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South shields is a good day out it has a lovely long stretch of beach which seems to go on forever, children have great fun playing in the sand. There is a fun fair next to the beach which has lots of exciting rides and is not too badly priced, there are amusements, burger stands and ice cream vans there so plenty of choice for everyone. Across the road from the fun fair there is a really nice park which has a lake where you can feed the ducks, a play park and also has a train which you can pay to have a ride on and it takes you around the park. South Shields also has a few good bars and pubs so a good night out drinking could be had by all, or if you do not want to go drinking there are many nice restaurants where you can enjoy a good meal. I personally love South Shields market as you can get lots of items really cheap including DVDs, books, toys and clothes. Next to where they have the market there are lots of shops such as New look, Mothercare etc. There is also a really big Asda in South Shields which is very good for clothes.
I wrote this on helphound as well.
On the south bank of the Tyne, seven miles east of Newcastle and a few miles north of Sunderland, South Shields has been inhabited since the Stone Age. It's the birthplace of Monty Python's Eric Idle, Hollywood directors Ridley and Tony Scott, authors Catherine Cookson and Elinor Brent-Dyer and the actress Dame Flora Robson, as well as the location of some of the best beaches in the whole of Britain. The first recorded inhabitants of the town were from a Celtic tribe called the Brigantes, who founded a settlement called Caer Urfa ("The Town on the Rock") and used the river to trade with the Phoenicians. The Romans came in AD80, built a fort to supply Hadrian's Wall that can still be seen today, and started ferry services using boatmen from the Tigris (in modern day Iraq), starting a tradition of Arab settlers continued by sailors from the Yemen in the early 20th century. Although there were race riots in 1919 and 1930 the Arab community become a permanent part of the town - Muhammad Ali opened a mosque here in 1977 and the locals proudly call themselves Sanddancers rather than Geordies or Mackems. South Shields grew around the river and the sea. Even its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Shieling, meaning a fisherman's hut. The first big shipyard opened in 1720 and William Wouldhave, parish clerk at a local church, designed the world's first lifeboat seventy years later. South Shields Maritime College opened in 1837 and is still a world leader today attracting students from all corners of the globe. Nowadays the shipyards, quarries and coal mines are all but memories, but there is still plenty of life left in the town. ATTRACTIONS THE BEACHES AND THE SEAFRONT If you walk down Ocean Road, the first beach you'll come to is Sandhaven, which has some lovely dunes and a Blue Flag for cleanliness. Known as the big beach, this is the most popular in the summer and runs for three quarters o
f a mile between the South Pier and the Leas (where the Great North Run finishes). There are some excellent pubs on the edge of the sand and an elevated walkway behind the dunes leads to the amphitheatre and the Marsden Rattler, an old railway carriage now converted into a pub and restaurant. You'll also find Ocean Beach Pleasure Park here, which first opened in 1897. The rides aren't that exciting but the new ten pin bowling centre is good and you can easily pick up discount vouchers throughout the summer. Just to the north, between the South Pier and the Tyne, and down a flight of steps from North Marine Park, is Littlehaven. The small beach here is much quieter, perfect if you want to get away from the crowds and fairground noise. Don't miss The Conversation Piece while you're here, 22 bronze life-size figures sculpted by the Spanish artist Juan Munoz (www.schoolshows.demon.co.uk/resources/articles/weebles.htm). The locals call them the weebles because of their circular bases and they've become something of a landmark in the town. But my favourite beaches are on the other side of Sandhaven, especially Trow Rocks, which is about a mile south of the Tyne. The beach here is wild and remote, with an old gun emplacement, limestone cliffs and the grassy Leas up above. Further on is Marsden Bay, with the famous Marsden Rock - now without the arch but still home to colonies of Kittiwakes, Cormorants and Fulmars - and the Marsden Grotto Pub. The area used to be a haunt for smugglers, who would drink at a hostelry hewn into the rock by a local quarryman called Jack the Blaster in 1782. The pub has been closed for a few years now but it's due to re-open soon, and it's definitely one of the oddest places in the North East to sup a few pints. PARKS Ocean Road and the Wouldhave Memorial, where the Tyne, the second oldest lifeboat in Britain, is displayed, separate North and South Marine Park, both of which were cr
e ated at the end of the 19th century out of ballast hills formed by ships from all over the world. The north park is smaller, with a large boating lake (mistakenly mined by the Germans in 1941), hundreds of swans and a miniature steam railway for the kids. Across the road, South Marine Park has some lovely floral displays and continues all the way up to Lawe Top with great views over the North Sea. FESTIVALS The Cookson Festival takes place every year between the beginning of June and the end of August. There are free concerts in the Amphitheatre on Sea Road, brass bands in West Park and open air events in Bents Park, King Street and Sandhaven. Everything is free, and performers this year included The Animals, Bad Manners, Curiosity Killed The Cat, Five Star and ABC. The highlight of this year's festival was the Cultures Together parade with performers from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. THE MARKET South Shields is home to one of the biggest markets in the region. The marketplace, which was bombed to the point of dereliction in World War 2, is a short walk away from both the Metro station and the ferry landing at the end of King Street, in a cobbled square with the old 18th century Town Hall in the centre. The main market takes place every Monday and Saturday selling everything from flowers to art works. There is also a Flea Market on Fridays and an extra market day on Wednesdays between Easter and October. St Hilda's Church, just off the south side of the square, was first built in AD650, although the present building dates from 1790. SHOPPING, EATING OUT AND NIGHTLIFE The main shopping street in the town is King Street. You'll find all the usual high street names here like Woolworth's and Marks and Spencer, although my kids prefer to do their shopping in Newcastle city centre. Walking away from the market, King Street becomes Ocean Road at the corner just past McDonald's. Oce
