In spite of us living by the sea, Whitley Bay was an instant hit with both humans and Wuby, my dog. The town itself has plenty of dog-friendly beaches* and cafes and wonderful walks all around the area.
We've visited twice in less than a year and both times stayed at Whitley Bay Holiday Park (owned by Parkdean but booked through Hoseasons), which has a number of dog-friendly caravans to suit various budgets and party sizes, and also a great dog-walking area on the site. There is a small extra charge for your dog(s). The staff are helpful and friendly and the park is well laid out and signposted, with everything you need for a pleasant self-catering holiday. If you have mobility issues and let them know when you book, they can usually allocate you a spot closer to parking.The site shop has a small range of food and household essentials but the town centre shops and restaurants are only around a 10 minute drive away. There’s also a bar/restaurant (which we didn’t try) with regular entertainment, children’s activities and a small but pleasant swimming pool on site. If you want a bigger pool, there’s one around a mile up the road.
Big hits with us all were the Barking Bistro (dog cafe, pictured with Wuby placing her order) just on the edge of the town centre and the Rendezvous Cafe, right by the beach. Both of these actively welcome dogs, though the Rendezvous probably has a better selection of food for humans. Barking Bistro does a lovely doggy afternoon tea.
There are great walks from the door, with various footpaths – all well marked – but favourites were (a) a circular along the coast path to Seaton Sluice and then back via Holywell Dean – probably around a 7 mile round trip and (b) along the prom and beaches to Tynemouth (2 to 3 miles away), where every bar and café seemed to have a dog water bowl outside and dogs are allowed in the castle grounds. But don’t panic if you don’t want long walks – there are fantastic footpaths close to the holiday park and the beach is about 200 metres from the entrance.
Being on the Northumbrian border, there are plenty of places to drive to with your dog for a day or part-day out, such as Alnmouth, Holy Island and Bamburgh. Online information is generally good with regard to where and when dogs are allowed. If you enjoy reading, it’s worth a trip to Barter Books in Alnwick where – yes – dogs are allowed in the shop, water bowls are provided and you can take your dog in their café while you enjoy a superb lunch.
*the few “no dogs allowed” beaches are clearly marked but you can usually spot them from a distance away as there aren’t any dogs on them. Everywhere else, there are plenty of canine chums for your dog to run around with.