As you probably already know from me endlessly droning on about it here at Travelness, I was born in Newcastle and I’ve (consequently) spent lots of my life there.
So in this shore-stuffed guide, I’ve put my parochial pride to some use, and I’ve brought you this… a guide to the 15 best beaches near Newcastle.
Bring your bucket, spade, and Speedos kid, and come join the sandy soiree!
1. Tynemouth Long Sands Beach
Just east of Newcastle, you have loads of lovely coastal towns. The most famous (and most popular) is Tynemouth, a semi-gentrified spot with a whole bunch of trendy eateries and hangouts.
But it’s also (as you probably guessed from its inclusion on this list) home to a mega-popular beach. Stretching for around 1.5km (1 mile), it’s a long sandy bay, with plenty of room to run around, and play with dogs, and do whatever else you’d normally do on a beach.
Tynemouth Long Sands is a well-known wild-swimming spot. Yep, the North Sea is horrendously cold, but people seem to love splashing around in the sea here (especially during winter mornings, and that’s not a joke).
If you’re into cycling, you can start a great coastal ride from right along the shores of Tynemouth. The good part of the hugely-famous Coast and Castles cycle route (which stretches from Newcastle to Edinburgh) starts here… and it gets way more beautiful as you head further north. Follow the signs for the NCN1, and you’ll be on the right track.
Note: theoretically, dogs aren’t allowed on Long Sands beach between May and September, but nobody seems to care. So long as you scoop that poop, why would they?
2. Whitley Bay Beach
Whitley Bay is just a short swim north of Tynemouth, but it’s a little more family-friendly, and vaguely less trendy (but only very vaguely).
On and around the beach, you’ll always find big packs of smiling families—and endless places to buy ice creams, drinks, and fish and chips. If you only munch at one venue here, make it Di Meo’s, which has some of the best ice cream I’ve ever slurped on.
Other Whitley Bay highlights include fairground-style amusements, a pantomime-hosting local theater, and the recently-renovated Spanish City area.
Just inland from the beach, there’s also lots of lovely greenery, with walking paths and cycle tracks. It’s a nice place for a gentle bike ride, or playing football with (hopefully your own) kids, or munching on a little picnic.
All in all, if you want a family-friendly beach area with very close proximity to Newcastle, Whitley Bay is the best you’ll find. Like Tynemouth, you can quickly reach Whitley Bay from Newcastle by using the city’s easy-to-navigate metro system.
3. Blyth Beach
Next up, our first Northumberland* beach.
Northumberland is the surprisingly-big (largely rural) and beautiful region sitting north of Newcastle, and south of Scotland.
When I was a kid, Blyth Beach had a (justified) reputation for being a grimy dirtfest full of used syringes and stinky dog turds. But because I lived around 4 miles (6km) from here, that didn’t stop me from splashing around in the mire of it all.
Anyway, these days, the place has cleaned up its act (well, the council has)—and it’s emerged as one of the best beaches near Newcastle. It’s clean, safe, family-friendly, underratedly-beautiful, and full of things to do. If you’ll be beaching with kids, I totally recommend it.
There are endless places to munch on fish, chips, and ice cream. My favorite spot for fish and chips is Coastline, which is right in the middle of the action.
The beach also has lots of cute little places where you can buy bats, balls, nets, buckets, and all that other beach-based stuff. But best of all, the shores are home to some colorful little cabins, which you can rent for the day.
And aside from all that stuff, Blyth Beach also has jet-skiing, a yachting club, and some fun little rock pools.
4. Littlehaven Beach
For this entry, we’re hopping over to the other side of the River Tyne (which runs just south of Newcastle).
Bordering this side of the Tyne, you’ll find the resort-style town of South Shields, one of the most popular coastline destinations in northeast England.
Its most northern stretch of sand is Littlehaven Beach. It has a great promenade, a popular pier (stuffed with art installations), and long stretches of pretty sand. The whole area is popular with families and dog-walkers.
