Whitley Bay, have you heard of it? You may or may have not. Well, let me tell you Whitley Bay is my home town and a place close to my heart. This coastal destination is in Newcastle Upon Tyne, in the North East of England. If you ask natives to Newcastle, they may provide somewhat mixed responses to the destination. Some may say it’s a ghost town former holiday hotspot, whereas others may say it’s an upcoming destination while I for sure agree with the latter.
A former Tourist Hotspot…
Whitley Bay used to be a tourist hotspot where British nationals would flock to for weekends or summer holidays—spending time with loved ones in the caravan park, sunbathing by the shore, on the rides or at the amusements at Spanish City. Don’t forget South Parade, where stag do’s (bachelor parties), and hen do’s (bachelorette parties) would bar and club hop till the early hours. Some people may reflect and say Whitley Bay was a haven for holiday goers in the 90’s early 2000’s and since has become a desolate, run-down drug den. Arguably, maybe that was somewhat true, but its 2020 and times are changing.
Luckily, I was born in the middle of the nineties and grew up around the 2000s. So I could see the change in movement and the impact of the 2008 recession on the coastal town. However, in the past five years, Whitley Bay has also been changing for the better. While you can still participate in the traditional tourist activities, there are many new microbreweries, modernised theatres, restaurants, eateries, swimming pools and many more. Regularly, new business are getting established, full of dedicated and passionate entrepreneurs.
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Two other happening areas are in the next bays along in Cullercoats and Tynemouth. A lot of investment and revival has been brought to these quaint coastal towns. Likewise, on a good sunny day, it’s become a booming hotspot, which makes me a little biased to why there are many things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth.
So what are 29 things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth? Here is my list of activities in no particular order.
Things to see and do in Whitley Bay Cullercoats and Tynemouth
1. Enjoy a local food at Riley’s Fish Shack.
The first of the 29 things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth is Riley’s. You cannot visit Tynemouth or Newcastle for that matter without paying a visit to Riley’s Fish Shack. A sustainable shack consisting of two shipping containers serving many types of seafood, coffee and alcohol.
It’s open every day from early morning to late evening and is right on the beach of King Edwards Bay. I’ve visited many times and love to eat their plaice, prawns, lobster and many more local seafood treats. What’s excellent about Riley’s is the staff are friendly, the menu is seasonal (changes all the time), and it’s one of the most homely yet cosy places by the beach. Did I mention it’s won many awards and lots of famous chefs rate it too?
2.Practice Athletics at Churchill Playing Fields
Now, I love to run! I grew up in an area where all local schools took everyone, too Churchill Playing Fields. This is an area ran by the local council; it has fields, a play park and an athletics track! The track had a sandpit for long jump and many more. I love going there in the early morning hours and utilising the running track, running many laps getting my training in! There is also a local athletics club which you can join.
3. Catch a play at the Playhouse
Right next to the beach, a 630 seated auditorium providing fantastic entertainment. What more could you want? I used to love visiting Whitley Bay Playhouse, growing up watching films and plays. Don’t worry; it’s not an old building; this playhouse has been refurbished. Now many famous comedians, dancers and actors grace this stage. There’s often a lot of last-minute tickets if you’re lucky. Swing by and see what’s on.
4. Drink a Cup of Joe at Cullercoats Coffee
This coffee shop is a local favourite and rightly so. Cullercoats coffee is a welcoming, friendly and comfortable coffee shop to hang out inside of. When I say hang out, they offer a selection of books to use while in there, board games and quirky furniture. Speak to Matt, the owner if he’s in when you visit, who will give you an education on what coffee to pick. What’s fantastic about this gaff is that the coffee shop does not provide a snobbish coffee shop culture, which is as local and chilled as it can get!
5.Climb the stairs at St Mary’s Lighthouse
St Mary’s Whitley Bay Lighthouse has 137 steps. Unfortunately, there are no lifts, so it’s only those who can use their legs. There’s a small fee charged by the lighthouse. However, it’s fun and once done the view at the top is rewarding! See if you can spot a seal on a rock pool! The journey too and from is back also, as you get to walk along a concrete causeway. Be careful though and know your tidal times, so you don’t get stranded or struck by the tide mid causeway!
6.Get lost in Razzberry Bazaar
No 5 of 29 things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth. is located on Tynemouth Front Street. An eccentric boutique type shop called Razzberry Bazaar which has existed since 1985. Linda Rana, the owner, has a quirky taste and personality, which clearly shows in her shop. Not to mention she was a textile graduate and an artist! On the outside, it looks like a giant resident townhouse, but on the inside, there’s a range of home furniture, jewellery and clothing. In fact, I dare you to visit and count how many niche items you see! I can guarantee you, once you visit you’ll see precisely how Linda has an eye for design!
