Whitley Bay is a town in North Tyneside, in Tyne and Wear, England. It is on the North Sea coast and boasts a fine stretch of beach of golden sand forming a bay stretching from St. Mary’s Island in the north to Cullercoats in the south. The town, which has a population of 36,544, became a holiday destination for the people of North East England and Scotland and remains very popular today. The town is now widely seen as a dormitory town for Newcastle upon Tyne and is currently under going a multi-million pound revamp at the old Spanish City.
Whitley Bay was famous for its permanent seaside fairground, The Spanish City. A fairground returns to the town on bank holiday weekends, the Easter and summer holidays, but is now located on ‘the Links’, an expansive seafront park to the north of the original Spanish City site. The Spanish City Dome, which is a Grade II Listed building, is to become the centrepiece of a multimillion pound “regeneration” of the seafront complex, which will include hotel and leisure developments. Also in the town is St. Mary’s Lighthouse.The Spanish City is the subject of the Dire Straits song Tunnel of Love, along with Whitley Bay and the nearby town Cullercoats.
The ice rink was also the region’s premier concert venue until the Newcastle Arena (now Metro Radio Arena) opened in 1995. The venue played host to the top names in the music industry throughout the 1980s and 1990s, such as The Jam in 1982, The Cure in 1985, Oasis in 1994 and the Stone Roses in 1995, as well as a one-off night to the World Wrestling Federation.
The Park View Shopping Centre was opened in 2004 after many years of deliberation, linking the many fine niche retailers on Park View with the High Street retailers in the town centre and with its rooftop car park also adding 173 much needed car parking spaces. Shops with premises on this site include Iceland, Superdrug and Boots.
Whitley Bay is around 9 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne and is connected to the Tyne and Wear Metro, with stations at Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, West Monkseaton and Cullercoats. It is about a 25 minute journey from Newcastle city centre on the Metro.
The local newspaper, The News Guardian – owned by Johnston Press – is published once a week from its offices in the town. It is printed on the presses of the Sunderland Echo in nearby Sunderland. The alternative free weekly paper is the Chronicle Extra, formerly known as the Herald and Post. For those who want a more satirical slant on their local news, the town’s very own spoof newspaper the Whitley Bay Citizen started in 2000. It has since been discontinued although the articles have been archived at citizenextra.com, new content is also planned.