Play Hard

HLN explores…Whitley Bay

Here’s why you need to visit this revitalised seaside town...

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 14.08.2021

Nothing beats breathing in some fresh sea air to recharge ourselves after a long week at work – except when you can also be shopping at some cool indie boutiques, indulge in some top-quality self-care and enjoy some of the tastiest artisan food and drink going at the same time, of course. That’s why we’ve decided to spend the day at Whitley Bay.

Home to Spanish City and the beaut St Mary’s Lighthouse, it feels like this coastal town has a real sense of buzz about it at the moment – and it’s not hard to see why.

New independent businesses are popping up here at every turn. Let us enlighten you about some of the area’s newest and most exciting residents with our guide to the perfect day out in Whitley Bay…


Let’s make sure our day gets off to the best start possible – with a good stretch! After a week of being stuck behind our desks, there’s nothing that feels better than meeting our friends over at Shilling & Black on Park View and revitalising our bodies and minds with their wide variety of movement classes, all based on yoga, Pilates, barre and dance.

Slow things down with Slow Flow Yoga class and release all the tension in your body while moving mindfully with sequences that create a cooling flow of moment. Or, if you’re wanting to start the weekend with a little more energy, spread some happiness and break out into dance in a Choroe 45 class. Whatever your level of previous dance experience (ours is zero), here you can explore a fusion of lyrical and contemporary dance with specialist choreography putting your grooving skills to the test. So. Much. Fun.

After a Shilling & Black class, we’re feeling full of energy and all the good vibes we need to really seas the day. So what are we going to do next? Why, treat ourselves to a little retail therapy, of course!

The best thing about Whitley Bay is that the businesses you’ll find here aren’t the ones sponsoring your typical high street haul. And if you’re looking for one coastal gem that’s guaranteed to make your purchase feel extra special, look no further than Happy Planet Creative Arts.

We all tend to lean towards gifting our loved ones flowers, wine or chocolates, but this award-winning social enterprise gift shop and the gallery have unique, ethical gifts made by 26 local artists and fair-trade artisans that we can promise you won’t find anywhere else.

Specialising in felted creations, local artist and owner Gail Curry also sell ceramics, glass, cards, paintings, wooden items, recycled metal, soaps, textiles and craft kits – so, plenty to choose from then.

It’s thirsty work shopping, so let’s stop off at Rustic Cup for a little caffeine pick-me-up to refuel ourselves. Vibrant café by day, relaxed bar by evening, this excellent espresso bar and kitchen offers local speciality coffee with a characteristically Rustic twist.

Ready to let loose and embrace those weekend vibes already? Hey, it’s 5 pm somewhere! Treat yourself to a cheeky cocktail, glass (or bottle) of wine or a chilled local craft beer (or three), sit back and soak in the sun, sea and spirit of Whitley Bay.

While you’re here, why not sample some of the delicious healthy food on offer, too? After all, an army marches on its stomach! From caramel toffee syrup waffles to vegan burgers and Greek salad wraps, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Time to walk off your lunch with another spot of retail therapy – but this time, why not make your shopping wellness-focused? And in this neck of the woods (well, coast), we know just the spot: Infusion CBD.

This family-run business sells all-natural, organic and fully recyclable CBD products that will help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress and chronic pain. But don’t think you need to be suffering to reap the rewards of this handy supplement – a little CBD as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle can also offer more general benefits, such as improving digestion, leveling out your sleep pattern and encouraging relaxation.

So whether you fancy some CBD bath salts for when you’re washing off the Whitley Bay sand later on, or you want a handy hit on-the-go with their industry-leading CBD chewing gum, we’re pretty sure Infusion CBD have got just what it takes for you to enjoy a relaxing evening after a day of exploring.

And the best news? Infusion CBD are currently offering a 20% discount on their premium CBD oil drops in-store and online. Plus, with every purchase made, one tree gets planted – so you can be helping look after the environment while looking after yourself. It’s an all-around winner!



