Things To Do For Free in Whitley Bay

Photo by Ray Bilcliff on

Whitley Bay, north east of Newcastle upon Tyne, is one of my favourite places for a staycation. This modest seaside town has been revitalised in recent years by the renovation of one of its iconic landmarks the Spanish City. At the other end of the beach is St Mary’s Lighthouse, bookending this lovely resort. There are lots of things to do around the town, which don’t cost a lot and get everyone out in the fresh air. Here’s my #staycationinspiration …..

A day at the beach

Whitley Bay has a gorgeous expanse of sand and offers a perfect bucket and spade kind of day. The promenade stretches from the lighthouse to the Spanish City, which has recently had a facelift, and is a popular spot for brunch or afternoon tea. There are also two popular cafes about half way along the mile long walk, The Rendezvous and The Links.

Rock Pooling

Kids young and old will delight in rock pooling around St Mary’s Lighthouse at low tide. On sunny days families swarm over the shoreline searching for treasures including crabs, sea anemones and a trove of shells.

Fossil Hunting/ Geology

On the far side of the Lighthouse towards Old Hartley, the beach becomes rockier and the geology changes dramatically. In fact it changes every couple of metres. You can clearly see the different layers and different types of rock. At the base of the cliff you can find a seam of coal. You may even discover a fossil.

St. Mary’s Lighthouse

St. Mary’s Lighthouse sits on a tidal island, jutting into the North Sea. The island is cut off by sea during high tide, so please plan your trip with that in mind.

The island itself is a nature reserve and a great spot for nature lovers, from sea birds to seals, so grab yourself a pair of binoculars and take a look for yourself. Seals bask on the rocks on the far side of the island. Please be careful and don’t disturb the seals, stick to the walkways and enjoy the wildlife from a distance.

The lighthouse was completed in 1898 and helped keep seafarers safe until it ceased operations in 1984. It is now a visitors centre and when it is open, for a small fee, you can climb the 137 steps to the top to enjoy views of the coast or just browse the exhibits which explain the history of the structure. Check the website for opening times.

The Waggonway

The Waggonway is a pleasant walk or cycle, car-free, route inland from the coast, with various trails along disused railway tracks.

Here are two suggested routes :

The-Waggonway-Cycle-Path-Route-Map.pdf (

Walk 1 – Wagonway | National Trust

We normally walk along Holywell Dene, a lovely nature reserve, and then join the Waggonway. Last time we went in June, we saw so much wildlife from tadpoles to butterflies and wildflowers galore.

My final tip for the early risers is a walk to the sea front to enjoy the sun rise.

Happy holidays and happy staycations ! Tweet me and tell me what is your #staycationinspiration ? 

NOTE : All photos on this post were taken by me. Follow me on instagram for more #staycationinspiration

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