Whitley Bay! You only have to say the name and I conjure up that great swathe of sand, racing north sea waves, iconic St Mary’s lighthouse and a long, long promenade currently undergoing regeneration as part of a £36 million project to improve facilities along the North East coast.
My book 52 Weekends by the Sea reveals an unexpected delight in Whitley Bay: the fabulous skate park in the Panama Dips. Designed with the insight of young people who knew exactly what they wanted, the skatepark a big success much loved by locals and visitors. Watching the action on skateboards, scooters and BMX bikes makes for great entertainment.
After the exertions of the skate park, pop into the Rendezvous cafe on the prom for a traditional nut sundae and views across along the prom and out to sea.Family run since the 1960s, the unfussy yet cheery Rendezvous is a family and dog friendly Whitley bay institution.
For coffee and art, pop into the neighbouring Links Gallery, where tables are decorated with old postcards of traditional Whitley Bay scenes including this wonderful helter skelter on the sands.