Sunday Sun - - News - By SO­NIA SHARMA so­nia.sharma@ncjme­dia.co.uk

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.

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