The reputation of Colmans on Ocean Road is well deserved. The family-run fish restaurant isn’t just a great place for fish and chips with proper crispy batter, they also serve seafood specials and their famous fishcakes, with a selection of wines, beers and spirits. Ocean Road is also known as the curry mile of the North East – strictly speaking it’s a half-mile, home to award-winning Zeera restaurant, run by North East Curry Chef of the Year Kohinoor Choudhury.
Spend the night at the gateway of the River Tyne. The Little Haven Hotel enjoys a location right on the beach, with views of the river. There are also numerous hotels and guest houses along Ocean Road so you can be right where the action is. Situated in the picturesque village of Westoe, the Sir William Fox Hotel offers cute individually designed rooms in a historic setting.
South Shields is home to the world-famous Barbour brand, so pop down to the Factory Outlet to find products from the current range, and previous season items at discounted prices. South Shields is also home to one of the oldest open-air markets in the North East, held in the Market Place on Monday, Friday and Saturday. Head to the nearby village of Boldon for quirky interiors at Breeze and some real bargins at the Boldon Auction Gallery.
Take in a show at The Customs House, the town’s arts venue. There’s an eclectic year-round programme of exhibitions, music, theatre and dance from international acts and community groups, and there’s even a cinema.
Nearby Jarrow was once home to the Venerable Bede, the 7th century scholar, saint and ‘Father of English History’. Now it’s home to Bede’s World, a family-friendly museum where you can see exhibitions, learn about Bede’s life and say hello to the animals on the working Anglo-Saxon farm.
No trip would be complete without taking in the view of Marsden Rock. Tidal erosion has shaped this craggy landmark, which buzzes with thousands of pairs of nesting seabirds.
Around the corner
Follow the Coast Road south to Whitburn, a pretty village with a cricket ground, bowling greens, and a small shopping street. Here you’ll find Souter Lighthouse, which was the first lighthouse in the world designed and built to be powered by electricity.