7. Enjoy one of the U.K’s best ice creams at Di Meo’s
Di Meo’s is an Italian Ice cream parlour, which has won consecutive awards for being the best ice cream in the country! Be prepared if you’re visiting in the summer season as there can be quite a queue outside this hotspot. Di Meo’s serve many types of icecreams, but my all-time favourite and go-to is their vanilla ice cream. Its homemade and thick ice cream, is different to what you’ve had anywhere else I can assure you. Don’t like ice cream? They also serve traditional Italian dishes such as pizza, pasta and great coffee. You cannot miss Di Meo’s if you’re in the Whitley Bay area…
8.Roam the Castle Ruins of Tynemouth Priory
What comes to your mind when you think of England? Perhaps castles? Tynemouth Priory is an iconic castle overlooking Tynemouth pier and King Edwards Bay. This is an English Heritage site and was built around the 13th-14th century. It was also a former burial place of three kings of Northumberland. Today, you can still visit the castle, have a picnic there or visit one of the many festivals held there, such as the Mouth of the Tyne and Tynemouth Food Festival.
9.Play on the 1p machines at the Amusements
An English coastal town wouldn’t be complete without an amusement or arcade. At the heart of Whitley Bay, there are amusements and arcades. You can play 1,2 or 5p slot machines and collect cash. Maybe play the grabbers or win a prize. If you’re over 18 play on the fruit machines and see the slots rolling in front of you. Whatever you do, it’s a great place to bond as a family over classic yet retro arcade games.
10.Demolish an award-winning kebab at Elder and Wolf
Elder and Wolf is a local gem to Whitley Bay; it serves one of the best kebabs EVER. It has also won an award for the best Newcomer restaurant in the U.K! They have a woodburning oven where they do gorgeous wood-fired pizzas, tacos and kebabs. Not to mention their halloumi fries! Devour amazing dishes while sitting in an eccentric restaurant. Locals from all over Newcastle come to visit this place.
11. Savour a range of craft ales at the Left Luggage Room
Have you left some luggage at the train station? No, yes, not sure? One place that has a lot of rustic belongings and items is the Left Luggage Room. No, this is not a storage place; it’s a unique micropub located inside of Monkseaton Metro station. Its rustic charm has been filled by furniture from the owner’s garage and has a weekly buskers night adding to the vibe. If you don’t like craft beer, they have a variety of wines, whiskeys and gins available.
12. Glide on at Whitley Bay Ice Rink
Arguably across many generations, Whitley Bay Ice Rink has become an iconic venue for the locals. Since it’s opening in 1955 famous bands such as Oasis, The Cure, The Stone Roses, Take That and much more have performed in the building. Likewise having boxers and hockey players perform in that building.
It has been renovated over the years and an excellent place for figure skaters to get their practice in. However, you don’t have to be a figure skater to enjoy the ice. You can pay the entry fee and rent some skates for an hour or two. Then glide around to music in the ice rink. It’s a thrilling, fun and energetic experience. One of my favourite things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth.
13. Have a Seafood dish at Longsands Fish Kitchen
A typical dish associated with England is Fish and Chips. Scattered all across the U.K are the famous battered fish and chunky ships served at a ‘chippy’. The truth be told, there are many types in the North East. This can cause somewhat of an argument on which is the best and most authentic.
Longsands Fish Kitchen is different as it serves fish and chips, in an artistic sense. The front operates as a standard chippy, and the back is a restaurant with unique seafood dishes. They cater to coeliac, gluten, free and vegetarians; providing quite a few options.
14.Brunch at the Boatyard
Located on Cullercoats seafront is The Boatyard an independent restaurant and coffee house, The Boatyard. They cater to meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans. The Boatyard serves local food sourced from local vendors like Gareth James Chocolatier and Zen Bakery. Basically, it’s a foodies paradise, and their chefs know how to make a TOP brunch.
15. See Monkeys and seals at the Tynemouth Aquarium
Monkeys at an aquarium….what? That’s right, at the Tynemouth Aquarium they have Cotton Top Tamarains. These are a species of endangered monkeys which the aquarium cares for. They also have many sea animals and an outdoor seal centre. Where they do shows, you can watch them being fed and interact with them. The aquarium also give talks on other animals and education sessions too!
16.Browse the stalls at Tynemouth Market
Hosted over a weekend in a Victorian train station, a market is held across both platforms. It runs from 9:00 am-3:30 pm with over 150 stalls. I love visiting, munching on cakes, ice cream, purchasing old records and vintage clothing. I got a bargain there once with a coat for £3! It’s not a market to miss.
