The north east of England has some beautiful coastline, with miles of long sandy beaches backed by dunes. In winter they can be very wild and bleak, but the summer months sees long days and often brilliant sunshine. Surprisingly there are even beaches on the outskirts of Newcastle, easily accessable on the metro.
Tynemouth and Whitley Bay
LongSands beach, Tynemouth.
Accessable by the Metro (Tynemouth). The beach is just a few hundred meters to the North of Tynemouth Priory at the mouth of the Tyne. It's a long sandy and very popular beach and you can get quite good waves here. The water quality is good and during the summer there are lifeguards on duty. Behind the beach are plenty of cafe's and the Blue Reef aquarium. This is probably the best best beach on the north side of the Tyne and alot of people prefer the beach to Whitley Bay. Whitley bay has a great number of bars and nightclubs, and the place gets very lively at weekends.
Just to the north of Whitley bay is St Mary's Island; the island is connected to the mainland by a short causeway. Link to St Mary's lighthouse
Sandhaven and Marsden, South Shields.
On the other side of the Tyne, South Shields also offers a couple of beaches. Sandhaven in South Shields is a sandy beach with dunes backed by cliffs and is very popular with families. It's just passed south pier and a short walk from South Shields metro and ferry terminal (and the Roman fort of Arbeia).
Walk and bit further along the coast and you get to Marsden. Marsden is a sandy bay sheltered by limestone cliffs and overlooked by the 139ft high Marsden rock which is renowned for it's seabird colonies. At the end is Souter Lighthouse. Souter lighthouse is owned by the National Trust and is open from April to the end of October daily (except Friday). Admission is Adult: £5.50, Children: £3.50.
Beaches North of Newcastle
The Northumberland coast has a number of beautiful and often almost deserted beaches. Most of the beaches don't have any lifeguards on duty and often have very few facilities. Here a small selection of some of them.
A quiet, long sandy beach overlooked by the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. The castle's best feature is its dramatic location on a crag above the sea; it's been badly damaged over the years, it's best feature now is the remains of it's massive gatehouse.
At the North end of the beach is the pretty little hamlet of Low Newton-by-the-Sea, with the Ship Inn overlooking the sea. The Joiners Arms at nearby High Newton-by-the-Sea also does very good food.
A lovely four mile circular walk goes from Craster (a small fishing village) to Embleton Bay, which goes past Dunstanburgh castle. Trail leaflets can be picked up from the tourist information centre at Craster.
Car Parks are available at Newton by the Sea as well as Craister (which is 2 miles to the South of Embleton).
A very long and wide curving whilte sandy beach backed by sand dunes. Druridge bay is almost five miles long, so although it's very popular in summer it's always possible to find a stretch for yourself. Druridge Bay Country Park, the largest country park in Northumberland.
Dominated by the massive bulk of Bamburgh castle, the sandy beaches have great views towards the Farne Islands and Holy Islands. The village of Bamburgh has a good selection of tea shops and pubs and a couple of shops.
The Farne Islands
These are home to thousands of nesting seabirds. These birds include Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Sandwich Terns, Common Terns, Roseate Terns, Arctic Terns, Shags, Cormorants and Eider Ducks. If you do visit, it's well worth wearing a hat to protect yourself from the swooping gulls that are protecting their nests. The islands can be reached by ferry from Seahouses, the islands are owned by the National Trust, who charge an admission fee.