20 Things to do in Whitley Bay (more than just the beach!)
I have recently discovered all the great things to do in Whitley Bay. Why? My sister and mum have just moved here, and I’ve paid my first visit from Bangkok, where I live. I must say, it’s an absolutely beautiful place in the world. And the people are so friendly. It’s right on the beach, but it also offers gorgeous Victorian architecture, ancient culture, and great nightlife. That and it’s super easy to get to, less than an hour from Newcastle. I’ll be spending more and more time here in the future, so I hope my Whitley Bay itinerary helps you guys when you’re in town. So let’s check the best 20 things to do in Whitley Bay:
Whitley Bay Beach
With a beautiful promenade and soft sand, Whitley beach is a hugely popular spot on the East coast of England. The blue flag beach, over 2km in length, it’s a throwback to holidays of old. With fish and chip shops, ice-cream vendors and happy, smiling families. And don’t worry, it’s a gorgeous place to go for a walk if you can’t face the chilly water!
St Mary’s Lighthouse and visitor’s centre
You can’t miss it. Right out from Whitley Bay’s main beach is the gorgeous St Mary’s Lighthouse. When the tide is low you can take an atmospheric walk out to the Victorian lighthouse. Just make sure you time it right because once the tide comes in, you’re stuck! The lighthouse dates back to 1898, but it hasn’t been active since 1984, serving now as a simple visitor centre. Don’t miss out on the climb to the top, all 137 steps of it. Great views await.
Ticket price: £3.50 Adults, £1.80 Kids
Opening times: Depends on the tide! Call 0191 643 4777.
Tynemouth Castle and Prior
A gorgeous moated castle, towers, and gatehouses where the former Kings of Northumbria were buried. It sits on the coast, overlooking Tynemouth Pier.
- £4.00 for adults, £2.00 for children
Di Meo’s Icecream
This is one for people ‘in the know’ in Whitley Bay. Just a 5 minute walk from Whitley Bay beach is an ice-cream shop called Di Meo’s. World-class ice-cream and even better owners! He let me in even when he was closed because I had promised my nephew and niece an ice-cream, now that’s service. There’s often a queue, even in the winter. The locals know the best place in town. I recommend the Biscoff flavour.
Stephenson Railway Museum
A museum dedicated to steam railways, great for kids or anyone interested in trains (and it’s free!). It’ just 10 minutes from Whitley Bay town centre, and includes an array of old locomotives. The cornerstone of the museum is Billy, the 1816 steam train. On Sunday’s, they even run one of the old steam trains!
- Free Admission
A beautiful new development right on Whitley bay waterfront. Originally built back in 1910, the Renaissance-style building has been revamped and reopened just in 2018! Now there’s tea rooms, tourist trinkets, great coffee, a champagne bar and a delicious wafflehouse!
Seaton Delaval Hall
A historic Georgian-society country house. It now plays host to various shows and plays. The Hall plays a hugely significant role in the aristocratic lifestyle of those just a few generations ago. It’s just 10 minutes outside Whitley Bay town centre.
£8 for adults, £4 for kids
Longsands Beach (or Tynemouth beach) actually belongs to next-door neighbours, Tynemouth. But it’s so close, it doesn’t really matter. Just 10 minutes away. It’s the best beach in the region, and is another Blue Flag award-winning beach. It’s also home to the famous Christmas day dip (which we partook in!)
A family-friendly park in Tynemouth. Home to soft play, dining, a boating lake and mini-golf. If you have kids, stick this on your itinerary!
Prices vary. 18 holes of minigolf, £5 for adults, £3 for kids. Boating is £5 per boat. All very affordable.
Whitley Bay Playhouse
The refurbished playhouse is bang in the centre of town. Music, concerts, and family shows. It’s a great evening out.
Cullercoats and Cullercoats Beach
The place where my mum is buying a house! Cullercoats village is a 20-minute walk from Whitley Bay. It sits between beautiful Tynemouth and Whitley bay itself. It has a lovely harbour, bay and beach. And a few cute pubs and restaurants along the waterfront. Oh, and the coffee is great there too!
Whiley Bay Watersports
Not really a ‘place’ to visit. But more of a list of activities to do. There is a whole range of watersports to do in the area, including next door Cullercoats and Tynemouth. Surfing and Stand-up Paddle Boarding are the 2 current popular ones. Give them a shot (only in the summer, it’s freezing otherwise!)
A weekend market right in Tynemouth Train Station. Expect vintage stuff, arts & crafts, bric-a-brac and some delicious Northern English food. 150 stalls, rain or shine!
EVERY SATURDAY & SUNDAY 9am – 3:30pm
You’re right on the border to Scotland, the home of golf. So you should expect some great courses up here. And Whitley Bay offers just that. Literally, less than 10 minutes outside of Whitley Bay is Whitley Bay Golf club. And they’re so welcoming of people to come and play for the day.
Green fees are £50 in the summer, £30 in the winter.
A sister to the famous ‘Angel of the North’, the ‘Lady of the North’ also goes by the name of Northumberlandia. It’s free, and normally takes about 20 minutes or so to walk around the guided paths.
