An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

St Mary's Island, Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear, UK
Distance: 2 km
Difficulty: Easy
Method: Walking
Wow Factor: 7 out of 10

Key Facts

  • Location: north of Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear
  • Size: very small
  • Terrain: well-paved causeway and rocky foreshore
  • Access: tidal causeway
  • Height gain: 101 metres
  • Map: OS Explorer 316
  • Starting point: car park for St Mary’s lighthouse
  • Accommodation/food:

    a small cafe (if open) and toilets is available on the island

  • Island Summary:

    as one of the few haul out places for grey seals on this coastline a visit to St Mary’s is a must for watching these hugely appealing marine beasties – the pups of which are simply adorable. Together with the exciting climb up the lighthouse tower with its expansive views of the north-east coast, the quirky museum and its ‘Feely Box’ in the lighhouse keepers cottages this is the place that Five Goes to Demon’s Rocks was filmed!! The Famous Five that is… don’t forget lashings of ginger beer.

  • Look out for:
    • Grey seals
    • Eider ducks
    • Rock pools
  • Route description:

    the route uses the rocky foreshore around the base of the lighthouse. Avoid the seals by staying close to the lighthouse perimeter. The rocks can be a bit slippery

  • Getting there:

    just north of Whitley Bay. Follow the brown tourist signs from the Whitley Bay turn-off on the A19 or from the end of the A1058 out of Newcastle.

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