Thank you for writing that. Northumbria is the finest part of Britain, and that coast – from the wilds of Lindisfarne to the excitements of Whitley Bay is sublime. Castles, abbeys, great houses, marvellous gardens, mountains and moors, and one of the rarest mammals in the world – the White Cattle at Chillingham. A whole country in a county, and the finest folks in Britain living there.
Though I am tempted not to recommend anybody goes there; Newcastle is busy enough and the emptiness of the land reaching up to the Cheviots wonderful. Yeah, go to Torremolinos instead!
As a child I was an “out of towner tourist”. My father’s army pal came from the those parts and we used to visit. (A twelve hour coach ride from London).
Don’t downplay the icy cold sea, the wind and the sea mist( Can anyone see the little bugga?”), but very, very, beautiful.
Note to American visitors. See The Tower, Big Ben and the double-decker red buses, if you must, but you would do better to ignore The Great Wen (London) and venture into England, Scotland and Wales.
I used to tell all my visiting US colleagues not to spend too long in London, but to get out into the real country or countries. Usually they didn’t have enough time to go to Scotland, Wales or Ireland, or even the north of England, but I felt it encumbant upon me to at least steer them towrds smaller provincial towns and villages, to say nothing of the country side itself. Much more often than not they appreciated my advice and said that they felt that they got a better taste of England than if they had done the usual round.
A lovely evocative article. One caveat – the North Sea cannot, in any possible universe, be likened to the Bay of Naples.
Too bleedin’ cold up there. First time I ever saw snow falling and laying on a sandy beach – weird.
Great essay from Dan Jackson. Who (like me), hails from the region and speaks with real authority. Few things fill me with as much joy as seeing the once rundown seafront of Whitley Bay looking fibrant and prosperous once again. My formative years in the late 80s in the bars and clubs of Whitley certainly opened my eyes to life. But as I’ve changed, so has the coast. And I think we’re both the better for it!
As a schoolboy in 1958, I worked on the dodgem cars in the Spanish City. No one who worked there would go on the (modest) roller coaster, it was thought to be too dangerous. Indeed, someone fell to their death when their car jerked on a high bend. Not very recongnisable on my last visit (from Oz) in 2018.
I spent the summer of 1991 working on some upgrades (when the dockers weren’t on strike) to a rig tied up on the Tyne in South Shields.
There was plenty fun to be had in South Shields and locals were the friendliest I’ve encountered in all These Islands.
One day we took the ferry over to North Shields and the bus up to Whitley Bay. It was a bit rundown and depressing. But that was 1991.
A while ago the Geordie style setters at Viz magazine proposed a slick new TV show to be called Whitley Baywatch. Its time has surely come!
The people on the Geordie Shore show did most of their frolicking in Spain, didn’t they? Perhaps “climate change” will bring British sun seekers to Newcastle.
I think the resurgence, not just of Whitley Bay and Tynemouth (and Cullercoats in between) but of many seaside towns has been missed by the main newspapers.
Or rather it gets recorded in their 20 best beaches/chip shops/seaside holidays articles in their mags but disregarded by news features who often to slip into the *drab and shuttered* essay, often because they are doing a cuttings job from file pics.
Great to see a well thought through thinky piece. As mentioned re the shopping piece of it, these places aren’t just a few old attractions with a lick of paint..that leaves out restaurants, cafes, pop up pubs and independent retailers that you see if you wander half mile from the links and beach up to Park View.
London quality eateries and drinks places with not (quite) London prices.
Just back from holidays in Northumbria. Loved every minute of it.