17. Have a burger at Lola Jeans
If you’re visiting Tynemouth, you have to visit Lola Jeans! There are two in Newcastle, but it was born in Tynemouth. Just off the front street, behind Barca. They’ve won awards for their food, but the most favourite dish of mine is their Lola Jeans Burger. Burgers there have won awards for five years, in a Burger Battle amongst other North East Vendors. The meat just melts in your mouth and is on another level. If you want to visit, do give them a call and reserve a table in advance as it’s quite a popular hotspot with the locals.
18.Travel to Vietnam in Omni Cafe
This cafe is so close to my family home, located on Monkseaton Front Street! It’s a Vietnamese inspired small cafe. Omni Cafe do great breakfasts and dinners with their twist on South Asian cuisine. It’s reasonably priced and great to share over the fantastic company. I’d say get there for opening time or make a reservation. Omni is extremely popular with the locals.
19.Catch some waves with Tynemouth Surf Co
Longsands beach is a popular hit for surfers from afar travelling to catch gnarly waves on the coast of Tynemouth. Back in 2017, it was voted the best surf school in the whole of the U.K!have accredited and talented instructors leading the sessions. The instructors are friendly, welcoming and know their stuff.
20.Kayak or Paddleboard on the North Sea
Not the surfing type? Cullercoats Bike and Kayak conduct lessons on the North Sea. They cater for all kinds, provide lessons and rentals. Depending on your lesson, explore different parts and enjoy the waters.
21.Afternoon Tea at the Grand Hotel
To all locals, The charming Grand Hotel holds a lot of significance and a special place in their hearts. For me, it was my christening part where my parents held the post-church celebration. The Grand Hotel was built during the 18th century and used to be a former residence for a Royal Duchess before it was converted into a hotel. Today, it’s been renovated and is still as charming as ever. One popular activity many come to experience is it’s delicious afternoon tea while overlooking the coast.
22.Nibble on Vegan treats at Pulp Fiction Future Food
This place is a dog friendly, plant-based cafe and a coffee bar. They make a mixture of creative dishes and hold workshops on health! Similarly, they really care about the food they serve; they try to avoid processed food to a minimum! Pulp Fiction Future Food does not ignore other dietary types; all their food is gluten and dairy-free!
23.Allow delicious chocolate to melt on your tongue at Gareth James Chocolatiers
Gareth James Chocolatier makes scrumptious chocolate in their studio upstairs. They sell delicious artisan chocolate and also serve it in their cafe. Just on the corner of Tynemouth Front Street, I’d recommend trying some fine chocolate nicely paired with a cup of tea or coffee.
24.Play crazy golf with dinosaurs at Lost World Adventure Golf
On the seafront inside of Tynemouth Park, Lost world Adventure Golf exists. You can choose to play 9 or 18 holes. It’s a fantastic activity for families, couples and friends. Be careful of where you wander on the course you may have a T-Rex spitting out water at you through its mouth!
25.Observe Art at The Links Art Gallery
Right on the promenade of Whitley Bay, The Links Art Gallery is somewhat more of a new art gallery. They hold workshops, exhibitions, have a shop and a cafe. Take a stroll down to the seafront and enjoy a nice cuppa while looking or maybe purchasing gorgeous art.
26.Catch a gig at Tynemouth Surf Cafe
Tynemouth Surf Cafe is by far, one of my favourite venues in the whole of The North East. Just on the seafront, overlooking Tynemouth Longsands is the might Surf Cafe. Here is a dog-friendly cafe which serves food, coffees, alcohol and has great buskers nights. Not just that, they hold gigs, and they are rammed full with such a lively and energetic atmosphere. It’s definitely a home away from home.
27.Get Lost in Marvellous Mezze at Papa Ganoush
Another favourite place on one of my things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth. Located in Park View Whitley Bay, is the wonderful restaurant PapaGanoush. This is no ordinary restaurant; it’s a father and son venture. Their cosy interior matched with their delicious Middle Eastern inspired dishes, really add that extra touch. Papa Ganoush has won awards for its falafel, been featured in Vogue, Fenwicks and BBC’s Good Food.
28.Secure a Vintage Gem at Common Ilke
One of the most trendy and new stores on the coast. Common Ilke Vintage is right in the heart of Tynemouth Station. Its owner has a passion for vintage and heritage clothing and has over 20 years of experience working in menswear. Buying and sourcing roles. The clothes sold at Common Ilke are high quality and stand the test of time.
29.Be transported to an Asian destination at Pan Asian Delicatessen & Gourmet Store
The last of the 29 things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth is located on Tynemouth front street. One of my favourite places Pan Asian Delicatessen. A store where you can get all your local Asian goodies as it serves as a mini supermarket. Not just that, there’s gorgeous homemade currys. The owner Anjana Doshi has travelled a fair amount and not only serves you delicious dishes but also provides you with an education about the dishes origin. It definitely teases all of your senses.
There you have it, 29 things to see and do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth. If you have any other suggestions on things to See and Do in Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth comment below.