Right beside the beach, there are loads more attractions and entertainment. This part of South Shields is home to parks, fairground rides, fairground stalls, lighthouses, family-friendly eateries and loads more stuff. If you’re looking for endless kid-friendly variety and entertainment, this is the best beach near Newcastle.
Like Long Sands Beach, Littlehaven Beach is a good starting point for a huge number of great bike rides. If you follow the NCN1 south, you’ll hit more excellent beaches, towns and cliffs—this stretch of the coast offers some of my favorite rides in England.
5. Sandhaven Beach
Directly bordering Littlehaven Beach to the south, you have Sandhaven Beach.
Because these two beaches are next-door neighbors, they offer the same attractions (including all the massively-popular fairground stuff). So all the varied things you can explore and enjoy from Littlehaven Beach, you can also explore and enjoy from Sandhaven Beach.
But they do have some slight differences: Sandhaven Beach is way bigger, a little cleaner, and often busier (but because it’s so vast, you can always find a peaceful stretch if you want one). It also offers more beach-based activities, including rock pooling and stand-up paddleboarding.
And get this: in summer 2022, Sandhaven Beach won the Sunday Times Beach of the Year award. If it’s good enough for those guys, surely it’s good enough for you.
6. Marsden Beach
Marsden Beach is pretty different from all the other close-to-civilization beaches we’ve brought you so far. Although it’s in a populated area, it sits in a secluded half-ring of cliffs, and it faces a bunch of sea stacks. It feels strangely remote, and even when the rest of the coast is busy, it’s always pretty quiet.
It’s a popular spot with bird-watchers, and is home to massive colonies of gulls, kittiwakes, fulmars, and cormorants. And because it’s such a rocky place, there are loads of lively fun-filled rock pools here… so bring a bucket for all your crabs!
While you’re here, head to Marsden Grotto, an only-accessible-by-elevator restaurant built into the side of a storied cliff. Inside, it looks like a bizarre medieval banquet hall, and it’s previously been home to smugglers, criminals, and lots more questionable people.
You should also check out stripey behemoth Souter Lighthouse, just a short walk south along the cliffs from Marsden Beach. And if you’re looking for an even better stroll, there’s a great circular route running along the coast, and up to the view-packed peaks of Cleadon Hills. It’s one of the prettiest low-level walks near Newcastle, and you’ll see wild ponies!
7. Seaburn Beach
Our last south-of-Newcastle entry, Seaburn Beach is just east of Sunderland (although, being from Newcastle, I’m not sure why you’d want to visit that grotty little settlement).
One of the city’s most popular beaches, it’s a well-known wild-swimming spot. It also offers lots more water-based fun, including windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing.
The sands are clean and golden, the beach is wide and long, and there are lots of places to buy food and drink. If you’re looking for good food, I recommend The Hideout Coffee House, just to the south of the beach—they do loads of basic-but-great fresh stuff, including scones, cakes, pastries and sandwiches.
Also close to Seaburn Beach, you get arcades, fairground-style amusements, and massive Roker Pier. If you have time, head further south to the pretty marina area, where you’ll always find lots of fisherman, boats and birds.
And just a tiny bit further south, there’s the city’s National Glass Center, an educational venue with exhibitions and demonstrations about… glass. How enthralling. I have absolutely zero interest in the place, but loads of tourists seem to love it.
8. Newbiggin-by-the-Sea Beach
Alright, we’re back on the northern side of the Tyne.
And I reckon this is the most underrated beach on our list.
Not many people come here, but I’m not sure why—the beach is long, wide and sandy, it’s good for fishing and dog walking, and the town itself is super friendly. And sitting in the water, there’s an iconic sculpture of two people gazing out to sea.
Make sure you also visit Newbiggin Maritime Center, sitting just back from the beach. Here, you can learn all about the area, its history and its people… and how the region’s mining past is intrinsically tied to its present. To learn even more about the history and heritage of the area, head to nearby Woodhorn Museum (where I used to work).