an Road leads right up to the seafront and is famous in the North East for its ten Indian restaurants. The Naseeb is my favourite, though there's not too much difference between them all. Of course, no trip to the seaside would be complete without fish and chips. The best places in town are both in Ocean Road - the huge Colman's and the walk-in Red Hut, which takes its name from the hut on the seafront where it used to be located, where the staff would take your orders while you queued and have them ready by the time you reached the front. For ice cream you can't do better than Minchellas. They have parlours in Ocean Road and Sandhaven and a kiosk at Marsden Bay. http://www.southshields-sanddancers.co.uk/eating.htm There are over 80 pubs in and around the town centre with the Alum House (next to the ferry landing) and the Dolly Peel on Commercial Road catering for the real ale drinkers, and bars like The Criterion, Rosie Malones, Raffles and Kirkpatricks packed at weekends. The main drinking areas are around the Town Hall (a beautiful building) at the top of Fowler Street and around the corner of Ocean Road and King Street. http://www.regularsreunited.co.uk/towns/south-shields/tyne-wear/ has a full list. SPORTING FACILITIES The biggest leisure centre in the town is Temple Park, which has a swimming pool with a 50 metre long aqua slide. Except for that and Gypsies Green athletics stadium there's not much else around to be honest, unless you want to see the South Shields football team. Formed in 1897, the club was elected to the second division of the Football League in 1919 before they folded in 1930. Today they play in the Northern League, and their ground is next door to Bede Metro station in Jarrow, a couple of minutes from the Barbour Factory Shop (the company started out with a stall in Shields Market) and ten minutes from St Paul's Church and Bede's World.
http://www.geocities.com/south_shieldsfc/index.html THE CUSTOMS HOUSE Built in 1860, the Customs House was once the centre of maritime trade in South Shields, though when I was a kid it the only life inside the building was created by thousands of pigeons. It's been fully restored in the last decade or so and now houses a cinema, art gallery, theatre and restaurant. Even if you're not going inside it?s still worth making the short walk from the ferry landing to see the old cobbled streets and riverside buildings nearby, or at least the ones that weren't moved brick by brick to Beamish Museum. www.customshouse.co.uk ARBEIA ROMAN FORT Built on a rocky outcrop by the Romans in AD160, the ruins of Arbeia have been transformed in recent years. The reconstructed West Gate and Commander's House are superb, and admission to both is completely free. Hop on the ferry to North Shields afterwards for Segedumum, which was recently voted one of the top 100 museums in the world! http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/cityguide_travel/city_guide/arbeia_roman_fort_and_muse um/ SOUTER LIGHTHOUSE A short walk south of Marsden Bay, Souter Lighthouse was the first in the world to be powered by electricity when it opened in 1871. It's now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public between March and October. http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/cityguide_travel/city_guide/souter_lighthouse_1/ SOUTH SHIELDS MUSEUM The museum is located at the bottom of Ocean Road, opposite Asda and across from the statue of the man with the donkey, John Simpson Kirkpatrick. Though born and brought up in South Shields (where he worked on the donkey rides at the beach), Kirkpatrick is a national hero in Australia. Serving as a field ambulance stretcher bearer he used abandoned donkeys to help him carry more than 300 wounded soldiers to safety during 24 days of fighting at Gallipoli If you're interested i
n reading about an unknown British hero, I'd highly recommend the following site: http://www.anzacday.org.au/spirit/hero/chp00.html The museum is being refurbished at the moment and is due to re-open early next year with improved displays on South Tyneside and Catherine Cookson. The town's tourist information office is still open at the front of the building. GETTING TO SOUTH SHIELDS The Metro is the easiest way to get to South Shields if you're coming from Newcastle or the Airport. The journey from Newcastle city centre takes less than thirty minutes, and South Shields station is located in the middle of the main shopping area, King Street. The Tyne Ferry landing is just behind the Market Place at Mill Dam, though you'd have to get the Metro from Newcastle to North Shields first. The town also has great road links, with the A194 and A19 both linking to the A1(M). www.tyneandwearmetro.co.uk www.s-tyneside-mbc.gov.uk/visitingus/travel.asp An open top sightseeing bus has started running this summer, calling at 12 stops including Bede's World in Jarrow, Souter Lighthouse, the Customs House and South Shields metro station. The service runs in July and August and tickets are £4 for adults and £2 for children. www.citysightseeing.co.uk PLACES TO STAY The most expensive accommodation is at the Sea Hotel on Sea Road and the Little Haven beside the beach of the same name. Both have excellent locations, the Little Haven looking out over the harbour, seafront and Tynemouth Priory. There are several guesthouses along Ocean Road, two of the best being the Ainsley and the Aquarius, as well as caravan parks at Sandhaven and Lizard Lane. http://website.lineone.net/~d.ord/aspsosh.htm is an excellent website, full of the history of South Shields and modern and period photographs. http://www.gonortheast.co.uk/attraction_pics/attractions_st.html has a full list o
f attractions along with details of bus services.