Why you must visit Durham coast this summer
Durham Heritage Coast is often overlooked in the North East when we think of our coastline but it promises adventure, treasure hunting and great places to eat. Here’s all the information you’ll need for a great day out on the Durham coast this summer.
Expect to find rugged cliffs, dramatic landscapes and beautiful flower filled, cliff top walks. On the beaches below you will find tranquil coves, each with their own unique features,from rock formations, beautiful sea glass and ruby red pools left over from chemical spills in years gone by. Plus there are a great selection of independent cafes and lunch spots that you won’t want to miss.
No visit to the Durham coast is complete without a stroll along Seaham beach, locally known as Seaglass Beach. The stretch of beach that lies beneath the quaint harbour town of Seaham is world-famous for its abundance of shimmering sea glass. Expect to find treasures washed up onto the shore with each incoming tide from the old bottleworks around a hundred years ago. Be warned it can get quite addictive. This stretch of beach welcomes visitors from all over the world looking for a piece of famous Seaham Seaglass. Just above the beach is Tommy, one of the best-loved sculptures in the North East. He was designed and built by local artist Ray Lonsdale in 2014 and is the guardian of the heritage coastline, Tommy is a much loved and well visited statue.
Blast beach and Nose’s Point
Fancy visiting a movie set? Blast beach is famous for its opening scenes of Alien 3 and when you visit you can see why. Blast Beach is a unique beach due to its red pools and cliffs from chemical waste dumped here years ago. It was, in the past, one of the most polluted coastlines in the world so it is fantastic to see how far it has come due to the restoration work that has taken place over the years. Access, as with most of the beaches on the Durham coastline, is via a steep descent. You will be greeted with unusual rock formations that tower the shore. This beach has a prehistoric feel to it with its rugged bay and red mars like seascape. A hit with little ones who feel like they’ve stepped back in time.
Hawthorne Hive Beach
Get arty on Hawthorn Hive beach is somewhat of a hidden treasure on the Durham Coast. As it’s off the beaten track, you can expect it to be quiet and unspoilt most of the time. It’s definitely the place to go if you want a peaceful spot where you can enjoy a quiet walk in the woods on the way to the beach. Make your way across the railway tracks and you’ll be greeted by the sight of gorgeous pebble art on the beach below. Once you reach the beach, have a go at creating your own art or and leave your mark behind on this secluded beach.
Great lunch spots you won’t want to miss.
Seaham is probably the best town on the Durham coast for great food and drinks venues. It’s a lively harbour town with plenty to offer and something to suit everyone. Expect to find quirky cafes, ice cream parlours and independent cafes
Here are a few of my favourite’s that I’ve tried and tested many times.
North Beach Coffee Bar sits on the gateway to the Durham coast and has great views through the windows that surround the circular building. Serving up a great selection of drinks, cakes and both brunch and lunch, it’s the perfect place to start your Durham coast adventure.
The Lookout, in the marina, has panoramic views of the coast from its upstairs balcony – a really gorgeous but popular spot. The Lookout serves up a great selection of food and drinks, perfect for a brunch, a lunch time stop off or a long coffee with a view.
Lickety Split is a retro ice cream bar which serves up the most fantastic sundaes to enjoy while listening to rock and roll on the jukebox. Even the staff are dressed in retro outfits. A really fun and tasty venue and as you can imagine, a great hit with little ones.
Slice pizza is a cool New York style pizza slice take out operating from a small venue behind the main street. It’s a fantastic little place to stop off at and grab a slice to have on the go as you wander along the marina or seafront on a summer’s night.
No visit to the Durham coast is complete without fish and chips and Downey’s is the place to head to. On the front street, it’s perfectly situated for a lunch time dash to take back to the beach. The food is always cooked to perfection and they have a great selection for children too. There is a restaurant if you would prefer to sit in.
There is so much to see and do along Durham coast, new places just waiting to be explored and so many caves and coves brimming with adventure. To top it off you’ll be spoilt for choice with wonderful eateries and take outs. Let me know if you go and visit any of my recommendations, I’d love to hear from you.