While you’re here, I recommend checking out Newbiggin. The place is a strange contrast between old-school and trendy, and it has a regional charm that you don’t find in many other places.
In lots of ways, stepping into Newbiggin feels like stepping into the past, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s impossible to wander around the town without a smile on your face.
9. Cresswell Beach
Alright, we’re heading north from Newbiggin to somewhere even more old-school… and now we’re really getting remote, quiet and under-the-radar.
Most of the beaches we’ve featured so far have been family-friendly and full of fun. But Cresswell Beach is far from Newcastle’s bustling center of civilization, and it sits in a village with a population of around 200 people. If you like sparse and serene, this is one of the most beautiful places in Northumberland.
Cresswell itself is quite an unusual place. It’s pretty in an almost-apocalyptic way, with its quiet atmosphere, barren stretches of nothing, and close proximity to the hulking behemoth of Lynemouth Power Station. It’s one of the most atmospheric beaches on our list, and I absolutely love it—every time I come here, I’m always impressed by its alluring starkness.
When you’re here, eat at Drift Cafe. It has friendly staff, great views, home-cooked food, and an endearing atmosphere. It’s one of my all-time favorite coastal eateries.
If you want unique, quiet, and peaceful, head to Cresswell Beach. But if you want entertainment, family fun, or a little bit of bustle, don’t.
10. Druridge Bay
When you ask most people from this part of the world to suggest a peaceful, unique, or lesser-known beach, Druridge Bay is usually what they’ll recommend.
No-one (including me) really seems to be sure exactly where this big old stretch of beach begins and ends… but it’s absolutely huge. If it’s between Cresswell and Amble, it’s vaguely considered to be Druridge Bay—in total, it clocks in at around 8 miles (that’s a massive 13km).
While most stretches are quiet, it also has some fun-packed pockets of excitement and adventure. Dotted around various parts of the beach, you can find a reservoir, some little lakes, birdwatching spots, giant dunes, and places to surf and sail.
And if you want to chow down on some snacks, you can head on over to Druridge Bay Country Park Visitors Center, which has a nice cafe, some kayaks, and a play area for kids.
If you want to explore the area in depth, you can overnight at the newly-opened Druridge Bay Camp and Caravan Site (right beside the visitor center). There’s enough in the area to keep you entertained for a long weekend, and you get a nice balance between bustling towns and quiet shores.
11. Alnmouth Beach
Possibly my favorite sandy spot in all of Northumberland, Alnmouth beach sits right in front of the town of the same name (one of the prettiest coastal settlements in this part of the world).
It’s not the most action-packed place, but it’s a great spot for fishing, dog-walking, horse-riding and grabbing great views. In terms of pure aesthetics, this is one of the best beaches near Newcastle—it’s quite an unusual place, as the beach is sliced in two by the ebb and flow of the town’s tides.
From the beach, you get excellent panoramas of the town, with its orange roofs, cute buildings, colorful homes, and low-level skyline.
If you explore Alnmouth Beach on a sunny day, you’ll usually find an old-school ice cream van hanging around in the car park, for a tasty serving of retro flavors.
Before you leave Alnmouth, I recommend heading to nearby Warkworth, a cute riverside town with a massive castle and a great nearby on-farm ice cream store (lurking in an even-more-rural part of its outskirts).
12. Dunstanburgh Beach
Okay, the ‘beach’* here is nothing particularly special.
*I say ‘beach’ because, in reality, this part of the coast is just a stretch of narrow rocks jutting out into the sea.
But this place is hugely unique and unusual, and anyone looking for an interesting beach will undoubtedly love this place (so stick with me here—I promise we’re heading somewhere worthwhile).
Here, you get the thin rocky stretch of ‘shore’. But you also get loads more, including the towering ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, a load of sheep-covered farmland, and a strangely-desolate area with lots of peace and quiet.
