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What To Do When You Visit Whitley Bay, Newcastle's Playground

Jan 24, 2008
Facing the bracing North Sea, Whitley Bay has a long stretch of golden sand and used to host a permanent fairground, The Spanish City, although nowadays the fair only returns on Bank Holiday weekends.

Around 9 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne, Whitley Bay is often used as an out of town destination by natives of that city as it is less than half an hour away on the Metro service.

There are a wide variety of shops, including the recently opened Park View Shopping Centre. Locally there is a good range of independent shops, which makes a refreshing change from the homogenous shop fronts often experienced in Britain's high streets. Women's fashion is especially well catered for.

On Bank Holiday weekends, as well as at other times of the year, Whitley Bay is host to many stag and hen parties, who frequent the town's numerous pubs and bars and bring a sense of youthful liveliness to the town. Which means that depending on your mood, you will either want to head for South Parade or avoid it altogether!

Eating out is well catered for and you can choose from a wide variety of cuisines, from Indian and Chinese through to Mexican, Thai or good old-fashioned fish and chips.

Sports fans can take in a game played by Whitley Bay F.C. at the Hillheads Stadium. That said, most locals are more likely to support the successful Newcastle United.

The successful Whitley Warriors play their ice hockey games at the Ice Rink. The games are good quality - they were recently crowned Northern League Champions.

Rockcliff RFC offer rugby supporters a chance to see this sport at their grounds in Lovaine Avenue.

If you want to take in a play when you visit the town, check out the Playhouse which is undergoing refurbishment to bring it back to playing a full part in the local culture. In season, what better to do than relive lost youth and watch the annual Pantomime!

Close by is St Mary's lighthouse. You can reach this across a causeway when the tide is in your favour. The lighthouse is over 100 years old and was fully operational until 1984. This does mean that the more energetic amongst us can climb up 137 steps to the top of the lighthouse and, on a clear day, experience some spectacular views of the UK's north east coast line. Check their website before visiting as the opening times depend on tide times.

The North Sea often offers good surfing conditions and you can hire boards, wet suits and other gear locally at Tynemouth Surf Company, which claims to be one of the leading surfing centres in the north east. Or if you want to learn how to surf, they also offer lessons tailored to all ages and agilities.

Golfers are catered for with a championship standard 18 hole course, located in Claremont Road. Although it isn't strictly a "links" golf course, there are regular views of the sea and you can also see St Mary's Lighthouse from the course. The Brier Dene river provides a number of challenges as you negotiate the course.
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