Last week I was on a bit of a mini tour of the UK visiting family and friends, first off in Birmingham then on to Glasgow and Greenock and then Newcastle before heading back to London. Phew! As much as I love living in London, there’s nothing like going back home to recharge and see all those friendly faces and places, and without a doubt the first place that I want to go to when I reach Newcastle is the beach! Having grown up in a small Northumbrian coastal town, being near the sea is just something that I find so soothing. When I’m in London, especially in the hot and sticky summer months, I yearn for it so much. You can keep your day trips to Brighton or Margate, in my opinion the North East has the best beaches in the country. I know what you’re going to say: “the weather is rubbish!”…Or, “What? Newcastle has beaches?” (It’s strictly North Tyneside, but close enough) So for those of you outside of the area I thought I would dispel the myths and give you a rundown of MY favourite beaches of North Tyneside and Northumberland.
If you’re ever visiting Newcastle (and you really should) the easiest beach to get to from the city is Tynemouth, just jump on the Metro towards the coast and you’ll be there in a little over 20 minutes. This cute little seaside town has so much to offer and walking down Front Street you’re spoilt for choice with a multitude of seafood restaurants, pubs, bars and boutiques. Tynemouth isn’t your ordinary British seaside town full of pensioners eating fish & chips in the rain, no, no! This is a popular surf town, young, cool and energetic. And in true Geordie style the town gets pretty lively on weekends and bank holidays, with revellers enjoying some sea air and a dance in one of Tynemouth’s’ live music venues and pubs. A trip to Tynemouth wouldn’t be complete without the best fish and chips money can buy at Marshall’s, or the seafood platter at Longsands Fish Kitchen. But what about the BEACH??! Well Tynemouth has two gloriously golden sandy beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters.
King Edwards Bay
King Edwards Bay is the smaller of the two and the closest to the bars and restaurants of the village centre. This beach is great for swimming as the sea here is very calm, or you could sit eating the freshest local seafood, drinking a pint of local craft beer in Riley’s Fish Shack, while taking awesome Instagrams of the castle and priory on the headland.
The main beach in Tynemouth is Longsands, a mile long stretch of powdery sand and rock pools, which sweeps all the way round to Cullercoats at it’s north end. Longsands beach has become nationally renowned as a surfing mecca, having hosted a number of national competitions. The surf school at Longsands runs daily surfing lessons if you fancy learning how to catch a few waves and has equipment to hire if you already know how, and with lifeguards operating on the beach during the summer months you can surf, swim, paddle board or windsurf with peace of mind.
Bustling seaside towns not your thing? No problem, the Northumbrian coast has miles and miles of totally unspoilt sandy beaches too, my faves are Newton by the Sea and Drudge Bay, both reachable by bus, but much easier if you hire a car.
I have a bit of a soft spot for Druridge Bay as I used to live within spitting distance of this beach. I often camped with my mates in the dunes, had BBQs that lasted all night long and rarely would we spot another person. It’s only 20 ish miles north of Newcastle and pretty much unspoiled, as you would imagine there’s not many facilities on or near the beach HOWEVER, there is an awesome ice cream shop near the southern end that make all of their ice creams on site. Bring a BBQ, a guitar and enjoy skinning dipping in the bracing North Sea with (almost) no one around!
Newton by the sea
A little further north of Druridge Bay is Newton-by–the-sea, a cute little fishing village with a view of the medieval Dunstanburgh Castle. You pretty much fall over castles in Northumberland there’s so many of them, but Dunstanburgh Castle is particularly magnificent sight. Yet what everyone goes to Newton for is the local crab sandwiches and craft ale at The Ship Inn pub & microbrewery. I had the crab salad stotty (Geordie bread roll) and half an Indian Summer – a fruity pale ale, when I visited. I even had a little peek in the brewing room this time and the Brew master very kindly showed me around.
There are obviously loads more amazing beaches along this coastline, but these are just a few of my absolute faves. So if you’re ever in the area, go check them out.