Island Outing

28th August, 2015 | Article By Lesley Tan

St. Mary’s Lighthouse, built in 1898, is one of the very well-known tourist attractions in the Whitley Bay area. I have visited St. Mary’s many times from childhood to my most recent last week. It is such a lovely landmark and is now even used for weddings, as I found out!

If you are contemplating a visit, do check the Tide Tables first, otherwise the cemented over causeway that connects St Mary’s Island (also known as Bait Island) to the mainland will be submerged, and it can only be accessed by boat. There is a little tourist shop and you can climb the many steps to the top of the lighthouse and take magnificent photos of almost the whole of Whitley Bay, which is, in itself, a well-known tourist destination. You can also enjoy fishing in the rock pools and sightings of seals sunbathing on the rocks are a common occurrence too. There is a largish car park on the land side with a mobile food van and an ice-cream van usually parked, the sale of colourful fishing nets and buckets is a popular attraction for kids and adults alike. There are lots of great walks, especially for bird watching.

Another landmark spot is Curry’s Point. In 1739, Michael Curry, a local glassworker, was found guilty of murdering a local innkeeper near the island. He was duly hanged for his crime in Newcastle, but as was customary in those days, his body was hung on a gibbet in sight of his crime, at the spot which is now known as Curry’s point.

Today, St Mary’s Lighthouse is run as a Visitor Centre and although no longer used as a working lighthouse, it still acts as a visual warning to ships in the area as the rocky outcrop remains treacherous.

I have heard that there are sites around suitable for diving, there is a nearby golf course and the beautiful beach leading into Whitley Bay is a short walk away. All very conveniently situated near Whitley Bay Holiday Park, ideal for caravanners wanting to experience the great British seaside holiday!

By Lesley Tan

Lesley Tan
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