*This post is sponsored by We Are North Tyneside
Although I love holidays to far flung destinations I’m also a huge fan of staycations. When you’re lucky enough to live in a wonderful country such as England, it would be crazy not to make the most of what’s on your doorstep.
One of the things I really appreciate about Newcastle is its close proximity to the coast; a couple of weeks ago after a busy Friday at work James and I clocked off at about 4pm and were checked in to a beautiful hotel in Whitley Bay, sipping on a glass of chilled prosecco by 5pm, bliss!
Sadly the weather wasn’t quite as cheerful as we were, the arrival of Spring has been a bit delayed in Geordieland this year. We weren’t going to let a bit of rain dampen our spirits though, or snow for that matter!
Here’s a few highlights from our Whitley Bay staycation…
Where We Stayed: York House Hotel
There’s no shortage of accommodation in Whitley Bay. Options vary from family friendly caravans at a local holiday park, to budget hotel chains. There are also several traditional B&B’s.
Our home for the weekend was the beautiful York House Hotel, a sumptuous and elegant family-run bed and breakfast overlooking Whitley Park.
Our double room was tastefully decorated with a spacious en-suite and I loved the property’s traditional features, especially the super high ceilings. There’s even a cosy lounge where guests can relax with complimentary freshly ground coffee in front of the fire. Parking’s free and onsite too, which was a relief as we arrived in the pouring rain!
The hotel’s crowning glory is without doubt its plentiful and delicious breakfast menu. We were surprised to find a huge array of beautifully presented continental delights, including fresh fruit, meat, cheese and yoghurts. There was even little pots of overnight oats and chilled prosecco so we could treat ourselves to a cheeky bucks fizz! The cooked breakfast was made to order with perfectly poached eggs. It certainly set us up for a day of exploring.
York House Hotel has recently refurbished some of its most popular rooms, adding thoughtful little details like fluffy robes, slippers and chilled mineral water. These ‘Signature Rooms’ are definitely the ones to book for a special stay!
Where We Ate on Friday Night: The Roxburgh
As you may have seen in this recent blog post, I had been recommended lots of amazing places to eat ahead of my little trip to Whitley Bay. One place that got many mentions was The Roxburgh which intrigued me as I’d never heard of it. I couldn’t even find a website for the restaurant but we took a punt and booked a table for 6pm on Friday night to find out what all the fuss was about.
The Roxburgh is on Park Avenue, a one minute walk from the York House Hotel. There’s no alcohol licence but you can bring your own and there’s a handy Sainsburys next door.
We were welcomed in to the cosy restaurant like old friends and shown to a candlelit table. The menu was written on a chalk board on the wall besides us, tempting us with unusual dishes like ‘Sashimi tuna with pea, soy and horseradish’ and ‘Skrei cod with gnocchi and pistu’. A soulful playlist added to the chilled out ambience. First impressions were very good!
There’s a rather limited choice of about three options per course but when our food arrived we soon realised that’s because of the huge amount of skill and attention to detail that goes in to each mouthful.
We were blown away by our main courses (the pigs head dish in particular) and when we praised the chef’s talents to our waitress she proudly told us that he had worked for many years as a touring chef for music legends like Sting and Van Morrison! I wouldn’t be surprised if this hidden gem of a restaurant gets the attention of the foodies at the Michelin Guide in the near future.
Friday Night: Film Festival
After our wonderful meal we took a short walk along the street to Playhouse Whitley Bay where the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour was taking place.
Having recently returned from a ski trip to Austria and an adrenaline filled activity holiday in Wales, James and I felt like we’d found our tribe as we piled in to the auditorium filled with fleece wearing adventure seekers.
The prestigious annual film festival shows a collection of thought-provoking action, environmental and adventure mountain films. We found it very inspiring and have now added rock climbing and canoe building to our bucket list!
Saturday morning in Tynemouth
After a restful night’s sleep and an epic breakfast at the York House Hotel we hopped on the Coaster bus to Tynemouth where we hid from the rain under the cover of the Metro station. A bustling local market takes place here every wweekend and it’s always worth a wander.
There are some fab independent shops in North Tyneside, for more ideas on where to head for retail therapy check out this guide I wrote a couple of months ago: www.lifeingeordieland.com/shopping/shop-till-you-drop-in-north-tyneside/
I had hoped for a romantic afternoon stroll along the beach or a wander up to the top of St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay followed by award winning ice-cream from Di Meos but sadly it was far too cold to stay outside for long.
Saturday Lunch at Hinnies
I was so happy that we’d booked a leisurely lunch at renowned local restaurant Hinnies in Whitley Bay. I’d been looking forward to checking out this much loved restaurant for ages and it was the perfect afternoon retreat.
Hinnies is part of the Hooked On Group which also includes two of my favourite restaurants in Newcastle, Blackfriars and Dobson & Parnell. If you’re not already signed up to their Whole Hog Food Club I highly recommend you do, it gives you access to exclusive news and offers that are well worth checking out!
Hinnies has a wonderful sea front location on East Parade in Whitley Bay, there’s a fair bit of competition from other restaurants nearby but Hinnies sets itself apart by focussing on ‘Geordie Comfort Food’ which is beautifully served in relaxed surroundings with top notch service from some of the friendliest folk in the North East. What’s not to love? I’d be tempted to eat here every day if I lived close enough.
We enjoyed a hearty and delicious meal from the seasonal lunch menu (£15 for three courses) with the highlight being one of the best scotch eggs I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve had my fair share)!
I’m contemplating a full blog post about Hooked on Group as I think more people need to know about these world class restaurants that we’re lucky to have in the North East!
Saturday Night Shenanigans
We didn’t need to venture far to find awesome little venues to spend our Saturday night in. We started off with a few drinks in the Dog and Rabbit, a micro-brewery and pub on Park View. With real conversations going on over real ales I could tell that we were going to like this place from the moment we walked in.
After a few pints we had to tear ourselves away from the pub as we’d booked tickets to see Ladybird at the Jam Jar Cinema. This independent picture house looks a bit shabby from the outside but beyond the deceptive exterior is a modern, relaxed, 50 seater cinema with much more character and credibility than any multiplex.
The film was great (I think I enjoyed it more than James) but our tummies were starting to rumble again so we dashed to Elder & Wolf just in time to get a last minute order in for one of their legendary kebabs which we washed down with a couple of cocktails.
There was a real party atmosphere in Elder & Wolf, this cool little bar and restaurant wouldn’t be out of place in London’s trendy Shoreditch. I’ll definitely be heading back!
We turned in for the night much earlier than I care to admit to (getting old!) but we really enjoyed our short break to Whitley Bay. The choice of places to drink and dine is endless and there was plenty to keep us entertained despite the downpours! York House Hotel was the perfect base too, I’d highly recommend it.
We’re already planning a return visit in the summer when we hope the weather will be kinder to us so we can spend more time enjoying the stunning coastline and checking out some of the al fresco dining options like Riley’s Fishshack. The countdown is also on for the hugely anticipated re-launch of Spanish City, an incredible venue steeped in history which will feature even more exciting places to eat and drink!!
For more pics of our Whitley Bay staycation check out the highlights on my Insta profile.
To plan your own visit to Whitley Bay head over to www.visitnorthtyneside.com
Disclaimer: Our room at York House Hotel and our meal at Hinnies were gifted. As always, words and opinions are all my own.