Down at the bottom of the North Shields banks of the River Tyne there is a very popular ‘place to be’, which has been transformed from a once, busy working Fish Quay with fishing boats, The Mission To Deep Sea Fishermen, fish related businesses and a ferry point, into ‘the place to be’ in North Shields. Take scenic walks, relax with a drink in a pub, eat from one of a host of restaurants and cafes, or just gaze around the river scene.
My mother and grandmother both worked in factories and other places in the area and my uncle owned a kipper factory where my auntie used to work. The buildings are still there and with such a strong family connection, when I walk around the area it brings back loads of memories.
There is a great view of South Shields, the Mouth of The Tyne and up river towards Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Royal Quays Marina is in sight too, so there are lots of chances to watch giant cruise ships full of holiday makers sailing off to distant lands. It is a great sight to see them all on deck waving to anyone who happens to be watching. There are plenty of other giant-sized boats sailing up and down the Tyne too.
My friend and I especially love to go to The Quay Taphouse which is a great pub on the quayside with a special offer on certain days and times. A bottle of wine and three tapas for around 18 pounds is well worth it and enough for two people. It is delicious! You can see loads of river traffic through the windows and I spend my time running in and out with my camera phone.
We also frequently visit Sambuca. This Italian chain has two restaurants on the quayside, very reasonably priced and the staff and food are great!
A short walk up Tanners Bank and you come to another nice pub, The Lodge. Well worth a visit, very quaint and full of old world charm – NO FOOTBALL on the TV!
There is also a great traditional shop on the quayside called Wm. Wight Ltd. Famous for selling traditional sweets, food and all sorts with lovely friendly staff.
One of the older buildings on the quay is Old Low Light Heritage Centre (The Net), Clifford’s Fort. This has been turned into a great venue for talks, exhibits, having coffee and cake and has great views of the Tyne from the viewing platform upstairs. Many local artists perform there to entertain the visitors with their music. Two favourites of mine are Geordie George (George Sturrock) and Lindsay O’Neill-Brown. There is an outside area where you may relax and enjoy fabulous views. Recently my friend Steve Willis has set up his recording studios there. Steve’s Timmerman Recordings is aiming to reach out to all the young hopeful musicians in the Tyneside area and help them make an impact in the music industry.
A little further up the river is the ‘new’ ferry point which was recently the focus of our Crossing The Tyne Buskers Festival held for the first time this year. Next year’s festival is being planned at this moment. Get on the ferry and enjoy a trip to the other side of the river, South Shields.
There are lots of walks to enjoy in the area. You can walk along the newly landscaped slopes up to the marina, or up the stairs along the riverbanks for even more spectacular views of the fish quay and river. Also popular is the Stan Laurel Park (he is from the area too) which is situated where the old Dockwray Square was, in itself, a place steeped in local history. You can walk further into North Shields town, which is a bustling community full of character.
If you choose to walk towards the river mouth the views are equally as good and you will find the imposing, massive, grey Sir James Knott Memorial Flats (Knotts Flats) with some of the best views of the river and South Shields. My mum and Nana and Granda used to live in Knotts Flats and I spent many an evening there when my mum and dad had a night out. The flats are on the left and the river mouth straight ahead with the famous two piers guarding the entrance to The Tyne in sight.
You can see the Black Middens below the flats, an unfortunately positioned mass of rocks in the River Tyne, which have been responsible for many a ship wreck in the past. You are now into the Tynemouth area and can, in fact, walk right around the headland into the picturesque village of Tynemouth.
If you are in the area, take a look at The North Shields Fish Quay, full of history, character and charm. You won’t regret it!