café is situated at the top of Longsands Beach, opposite the duck pond & dinosaur mini golf, facing onto the Grand Parade. Compared to other bars situated in the heart of Tynemouth, this spot closer to the beach & less busy. Some evenings local singers & bands perform here & is where Sam Fender regularly played before he was famous. The Surf Café is one of the cheaper cafes to go in Tynemouth & is worth making a trip to witness the exploding variety of local memorabilia and photos.
The Fish Quay
Finally, the Fish Quay. This is an incredibly special place for both my family and I, as generations of my family were fishermen dating back to the 13th Century. Even with the decreased demand of fish the community has remained resilient and has balanced the hard-working fishing industry with glamorised eateries and drinking establishments to appeal to the younger generations.
Trawlers dock first thing in the morning at the heart of the Quay every day. Fresh Fish is then transported to Fishmongers and restaurants all along the quay, spreading the distinct fishy smell. The whole length of the Quay is lined with numerous Fishmongers, Fish & Chip Restaurants and Takeaways and even Italians. You really cannot get fish fresher! Perfect if you are a seafood fan.
Alongside the industrial & commercial industries, the Fish Quay is also home to some historical structures like The Old Low Light, Fiddler’s Green Fishermen’s Memorial, Collingwood Statue, and the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade Museum. These emphasize the rich heritage of my local community and add history & character to the regenerating area.