What’s going for it? The trouble with British seaside resorts, if reports are to be believed, is that they fall into two camps: ruined, despairing and utterly beyond all hope, or Whitstable. If you spend time visiting every prom, pier, amusement arcade, instant doughnut purveyor, rock shop and groyne in the country, as I do (everyone needs a hobby), you will know the truth is more complex. Whitley Bay, for instance, while having suffered the usual despond when we all started jetting off to Benidorm, maintained its pride and, importantly, its beauty. There are few finer, or fresher, walks than along the cliff edge between Tynemouth and St Mary’s lighthouse. The path-cum-prom twists and turns past low, craggy cliffs, soft sands and wild waters on one side, and fine Victorian terraces, pleasant cafes and municipal verges on the other, stopping in for a mooch in the charity shops and independent stores of Park View and finishing up with a crab sarnie at the restored and stupendous Spanish City, of Dire Straits fame (pop culture reference there for the kids). Whitley Bay has had a dose of that dubious urban medicine “regeneration”, but seems to be thriving. Legions of social media executives haven’t downsized here from Jesmond in Newcastle, and you’re not tripping over public art/artists every five metres.
The case against Precious little. It’s a delight. You’ve got to withstand the occasional wind straight outta Siberia, but that goes with the territory.
Well connected? Trains: on the Tyne Metro with five trains an hour to central Newcastle (30 mins). Driving: half an hour to central Newcastle, an hour to the Northumberland national park.
Schools Primaries: among many rated “good”, says Ofsted, Coquet Park First, Marine Park First, Southridge First, Valley Gardens Middle and Langley First are “outstanding”. Secondaries: Whitley Bay High and Monkseaton High are “outstanding”.
Where to buy The older town, east of Whitley Road or Park View, is blessed with racks of lovely, well-made Victorian terraces and townhouses, right down to Cullercoats, with its little knot of neighbourly shops and cafes. The rest is very 1920s, especially around Claremont Road. Modern surburbans around Red House Drive, north off Hastings Avenue on the Brierdene estate and in Earsdon village, on the edge of town. Large detacheds and townhouses, £400,000-£750,000. Detacheds and smaller townhouses, £275,000-£400,000. Semis, £160,000-£475,000. Terraces and cottages, £130,000-£400,000. Flats, £70,000-£375,000. Rentals: a one-bed flat, £400-£500pcm; a three-bed house, £800-£1,200pcm.
Bargain of the week Three-bed terrace with lovely original features, in need of modernisation, £189,950, with embleys.co.uk.
From the streets
Simon Ward ‘Left Luggage Room at Monkseaton station – a peerless craft ale venue.’
Ruby Downs ‘The lifestyle is wonderful – we can actually afford to buy a flat.’
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