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Wide sandy Tynemouth beach with gentle waves along the shore.

A beautiful coastal walk in North Tyneside

This walk covering the coast of North Tyneside in North-East England will stretch your legs and give you a bit of everything - grassy parkland, historic monuments, places to stop and refuel and of course, stunning beaches and views. I’ve travelled it a couple of times - once on a rather grey and misty October’s day, and another on a beautifully sunny February day.

It’s incredible to think what a difference 3 hours on the train from London (plus a short metro or car trip!) can make. That hit of the salty sea air as it fills your lungs - I can just feel that moment my body goes into RELAX mode.

The changing North-East light

Silhouette of the Priory seen from Tynemouth Beach on a grey, damp day.

Tynemouth on a damp and grey October’s day

The Priory from Tynemouth Beach on a sunny day.

Tynemouth on a sunny day in February

Our visits had diverse days in terms of weather. The difference the light makes at various times of day and in different seasons is breathtaking - just see the contrasts in the photos! October was pretty mild but the Easterly winds brought sea mists, covering the landscape with a grey haze. When the sun did breakthrough late afternoon, the light and glow it cast was stunning. February was a gorgeous, partly sunny day, a bit chilly and with the coastal winds, we definitely needed our hats and layers!

It is clear to see how this part of the coast has provided so much inspiration for artists. From the glow of St Mary's lighthouse or the striking silhouette of Tynemouth Priory, everywhere I looked, I could see a view that would make a perfect coastal art piece. Something I’m hoping to explore in my work is capturing the sometimes silvery, sometimes golden light, especially when it hits the top of the waves.

Wide sandy beach in Whitley Bay as the sun sets.

The sun going down over Whitley Bay

Where to start the coastal walk

On one version of the walk, we began at North Shields, walking down to Fish Quay and then following the coastal path to Cullercoats. With the other, we parked near the Collingwood Monument in Tynemouth and walked to Whitley Bay and back - about a 7-mile round trip. Our tired legs didn't quite make it as far as St Mary's lighthouse (next time!). However much you walk, every minute along the coast is fully worth it for the fresh air, exquisite sandy beaches and stunning scenery that it brings.

North Shields

Beach at North Shields England with blue skies and green hillside with coastal path and apartment blocks.

If you start from here, make sure to see the Fiddler’s Green memorial to local fishermen lost at sea, a moving sculpture by artist Ray Lonsdale.


Tynemouth Priory in England on sunny day

As you head along the coastal path, you’ll come across The Collingwood Monument in Tynemouth, a great big statue towering on the hill. Admiral Lord Collingwood was the son of a Newcastle merchant; becoming famous as Nelson's second-in-command at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nearby is Tynemouth Priory and Castle, the ruins of a fortress with a history dating back around 2000 years. The coastal path takes you past King Edward's Bay, along Sea Banks to Tynemouth Beach with its fine sand and beautiful views. It’s a huge expanse of beach, making for an incredibly enjoyable walk.


Cullercoats Bay Northumberland with hazy blue skies. Photo by South Island Art.

Cullercoats Bay is next along, and its history as an artists colony is easy to understand - captivating landscapes whichever way you look. There are plenty of places to stop and grab a coffee or a bite to eat around Cullercoats - and if the promenade looks busy, head down a side road and you’ll find plenty more.

Whitley Bay

Spanish City, Whitley Bay at dusk.

At this point on one walk, the tide was starting to come in by the time we approached Whitley Bay. There's a big broad promenade you can walk along, so we headed on up. Between our visits, the seafront of Whitley Bay was regenerated and the iconic dome of Spanish City looks fantastic. In October, rough seas at high tide brought in huge waves that slammed against the sea walls. Enormous sprays of water crashed up and over the promenades - you could hear and see the force of the water.

Waves-crashing-over-promenade-at-Whitley-Bay. Photo by South Island Art

On both walks, we opted to walk back along the coast rather than hop on a bus, wanting to enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh air. Highly recommend a visit to these places if you’re in the area!

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