South Shields Guide: Littlehaven Beach

For todays blog I have done a straw man structure, hoping to provoke some comments and discussion and will flesh it out a bit more tomorrow before adding it to our South Shields guide on our website. Input welcome.

I’m not really sure where to start with Littlehaven Beach (sorry ‘little beach’ guys, it’s what I’ve always called it) but others refer to it as the little beach or Herd Sands.

Littlehaven Beach (Photo: Steven Lomas)

I just love it so much. But really couldn’t pick a favourite South Shields beach. I love them all equally.

There are so many amazing ways to approach it and to start your time exploring here.

I love approaching from the west with the elevated sweeping views of the River Tyne, piers and sea from the Lawe Top (Lawe Road) then walk down the steps (of doom – as referred to by local runners who use the steps in training sessions), or though the North Marine Park (which has been renovated recently using lottery funds).

The view from the steps of doom! (Photo: Stephen Moran)

If you come via Lawe Road the great Arbeia roman fort is well worth a visit. The Harbour Lights pub on Lawe Road also has great views and there are cannons on the roundabout. My kids loved playing here when they were a little younger pretending to sink boats in the harbour!

Two replica Napoleonic War Cannons on Lawe Top, Lawe Road (Photo: Steven Lomas)

It is also lovely approaching the Littlehaven beach from either the south if walking from the big beach and over the South Tyne Pier or kinda from the north/west from along the riverside path.

It’s basically the centre of the universe!

The golden sands path to the Littlehaven Beach (Photo: Steven Lomas)

Haha! Just kidding.

There is loads of parking available in the council run car park adjacent to the beach.

Littlehaven beach is dog friendly all year round.

It is a section of mainly sandstone fine sand hemmed in between the Herd Groyne Pier to the north and the South Tyne Pier to, well the south!

The Herd Groyne standing on it’s pier with the Tyne North Pier in the background (Photo: Stephen Moran)

When you stand on this beach you literally do feel like it is the gateway to the great oceans of the world.

With the River Tyne pouring out into the North Sea (then sucking the sea water back in as it’s a tidal river) and given South Shields rich maritime history I often think back to how many amazing shipping vessels have arrived and left this great town via this point to faraway lands all over the world.

The gateway to the faraway lands (Photo: Stephen Moran)

Within the LittleHaven Hotel is a nice hidden gem in that not many locals seem to know about or use it. You can buy a drink in the bar, and sit outside in the summer in their beer garden to take in the lovely views over the river to Tynemouth, and the Priory, Lord Collingwood Monument, etc!  This is a fantastic place to watch the sunset over the River Tyne.

Cormorants (local sea birds) resting on the remnants of an old jetty (Photo Steven Lomas)

Coming from the Littlehaven hotel car park, set back behind the sand dunes at the rear of the beach there are some funny sculptures called the “conversation piece” and kids of all ages tend to love these wee men!

Part of The Conversation Piece. My mates beautiful mam famously referred to them as Weebles (Photo: Steven Lomas)

From the Littlehaven beach you can walk to the end of the little pier where the Groyne (Red coloured) lighthouse is and along the Littlehaven Beach toward the South Tyne Pier.

The beach is good for rock pooling near the Groyne Pier when the tide is out, and also for seabirds, seals and bottle nosed dolphins are other visitors.

Grey (?) Seal pup on Littlehaven Beach (Photo: Steven Lomas)

If, unlike this cheeky chappie above, you don’t like sand or are not able to tackle it, you can travel along the lovely promenade running along this beach which is prettily lit up at night with coloured lights.

Include info about the ‘eye sculpture’

The eye sculpture (Photo: Stephen Moran)

There’s a nice Minchella’s cafe set just back off this promenade near the fairground end of it where you can get coffees, cafe food and ice creams and theres a little sitting area here.

Looking back, north toward the Groyne and Tynemouth Priory in the background (Photo: Steve Lomas)

At the far (south) and of the beach is the South Tyne Pier and ‘the fair’ or the Ocean Beach Pleasure Park to give it it’s full name.

We will maybe cover those in future blogs.

Thanks for reading, we will add some more detail to this tomorrow but if you have anything more you think we can add before then we’d love to hear you comments.

Cheers, Colin.

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