WHO WINS OUT IN HEAD TO HEAD?
Longsands beach in Tynemouth, Riley’s Fish Shack and Billy Ocean at the Mouth of the Tyne festival Reporter IT’S a debate that has been raging in our parts for decades – is North Tyneside or South Tyneside a better place to live?
Separated by the River Tyne, there is plenty to like about both boroughs, from the beaches and leisure facilities to the many cafes and restaurants.
But both sides also have room to improve, with areas of deprivation and unemployment.
Regeneration work is taking place in South as well as North Tyneside to help improve the quality of life for residents and visitors. Some of the changes can already be seen.
Here we look at life on both sides of the river. Which one clinches it for you?
Tynemouth Longsands is stunning, with its mile-long stretch of golden sands. The nearby King Edward’s Bay, a small sandy beach at the foot of Tynemouth Priory and Castle, is also well loved. Heading north, you will find Cullercoats Bay, enclosed by small piers and ideal for families, and then Whitley Bay beach which has a promenade perfect for walking, and great views of St Mary’s Lighthouse.
Littlehaven is a must-see if you’re visiting the area. It’s got a lovely promenade with fantastic coastal views and features artwork along the way. Continue south and you arrive at Sandhaven where you get long stretches of golden sand, and Marsden Bay – home to one of the region’s most important seabird colonies, as well as Marsden Rock.
There’s plenty going on at the north side, from trampoline parks and soft play areas to museums and parks. Among the facilities are Starbowl; Wet ‘n’ Wild and Xtreme Bounce at Royal Quays; Jump 360 in Benton; Tynemouth Park with mini-golf, an outdoor soft play area, a Pirate Quest Maze and a boating lake; and the Blue Reef Aquarium.
If you fancy a bit of history, museums include Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend; Stephenson Railway Museum in North Shields; and Tynemouth Castle and Priory; as well as the Old Low Light Heritage Centre at North Shields Fish Quay. And for those wanting a swim, you can head to Waves in Whitley Bay; Tynemouth Pool; Lakeside Centre in Killingworth and Hadrian Leisure Centre in Wallsend.
In addition, there are a string of great parks which provide endless hours of outdoor fun for families, such as Northumberland Park in North Shields; Rising Sun Country Park in Benton; and the Wallsend Parks.
The South Shields coast is the place to go for seaside entertainment, with a string of amusement arcades and fairground rides, thanks to the ever popular Ocean Beach Pleasure Park. Nearby, South Marine Park and North Marine Park are always packed on a good summer’s day. The museums include South Shields Museum & Art Gallery and Arbeia Roman Fort, while Jarrow is home to St Paul’s Monastery and Jarrow Hall.
In addition, two new community hubs have proved a hit with people – Hebburn Central and The Word in South Shields. Other facilities include Haven Point and Temple Park leisure centres.
According to Rightmove, the majority of sales in the borough over the last year were semi-detached properties, going for an average of £182,633. Terraced houses sold for an average of £167,340, with flats fetching £107,723.
However, there are areas where homes can cost well over £300,000, and hit the £600,000 mark, such as Tynemouth. In Whitley Bay, the average house price is around £234,329; Wallsend is £118,816; Kill- ingworth is £171,886; and North Shields is around £176,733.
Rightmove says, last year, most property sales across the area involved semidetached houses which sold for on average £150,175. Terraced properties went for an average of £121,090, while flats were sold for £84,529. In Hebburn, the average cost of a home is £147,295; in Jarrow it’s £122,214; in Boldon the figure is around £174,514; while the South Shields average is £128,375. However, places such as Cleadon Village, Whitburn and East Boldon can have houses up for grabs for more than £300,000, and some go for more than £600,000.
Some parts have earned a reputation as food and drink destinations. Tynemouth Front Street has a string of cafes, restaurants, bars, and fish and chip shops. And King Edward’s Bay boasts the popular Riley’s Fish Shack, while Longsands beach has two eateries – Crusoe’s and The View. Meanwhile, diverse businesses have set up shop in Whitley Bay, including Hinnies, which specialises in Geordie delicacies, and Turkish eatery Turknaz, as well as a number of Asian restaurants. Elsewhere, the North Shields Fish Quay has become known for its variety of pubs, restaurants, fish and chip takeaways and seafood shops. To name a few, there is Sambucas; The Waterfront; Oceans Fish and Chips; The Staith House; and the Low Lights Tavern.
Ocean Road in South Shields is known as the curry mile of the North East because of the large number of Indian takeaways and restaurants there. This is also where you will find Colmans Fish and Chips. The whole coast is lined with various places to grab a bite or have a drink. Whitburn is also a good place to find a good cafe or deli.
There are a number of shopping centres dotted around, Silverlink being one of the biggest, with shops including Marks and Spencer, Next, Boots, Mothercare, Wilko and Sports Direct. You can also couple your shopping trip here with a movie at the Odeon Cinema or a meal at one of the restaurants nearby. The Royal Quays Outlet Centre, The Beacon Centre in North Shields and The Forum are among other shopping hubs, while the weekend Tynemouth Market is always popular.
South Shields Town Centre is the place to be for a bit of retail therapy. You’ll find a selection of big names and independent stores along the pedestrianised King Street and Waterloo Square. In Jarrow, the Viking Centre offers a good mix of high street stores and smaller shops, while the villages of Boldon, Whitburn and Cleadon are good for boutique shopping, gifts, specialist fashion and products.
A programme of high-profile events takes places on the north side of the Tyne every year. The Mouth of the Tyne is the biggest and features top national and local acts – this year performers included Billy Ocean, Elbow, Laura Marling and Tom Odell. Other annual events include food festivals, sports tournaments, a classic car show, the Whitley Bay Carnival, and the Great North Bike Ride, which ends in Tynemouth. The North Tyneside 10k Road Race, held on Easter Sunday, is popular with runners.
Music lovers are always well catered for during the summer with the annual South Tyneside Festival – a three-month celebration with open-air concerts at Bents Park. The likes of KT Tunstall, The Understudies, Call on Sunday, Busted and X Factor winner Louisa Johnson entertained thousands of fans this year. Meanwhile, pooches get to take part in the fun at the Great North Dog Walk, which takes place on The Leas in South Shields every year. There’s also entertainment from the South Tyneside International Magic Festival and, lest we forget, the world-famous Great North Run ends in South Shields.