Open from dawn til dusk each day
Arbeia South Shields Roman Fort
A Roman Fort 20 minutes from Whitley Bay, located in South Shields. it was previously ruined but has been partially reconstructed. Now a UNESCO world heritage site, the Fort was home to 600 Roman troops and was the birthplace of King Oswin, a former Northumbrian King.
If you’re a shopper, then this is one for you. The biggest shopping mall in all of the North fo England, and formally the largest in the country. It still is Europe’s largest indoor mall with over 270 stores. Wowzer. To get there you can take the metro from Whitley Bay for about an hour right to the mall. Easy.
Kielder Water & Forest Park Day Trip
My sister just went yesterday with the kids It’s about an hour from Whitley Bay so requires a car to get there. It’s a super outdoor space with mountain biking, abseiling, canoeing, hiking etc. Home to the biggest man-made lake in Europe and the largest working forest in England. Art, architecture, wildlife, camping, and adventure sports. Day trips or multi-day trips are options.
Day trip to Hadrian’s Wall
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and England’s most famous wall (it’s not quite the Great Wall of China, but it’s still pretty cool!). It is a former defensive structure dating back to AD122 under the reign of the Roman Emporer Hadrian. It stretches from the Irish sea, all the way over to the North Sea. Over 70+ (110+km) still stands today. You can manage it as a day-trip from Whitley Bay if you have a car. About an hour drive.
Day Trip to Newcastle
One final activity within Whitley Bay is to spend the day in nearby Newcastle Upon Tyne. The metro can you take you there in less than an hour. Once in Newcastle, you have countless things to do. The highlights include watching Premier League football team Newcastle play at the impressive St James Park. The Geordies are footy-MAD! Also, taking a walk along the River Tyne and across Tyne Bridge or High-Level Bridge, and the iconic Gateshead Millennium Bridge. The Cathedral, the central arcade, and the Angel of the North are other highlights.
Where is Whitley Bay?
Near the Scottish border, Whitley Bay is a gorgeous seaside town in the North East of English. It’s just 10 miles (15km or so) from both Newcastle Upon Tyne city, and Newcastle (NCL) airport.
How Do you Get to Whitley Bay?
Normally the first step is to get to Newcastle (Upon Tyne). It has a long-distance bus station, a great wide-ranging train station (just 3-4 hours to London) and a great airport just outside the city (NCL airport). The airport has cheap flights all within the UK for about 40GBP (Ryanair, Easy Jet etc), and flights further afield throughout Europe for less than 100GBP. You can even fly internationally to NCL with Emirates!
From Newcastle to Whitley Bay
Once in Newcastle, as you can see from the google map above, you’re just 15km from Whitley Bay. You can take the yellow Metro (29 minutes, 15 stops), right into Whitley Bay town centre from Newcastle central station.
From Newcastle Airport to Whitley Bay
From Newcastle Airport, take the green metro to South Gosforth, and then switch on to te Yellow Metro (Same as above) to Whitley Bay. It takes about an hour.
When’s the best time to visit Whitley Bay?
It’s a seaside town. And it’s in England. So if you want to make the most of the beaches, then the British summer is the best time to come. Peak months are June, July and August. But if you’re lucky from March to September can nice. And it’s lovely all year round, but you may not want to go for a dip in the winter when it reaches 0 degrees!
The Perfect Whitley Bay Itinerary (3 days):
Day 1: Whitley Bay itself
In the morning get yourself down to Spanish City. The waffle house for breakfast is a great choice! Go for a walk on the promenade, and if you have your swimmers take a dip in Whitley bay beach.
Don’t forget your ice-cream from Di Meos, then in the afternoon, tide-permitting, climb St Mary’s lighthouse and to finish the afternoon, drive to the Railway Museum.
Day 2: Tynemouth & Cullercoats
A morning swim and breakfast in the fishing village of nearby Cullercoats. You can walk from Whitley Bay, so no need for transport.
A further walk then on to Tynemouth. You can’t miss Tynemouth Castle. So for and learn about the history there and you’ll be in Tynemouth town centre for lunch.
After lunch, waltz over to the train station and spend your savings in Tynemouth Market (weekends only). Finish the afternoon with some culture at Seaton Delaval Hall.
Diner, back to Whitley Bay in time for a show at the Playhouse (book your tickets online in advance).
Day 3: Hadrian’s Wall Day Trip
It depends on your interests, but for cultural significance, a day-trip to Hadrian’s wall would be the best choice. If it’s shopping, or football, that you’re chasing then spend the day in Newcastle, and the Metro Centre.
Final thoughts on things to do in Whitley Bay
I’m so happy my sister and mum have moved here! This was my first ever visit, but I’ll be back a couple of times yearly now. The people are super friendly, it almost has an Irish-vibe about it! The beach is beautiful, the bars and restaurants are fun (and great value). And it’s next door to Newcastle, a buzzing city with an international airport. There are so many things to do in Whitley bay, I’ll never be bored here!
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