I’ve been lucky enough to live in North Tyneside for almost the entirety of my life, so I’m no stranger to all the wonderful things it has to offer residents and visitors. From Blue Flag beaches and famous fish shacks, to beautiful country parks and quaint, independent cafes, North Tyneside is a lovely place to live. But did you know that this region is home to some of the best cycling routes in the North East and some of the most unique routes in the country?
My Dad has always been a keen recreational cyclist and he’s often persuaded me to go along for the ride! He’s shown me a side to North Tyneside that you wouldn’t really see otherwise – there’s nothing quite like cycling by the Mouth of the Tyne at sunrise! I’ve put together an example route, with details of all the things to look out for along the way, to show you just why North Tyneside is the cycling hub of the North East.
Rising Sun Country Park – Silverlink/Cobalt Business Park
Our region’s heritage is rich and industrial, leaving us with a fantastic network of waggonways dating back to the 1800s. North Tyneside Council’s website tells us that in 2000, the Council bid for over £2m of funding to restore more than 30 miles of these old waggonways – thankfully, they were awarded the money and brought us some brilliant cycle routes!
The first part of the route, from Rising Sun Country Park to Cobalt Business Park, is almost exclusively on these waggonways. Start your ride off with a coffee in the lovely Rising Sun Café and explore this lovely, leafy park on your bike. The hedgerow, shrub and grassland on this part of the route are all home to a wide range of wildlife – this is such a fantastic thing to have in an area so close to a town centre! Make your way towards Cobalt Business Park – a thriving business centre, very close to the shops and restaurants of Silverlink Shopping Park. (This part of the route loosely corresponds to the Council’s Cycle Route D!)
Silverlink – Royal Quays Marina
This section of the route incorporates areas of National Route 10 and our good old waggonways, ending up at the historic Albert Edward Docks at Royal Quays Marina. Look at out for evidence of our region’s industrial past – whether it be ship-building or mining, there are clues of our heritage everywhere you look!
Passing through Cobalt Business Park, you’ll then cycle through Percy Main on Cycle Route E and come out at these wonderful docks (you might know them as the place you catch the ferry to Amsterdam!) The Royal Quays Outlet Centre is also the ideal place to refuel, with a variety of cafes offering light food and hot and cold drinks.
Royal Quays Marina – North Shields Fish Quay
Cycle along the coast from Royal Quays Marina and you’ll come to a most fascinating fish quay, dating back to the 13th century! The Fish Quay at North Shields is constantly being redeveloped and refreshed to bring you a wonderful place eat, drink, explore and purchase fresh fish and seafood.
Stop for a typical North Shields fish supper/lunch at one of the many eateries along the Quay before you set off again, heading in the direction of Taylor Seafood – somewhere my family and I have been buying our seafood for years!
North Shields – Tynemouth – Whitley Bay
Join the North Sea Cycle Route at North Shields Fish Quay and travel along some truly spectacular coastline as you cycle towards Whitley Bay. This area of North Tyneside has probably seen the most redevelopment in recent years and Tynemouth has become an extremely trendy place to spend the day. With bazaars and boutiques galore, and Marshall’s Fryery by the Priory and Riley’s Fish Shack amongst other places to visit, Tynemouth is an absolute delight. If you get to Tynemouth in the morning, the sunrise over the Mouth of the Tyne is a sight to behold.
Get pedalling along the Whitley Bay seafront, which has been regenerated to accommodate and complement the refurbishment of the North East’s beloved Spanish City. Cycling along the promenade at Whitley Bay, it really hits home how far this area of the North East has come and how beautiful it really is.
Whitley Bay – Holywell Dene
After snapping an Instagram-worthy picture of St Mary’s Lighthouse, get back in the saddle and head towards Holywell Dene – a wonderful woodland space straddling the border between South East Northumberland and North Tyneside. Explore the Dene via a roughly carved out path and take in the enchanting woodland and trickling Seaton Burn river. The Beehive Inn at Earsdon isn’t too far away if you want to make a quick detour for a tipple! Next, make your way towards Backworth!
Holywell Dene – Killingworth
Once you’ve reached Backworth, you’ll find yourself on National Route 10 West, which will take you to the top of Killingworth. If you’ve bypassed The Beehive Inn, check out The Killingworth Arms in Killingworth Village for a decent lunch, carvery or refreshing drink.
After cycling through Killingworth, it really won’t take you very long at all to complete the full circular route back to Rising Sun Country Park. Make your way through Killingworth, then Forest Hall and you’ll be back at your starting point, feeling great after completing a route of approximately 23 miles through the varying landscapes of North Tyneside.
Please be aware that I am no cycling expert, nor do I know all of the technical terms for the different routes and paths in the area! If you’d like more in-depth information about aspects of the route I’ve described, I’d recommend downloading the maps available on the North Tyneside Council website.
Enjoy and happy cycling!