*This post is sponsored by ‘We Are North Tyneside’
During my pre-Christmas shopping spree in North Tyneside I couldn’t help but notice some of the other unique and quirky attractions in the area. From cute coffee shops to tranquil parks, there’s a lot to discover in this sometimes overlooked part of the north east.
Residents of North Tyneside might not consider the following list of places to be hidden gems but to the uninitiated like me, they definitely are! That’s why I’ve made a new year’s resolution to spend much more time exploring North Tyneside in 2018 and this blog post will be my checklist of places to visit.
Jam Jar Cinema
I reckon it’s true what they say about great things coming in small packages. The Jam Jar cinema might only have 50 seats but this independent community cinema in the heart of Whitley Bay shows the best of British, Indie and Hollywood releases. It’s run by local volunteers who pride themselves on offering a world class cinematic experience, miles away from the faceless multiplex experience.
I have heard soooo many good things about Omni Cafe! Tucked away on the corner of a residential street in Monkseaton, the laid back cafe offers an ever changing menu of Asian street food inspired dishes. From spicy king prawn broth to steamed dumplings and fragrant rice bowls, I imagine it probably smells and tastes and good as it looks and sounds and it’s certainly an interesting alternative to some of the other eateries in the area.
Rising Sun Country Park
My other half just reminded me that we have actually visited Rising Sun Country Park before and he even dug out the old pic above to prove it. Judging by my short, yellow hair I can only assume this was photo was taken at least four years ago and it’s a travesty that we’ve never returned to this tranquil spot!
The green oasis of 162 hectares is located just off Whitley Road in Benton (you can use the Asda car park nearby) and the area is a haven for wildlife and nature. There are extensive footpaths, bridleways and cycle routes to help you easily access the great outdoors. I’m definitely planning on a bike ride and picnic there this summer. There’s also cafe, toilets, children’s play area and water play so it’s the perfect place for families too.
Another relaxing place to visit for free is Marden Quarry Park, it’s mad to think that this stunning nature reserve with its unusual landscape and limestone grassland is virtually surrounded by housing developments, I certainly wouldn’t complain if I had this beauty spot beyond my back garden!
Stephenson Railway Museum
This is where the legendary engineers George and Robert Stephenson spent 20 years in North Tyneside developing their pioneering ideas which helped spread railways and locomotives around the world. The Museum celebrates their achievement and is home to some pretty special locomotives.
On scheduled days visitors can take a ride on a passenger train pulled by the ‘Jackie Milburn’ steam engine or heritage diesel locomotives. I think there’s something really romantic about steam trains and kids love them too so this is another attraction I’m going to make an effort to visit once it re-opens from mid-February. No doubt I’ll be treating myself to a large helping of cake in the tearooms too!
Entrance to the museum is free, a small charge applies for train rides.
There’s so much I want to see and do in North Tyneside that I’m planning on a little weekend break there soon so I can really explore the area properly and take advantage of everything it has to offer. So send me your top tip and must-see attractions and I’ll do my best to cram in as much as possible.