A day at the coast wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach. And what better way to relax than by getting lost in a book with the sound of the waves lapping the shore in the background?

We love a good story here at HLN, so we know just the bookstore bolthole to find your next read – and we’re chuffed to bits that it’s ran by our friends over at Forum Books, who have recently opened their Whitley Bay outpost – the bound – on Park View.

Eclectic, original and endlessly enthusiastic about the written word, the bound stock a hand-picked, eye-popping range of books for you to choose from. And as jetting off to an exotic beach looks pretty unlikely this year, indulge in those vay-cay vibes right here in Whitley Bay and escape the world for a chapter or two.

Fancy a snack? Us too! That’s why we’ll be heading straight to baking maestros PureKnead to give us our next hit of delicious foodie goodness.

As soon as you step through the doors of this artisan bakery, you’re greeted with that unbeatable scent of freshly-baked sourdough, cakes and pastries – all handmade by their team of highly skilled bakers using only the purest and highest quality ingredients. Keeping us healthy without making us sacrifice all our favourite carby goodies?! We love these guys!

Trust us – whether you’re fancying a cheeky croissant or a crusty loaf (which you can spread with homemade jams and pickles), a bespoke cake or a crumbling pastry, PureKnead won’t disappoint.

Right, you’ve got your freshly-baked sourdough loaf, now maybe you fancy getting some best of British cheeses or cured meats to really take your sandwich lunch to the next level? Yep, you guessed it – Whitley Bay has got you covered in this capacity, too. Enter: Smorgasbord Catering Company.

The deli here is chock-full of locally-made produce from some of the finest artisan producers in the North East. Think everything from chutneys, honey, jam and biscuits to beer, spirits and wine. Basically, everything you need to take your beach picnic game to new heights!

All good for the daytime, but having a bit of a gathering back at yours later on? Serve your friends and family with the wow factor with a sensational spread, courtesy of Smorgasbord. Oh, didn’t we mention? These guys are seriously impressive caterers too. Specialising in beautifully presented grazing boxes, platters and tables, Smorgasbord are guaranteed to help you make your next occasion extra special.


Ok, time to freshen up. Forgot your perfume? Don’t sweat it – NorthburN are the North’s only fragrance house and create their own fragrance blends and perfumes to produce their truly scent-sational range of home and body products, all guaranteed to keep you smelling of roses, (or, you know, pineapple and birch, deepest pomegranate or Sicilian Bergamot).

Not sure which fragrance to go for? Put your trust in the super-friendly NorthburN team, who have put themselves through extensive training to make sure they’re fully equipped to help you choose the product(s) that will most suit your personality and lifestyle.

Set the ambiance when you’re back at home with a gorgeous new candle; relax from a diffuser or wax melt, or unwind as you soak in the tub with a scented bath bomb. The opportunities for a little indulgence and relaxation are endless here!


What better way to finish off your day out in Whitley Bay than by tucking into some quality food and winding down with a chilled glass of wine or a delicious cocktail?! Dil & The Bear has got our evening sorted.

Dilaila Galbraith, the well-traveled owner of this popular coastal hotspot, has dedicated her business to bringing flavours from all around the globe to this little nook of the North East – and aren’t we all the luckier for it!

This pretty café by day and café-bar by night really know how to treat us right. Every day you can tuck into exotic breakfasts and afternoon teas or simply sit back with a brew and a slice of something nice. In the evenings, there are plenty of nibbles and picky tea platters that go down soooo well with a couple of drinks, although we always find it tough saying ‘no’ to any of the burgers here, too.

Our top tip? Visit Dil & The Bear on Friday and Saturday evenings. From 6 pm to 7 pm, you can enjoy a beautiful cheese or meat picky platter with a bottle of red or white house wine, all for just £40 – so that’s your next mate-date or date night sorted! Talk about the perfect end to a perfect day out exploring Whitley Bay.



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