Whitley Bay lies on the
North Sea, eight miles north-east of Newcastle.
An extension of the adjacent
town of Cullercoats, the town grew in the 19th century as
a seaside resort for people of the North East of England and
When the tourist industry declined
in the 198'0s Whitley Bay also became a dormitory town of
Newcastle. The town has good connections on the Tyne
& Wear Metro.
Whitley Bay is fringed by wide
sands which stretch northwards towards the more rugged coastline
of Northumberland. The modern holiday resort offers
safe seabathing, amusement parks, an ice rink and a large
Whitley Bay is also known for
its lively nightlife. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs
and the Whitley
Bay Playhouse, with its theatre and cinema, offers a wide
range of entertainment.
The town's 'Spanish City' funfair
(built in 1909) was once one of Tyneside's most famous landmarks.
This became neglected in the 199'0s but the site is now being
regenerated as a centre for leisure and tourism. The
impressive dome of the Spanish Centre is being renovated as
St Mary's Island, the main coastal
feature of Whitley Bay, lies a short distance offshore.
A miniature version of Holy Island further north, the island
is joined to the mainland by a short causeway that can be
crossed on foot at low tide.
The famous St Mary's Lighthouse
was built in 1898 but ceased operation in 1984. The
redundant lighthouse and former keepers' cottages are now
a Visitor's Centre. Visitors can climb to the top of
the tower and admire the spectacular views along the coast.
There is also a nature reserve
with intriguing rock pools, beach and cliff-top grassland.