North East Seaside Towns with Bucket Loads of Bars and Bistros
Three seaside towns with bucket loads of character, beaches, bars and bistros
Whitley Bay is packed full of activities that make the perfect spot for a family day out – from the penny arcades to adventures in the skate parks, playgrounds, and the infamous PLAYHOUSE which hosts music and theatre performances throughout the year. A two-mile stroll down the coast and you’ll find yourself in Tynemouth where you could easily spend the day. Explore the ruins of Tynemouth Priory standing tall over King Edward’s Bay and browse the independent delis and gift shops before sitting down for a little rest and refuel at one of the many bistros, cafés or bars. Continue down the coastline and you’ll soon come to North Shields Fish Quay where you can buy freshly caught fish and seafood, or sample it first hand in one of the restaurants dotted along the Quay.
Any one of these towns provides a multitude of comfortable places to rest your head. York House Boutique Hotel has 18 spacious ensuite bedrooms with a great breakfast which is the best way to start a day on the beach. A little further down the coastline, between Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, Seafront Apartments have magnificent sea views and are ideal for those wanting self-catered accommodation. The Grand Hotel is a good option for a night’s stay in one of their 46 refined modern-luxury rooms, many with sea views.
Start your day the right way with a visit to Kith and Kin. This Whitley Bay favourite has all-day brunch and lunch options, including filled bagels, breakfast butties and deliciously sweet French toast. It wouldn’t be a coastal town without an amusement arcade, and Whitley Bay’s is surrounded by award-winning fish and chip shops and ice cream parlours – it’s certainly worth stopping by Di Meo’s to try a few scoops of their quirky flavours, and the most delicious, freshly cooked fish and chips at Fisherman’s Bay where you can choose to sit in or takeaway to enjoy on the beach. There are two miles of golden sands to wander along and a visit to Whitley Bay wouldn’t be complete without climbing the 137 steps to the top of St Mary’s Lighthouse. The rocks and pools around the lighthouse are a great place for kids to explore, but make sure you leave the part-time island before you get cut off by the tide. Don’t miss a visit to the iconic Spanish City with its five restaurants, including the second branch of Whitby institution Trenchers which sits under the famous dome, or visit The Champagne Bar which is perfect for a tipple or two at the end of the day.
A weekend trip should include a visit to the thriving weekend market inside Tynemouth Metro Station, where you can find everything from plants and furniture to antiques and tasty street food – it’s a truly eclectic mix. Wander the beautiful streets of Tynemouth and explore the independent shops including Land of Green Ginger Shopping Arcade where you’ll find all sorts of unique shops and eateries, including Vineyard72 for fine wines, cheeses and continental cured meats. Tynemouth’s Front Street is also home to the latest outpost of popular bar-cumrestaurant Pleased To Meet You, and Toast, a new artisan bakery bar. Staying on Front Street, head to Longsands Fish Kitchen for award-winning fish and chips before making your way along either of Tynemouth’s two beaches; Longsands, the larger of the two, is popular with surfers and families, and home to Crusoe’s café on the sand (head here for some great live music); while King Edward’s Bay is a smaller, sheltered beach that’s home to the now-famous Riley’s Fish Shack. Here you can stay a while under the parasols beside the open fires if you’ve booked a deckchair on the beach. Don’t miss a trip around the Castle and Priory’s ruins to find 2,000 years of history, including the beautiful 13th century chapel.
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North Shields is famous for its Fish Quay. It’s a thriving area with plenty of cafés and pubs; try The Ship’s Cat for stone-baked pizzas, loaded fries and giant burgers alongside creative cocktails and a strong range of beers and ales. Make the most of the sun by grabbing fish and chips to-go from Seaview Fish and Grill, who serve grilled lobster, king prawn tacos and monkfish skewers. Walk off your meal along the promenade that stretches from the quay to the mouth of the Tyne and get a glimpse of the Collingwood Monument. Tyne Street offers beautiful views of the quay and the river, and is also home to Dockwray Square (and the statue of local lad Stan Laurel). Coffee-lovers should make a trip to Baristocracy coffee roastery where coffee can be bought by the cup and bag, or book onto one of their speciality coffee courses and master the art of the perfect coffee. If you time it right you’ll be able to visit Salt Market Social’s monthly events, bringing together the best of the region’s street foodies, craft beer merchants and live music all under one roof.