Whitley Bay - Review for families

For a fun family day out, come rain or shine, visit the North East coastal town of Whitley Bay

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  • St Mary's Lighthouse

    What is it?

    It’s a historic lighthouse, mini island and iconic symbol of Whitley Bay. The Sat Nav postcode is NE26 4RS.


    £ - It’s free to explore the surrounding area, but a family ticket into the lighthouse and visitors centre will only set you back £6.50.

    What’s on offer

    The lighthouse, in operation from 1898 to 1984, is now run by North Tyneside Council as a visitors centre, so tourists and families alike can enjoy the natural beauty of the beach, go rock-pooling, search through the wetlands for wildlife, climb the (manageable) cliffs and learn all about the lighthouse’s history. There’s a charming, reasonably priced gift shop. There are (admittedly, slightly grim) toilets in the car park and nicer ones in the visitors centre, but it's probably not ideal for buggies. 



    What to watch out for

    Keep an eye out for up-to-date opening times, as the lighthouse is accessible via a tidal causeway and therefore isn’t always open. Wear big warm coats, preferably a waterproof and sturdy shoes. If it's sunny, keep the coats in the car just incase. 

    MFM tips:

    Look out for fish & chips in the car park if you and your little ones are ready for a treat. There should be benches nearby or huddle up in the car. Tucking into fish & chips whilst overlooking the coast is so cosy, especially since it’s quite windy even in the middle of summer. When it's hot, keep an eye out for the ice cream van.

    Visit the official St Mary’s Lighthouse website

    Discover more family attractions in Whitley Bay...

  • Seaton Delaval Hall

    What is it?

    Seaton Delaval Hall is a grand home run by the National Trust. The SatNav postcode is NE26 4QR, but it’s easily accessible by public transport from Newcastle city centre and Whitley Bay.


    ££. Without gift aid, a family ticket will set you back around £15. Adults cost £6 and children cost £3. With gift aid, expect to pay around 50p more per ticket.

    What’s on offer

    The most impressive surviving example of 1700’s baroque architecture in England, the house comprises of several areas – the Central Hall, the eerie Cellars, the tranquil Gardens and the Woodland Play Area. Either take in the history of this old home or let your children experience nature with play equipment designed by local children, made with trees from the estate.

    Seaton Delaval Hall offers walks, events (like GPS treasure hunting) and exciting activities for families throughout the year, so make sure to visit the events page. There are picnic benches, baby-changing facilities and hip-carrier infant seats to borrow if you can’t manage a buggy.


    The friendly staff with passion and excellent knowledge of the Hall, the gorgeous Gardens and Woodland Play Area are all highlights!

    What to watch out for

    It’s currently a work-in-progress attraction. Some restoration work may be taking place during your visit. Please consult the website for up-to-date information. You can expect to spend around two hours here.

    Visit the official Seaton Delaval Hall website

  • Jam Jar Cinema

    What is it?

    A cinema in Whitey Bay, North Tyneside run by volunteers. It’s a charity and community project, which affords cinema trips for reasonable prices. The SatNav postcode is NE26 1DG and is easily accessible from Newcastle by public transport.


    Cinema tickets cost around £6.50 each. Visitors are welcome to stop by for a drink, even if they aren’t seeing a film.

    What’s on offer

    The cinema runs plenty of children’s films during it’s unusual opening hours – but if you’re in the area on a particularly dull day you and your little ones can enjoy the latest children’s new releases and sing-a-long versions of their favourite films.  The cinema also has special screenings with buy-one-get-one-free offers on tickets. There are baby-changing facilities in the nearby Berkeley Tavern pub.


    It’s raining and pouring and you’re inside, nice and warm, singing along to Frozen for the millionth time? Could be worse!

    What to watch out for

    Don't expect a huge, glamorous movie theatre, as it is run solely by volunteers off their own backs.The cinema is open on Wednesday, Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. Please check the exact opening times on the website as they’re very specific!

    Visit the official Jam Jar Cinema website

  • Activities

    If you've had your fill of unique tourist attractions and just want some old-fashioned fun, there are several indoor and outdoor activities for families in Whitley Bay.

    Waves Leisure Pool is perfect for young children. There are three pools, including a shallow one for little ones who aren't keen swimmers or just prefer to splash about. It also comes with a pirate ship and two slides, which your child can ride on with armbands. There's the middle pool, ideal for swimmers and the larger pool, which regularly uses an impressive wave machine and is ideal for older children. There are three more slides, which TripAdvisor users say are great for family races.

    The clean changing rooms come in family sizes and have plenty of working lockers. There's a small cafe and soft play. It's about £3 per person to enter. Just make sure you check the child/parent ratio before making your way to the pool. 

    Whitley Bay's Ice Rink is one of the only indoor, all-year round ice rinks in the North East. Used by professionals and the public, it's a large, well-equipped ice rink complete with skate hire. There's a full timetable for public skate sessions, though if you want to introduce your younger children to ice skating, you might want to book for the family session, which runs Saturday evenings from 7 - 9pm. It's around £29 for a family of four, if you're hiring ice skates.

    If water and ice aren't your thing, get your family to the green of Whitley Bay's much-loved Mini Golf course. There are 9-hole and 18-hole courses to choose from. It's ideal for teenagers as well as younger children, especially if you like to get competitive! But even if you can't get a hole in one, you'll have still enjoyed a fun family activity AND enjoyed some killer seaside views.

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  • Playtime

    Famous for the former Spanish City amusement park, Whitley Bay is well known for more of it's impressive arcades. Just a moments walk from the beach are two classic, brilliantly tacky, seaside arcade - complete with dance mats, video games and 10p and 2p machines Don't forget to bring change!

    If arcades aren't suitable for your family, then you'll be pleased to hear that Whitley Bay has numerous soft play areas, all highly rated by local mums and dads on TripAdvisor. Runamokka, Jack's Den Soft Play and Whitley Bay Treehouse are three of the best. Runamokka wins on the name alone.

  • Beaches

    Whitley Bay may not look like it used to, but one thing you can always count on is that the gorgeous beach in the crisp Northern air will always be a delight. It's ideal for families (with or without a buggy) to take a stroll along the promenade. You can let the kids run up ahead and you'll still be able to see them, all the while mums can enjoy the lovely views.

    The North East coast line is home to some of the best beaches in the UK. Within walking distance from Whitley Bay, there's the highly recommended and Cullercoats (pictured), with grassy cliffs and a mysterious cave by the popular sandy beach. Tynemouth Beach is ideal for families who like something a bit different, especially since the close-by Tynemouth Metro station turns into a cute flea market over the weekend. 

    Most of the beaches in the area have public toilets either on the promenade or by the selection of beachside cafes on offer. There'll be lifeguards taking their watch during busy summer periods, so no need to worry too much about safety. Even though the North is generally considered colder than the South, if it's sunny, you'll still need to wear sunscreen on the beach.

    It's at this point that you can sit back and relax after a no doubt hectic day out in Whitley Bay.

    MFM guides to North East England...

    Ouseburn Valley
    Hancock Museum
    Life Science Centre
    Discovery Museum
    Tanfield Railway
    Whitehouse Farm
    Beamish Museum
    Pets Corner


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