Honestly, I can’t recommend this area enough—if you want the sparsity, rurality, farmland, history and shores of Northumberland all crammed into one tight little package, you won’t get any better than this. So, yeah, there’s no ‘beach’ here, but that hardly matters.
If you do want a real beach in this area, simply head around 1 mile (1.5km) north, to the super-sandy shores of beautiful Embleton Bay. It has a long stretch of wide sand, and it’s great for swimmers and dog-walkers. Sometimes, I also see families there, but (apart from the beach and the water), it doesn’t have much fun stuff for kids.
13. Low-Newton-by-the Sea Beach
Low-Newton-by-the Sea Beach is another underrated option. If you want quiet and lesser-known, it’s one of the best beaches near Newcastle.
There’s not much to do here, but that’s sort of the point. Sitting right beside a tiny fishing village, the small curved sandy beach is backed by a bunch of cute pale houses, and it’s quiet and cozy in the most alluring way.
It’s a great location for a peaceful sunrise—I totally recommend getting here early if you have the time.
And if you like birdwatching, this is one of the region’s best spots—Newton Pool Bird Reserve is just 80 meters from the sands, and it’s great for spying some of the area’s local and migrating birds.
After you’ve done splashing around in the sea here, head to The Ship Inn for a traditional slice of old-school English welcomes. This pub has live music, an open fire, lots of tasty food, and locally-sourced eats and treats. The ploughman’s boards are popular favorites, and always include regional touches.
If you want a peaceful and calm experience, Low-Newton-by-the Sea Beach is perfect. But it’s not a great option if you’re traveling with kids.
14. Seahouses Beach
If you’re on the hunt for a fun-packed kid-friendly beach in Northumberland, this is my #1 pick. It’s full of excitement, it has all the conveniences you need (Seahouses is a well-equipped town), and the beach itself is pretty and clean.
Included among the fun you’ll find here, there’s a minigolf course, a cute harbor, a soft-play area, a diner, and lots of places to find kid-friendly food.
And because it’s not as remote as most other Northumberland options on our list, you have lots of accommodation options… and easy access to other parts of the Northumberland coastline.
Best of all, Seahouses offers daily boat trips (in warmer months) to the nearby shores of the remote Farne Islands. Here, you can spot big flocks of the region’s pretty nesting puffins, and one of the UK’s largest colonies of seals. I massively recommend tackling one of these trips. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins, porpoises and whales mid-ride.
While you’re in Seahouses, you should head slightly north to Bamburgh, its outrageously-atmospheric neighbor. Which brings us to…
15. Bamburgh Beach
Rounding off this list of the best beaches near Newcastle, it’s another of my favorites. I was going to add some cliché here about leaving the best ‘til last, but I decided not to bother.
The beach here is sandy and wide, and popular with kid-carrying families. It’s also a top spot for surfers, and the waves here are apparently some of the most consistent and exciting in the region. You can hire surfboards here, and take surf lessons.
If you don’t fancy surfing, the place is also popular for swimming and fishing.
Bamburgh Beach is also home to loads of rock pools, where you can get on your hands and knees and scrut about in the sand to seek out some crabs and starfish.
And sitting above it all, you have the skyline-dominating Bamburgh Castle, the most prominent and impressive castle in the entire region. From the shores of the beach, you get excellent views of the castle (and from the castle, you get excellent views of the beach).
From Bamburgh, you can also head slightly north to reach the bizarre shores of secluded Holy Island—it’s one of the most unique and unusual things to do in northern England.
Before You Go
And there they are—the 15 best beaches near Newcastle!
Ready to make a splash but prefer indoor swimming? Look no further! Get your swimsuits on because I’ve got the inside scoop on the best water parks in Newcastle that will make your aquatic dreams come true.
For more information on adventuring around my alluring little home town, here are the top 22 things to do in Newcastle, and all the reasons you should visit the place. And to see most of these beaches again plus some more (but in a slightly different context), check out our guide to the best beaches in Northumberland.
Thanks for reading, thanks for being an absolute hero, and thanks for stopping by at Travelness!