Tynemouth’s seaside neighbour is a laid-back town known for its seamless merging of old and new – historic and rugged round the edges and dripping in modern luxury in others. A place home to boutique shopping, big posh pads, easy-breezy strolls and a growing foodie scene.
Hot property here is snapped up quicker than you can say fish and chips – but with many family homes around the town centre offering soothing sea views in spades, grand coastal character and those all-important original features, who’s surprised? The outskirts is where you’ll find the big guns; lust-after streets like Marine Avenue, Holywell Avenue and Queens Road boast the biggest, mansion-like abodes and are considered the wealthiest around these parts. Head to the seafront to view a handful white-washed power plots, decked out with Pinterest-perfect interiors, and tucked-away-terraces, or travel inland for plenty of detached boltholes, brimming with Georgian and Tudor character and enough space for large broods. In the market for a cosy cottage? Head for Earsdon Village – just two miles from Whitley’s town centre – where a lot of older locals retire to for some peace and quiet and pubs a-plenty.
The town is served by the good old Metro system – a lifesaver, despite its delays and glitches now and again, that allows leisurely shoppers and day-trippers to jump on and off from buzzy Newcastle all the way through to Sunderland and South Shields. A visit from the Toon will take you around 25 minutes on the tracks, while a trip from Sunderland lasts around an hour. Travelling from further afield? It’s an easy car ride from the south via the A19 – zip through the Tyne Tunnel and make your way down the Coast Road. Head for the A1 if you’re coming from North Yorkshire. A bus ride can get you to the village’s nearby besties, Tynemouth, Cullercoats and Monkseaton, too, in minutes.
Park View is the place to be for all your shopping needs. Home to the best-loved boutiques, some of the most popular foodie knock-outs and a few well-established, family businesses, you’re nearly always guaranteed to find a treat or two. If fashion is your passion, there’s a bunch of independent retailers here to check out, including Mitchell’s Menswear and Hamiedog Menswear for the gents, our picks for hipster finds, fab footwear and cool, surfer-inspired tees and shirts, and Escape Boutique for smart occasion-wear and stylish, lesser-known brands for the ladies. For art prints, chic postcards, cards and gifts, Elsee Crafts is a must-visit – her handmade creations perk up any coastal home. If you like your diamonds and arm candy, Clusters Bespoke Jewellery can help you pick out some sparkly things. For pampering, look no further than the always-cosy Sammy Anne’s Beauty & Holistic Therapies, ran by local beauty therapist and master masseur, Sammy Byrne, on Whitley Road, or Taizen Skin Therapy Centre on Claremont Road for a red-carpet facial. Splinters Hair Team will show your locks some love – they’ve been transforming tresses here for twenty-something years.
Whitley Bay’s food offering is tastier than ever these days. Packed with independent restaurants plating up flavours inspired by Italy, China and Spain, tasteful bars, cool, kitchen-style cafes, scrumptious bakeries and spots to grab a good-for-you bowl of something nutritious. Purchase your meat from C.Nicholson & Son – the town’s last remaining independent family butcher with over 100 years’ experience and a name so respected that locals are known to queue outside the door to get their hands on its marvellous, high-quality meats.
Sweet-toothed wanderers should stop by Lottie McPhees Cupcakes – a pretty parlour known for its dainty, fabulously-frosted morsels – and Pure Knead bakery for fresh-from-the-oven finds. Pick out a loaf of their homemade, artisan bread for tomorrow’s brekkie and drool over the pastry and towering celebration cakes. There’s Di Meo’s Delaval Ices, too, near the seafront, for frozen treats (Ferraro Rocher ice cream anyone?) and endless scoops of authentic gelato. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to brunch, but our top pick right now is the newly-opened Kith & Kin on Park View – a cool and effortlessly stylish cafe that wouldn’t look out of place in the streets of London or LA.
Run by a local father-and-daughter duo, it serves up the most perfect, sophisticated plates; everything from spicy shakshuka with feta and minted yogurt, to oozy, gooey steak and grilled cheese sandwiches, lots of smashed avo and hummus on
sourdough, homemade granola and trendy ‘Buddha bowls’. Book a table at Elder & Wolf for the best wood-fired pizzas and Latin-inspired tacos in town, Pulp Fiction Future Food if you prefer a healthier hang-out (it’s the coast’s answer to The Naked Deli – famed for its vibrant, good-for-you grub and ‘clean’ treats) and Hinnies for rustic, Geordie-influenced cuisine and by-the-sea views. Noir serves surprisingly-good tapas, Shikara does Indian food oh-so well (nothing like the kind you’ll find out of a takeout box) and Sambuca is somewhat of a town centre institution, serving up the cheapest, but faultless, Italian food around. Olives at the Station is tucked away and lesser-known – but is definitely worth a visit if all you’re in the mood for is a good old bacon bap, fish finger sarnie or hearty fry-up.
A blustery stroll along the prom will blow away the cobwebs like nothing else – and the same goes for a plod about St Mary’s Lighthouse, which lies just north of the town. Take the pooch for a ramble around the rock pools and the caves, or enjoy a leisurely stroll with the other half and watch as the wind whips up the waves. Cullercoats Bay – a sheltered haven on a sunny day – and Tynemouth’s famous Longsands are only moments away.
23-year-old Eve Jones is co-owner of and head chef at new coffee and kitchen-style cafe, Kith & Kin, on Park View.
Three good things about living here: The beach! I was lucky enough to have called it my office for five summers as a lifeguard. The heritage too – the iconic Spanish City dome to the kitsch ice cream parlours dotted along the coastline. Then there’s the people – Whitley Bay folk are truly the salt of the earth!
Three places you take visitors: Omni in nearby Monkseaton – it does the best Vietnamese food and it’s only a few minutes from Whitley Bay town centre. I also love the vibe at Left Luggage in the old parcel and luggage room in Monkseaton Metro station – they do great craft beers and gins. Elder and Wolf is the place to be for a posh kebab!
An ‘in the know’ secret: There’s a bottle shop opening soon on Park View. One more reason to visit Whitley Bay for amazing food and drink!