58) St Mary's Island Causeway, Whitley Bay NE26 4RS
About St. Mary’s
Reached between the tides via a short causeway, St. Mary's has all the fascination of a miniature, part-time island.
The Lighthouse, completed in 1898 on a hazardous coast for shipping, remained operational until 1984 when it was superseded by modern navigational techniques. Since then the Lighthouse and former keepers' cottages have been operated as a visitor centre by North Tyneside Council.
The surrounding Nature Reserve contains an area of rockpools, clifftop grassland, a beach and newly created wetland habitats.
More able visitors can climb the 137 steps to the top of the Lighthouse for the most spectacular views of the North East coast. If you cannot manage the steps, a video facility allows you to experience the same views, live and in colour, at ground level. Other exhibits explain the history of the Lighthouse and give an insight into the wildlife of St. Mary’s Nature Reserve.
There is a shop on the island the can be visited without having to pay the Lighthouse admission charge. They have an extensive and unusual range of
gifts, souvenirs, books, toys and cards and sell hot drinks and refreshments. A ramp, from the causeway to the island, provides an easier approach for visitors in wheelchairs, prams and buggies.
Do check the lighthouse's website to see what facilities are open on your planned date of visiting.
St Mary's Island and lighthouse is found at the end of Whitley Bay. A small island that is accessed via a causeway that is covered and uncovered depending on the state of the tide. The route is very short but if you cross the causeway you find yourself on an island surrounded by a seal colony. I park in the carpark on the approach road -and make my way down the road and to the concrete causeway.
You start on road then go down a steady road to the actual concrete causeway. The causeway is in reasonable condition with a few potholes to avoid. Once on the island you have to go up the slope to the base of the lighthouse. Once on the island you can follow the path to the nature viewing area. A section is suitable for those on wheels. Here you can get a great view of the stunning coastline - you will also see the seals basking - swimming - and climbing in and out of the sea.
Facilities on site:
The nearest cafe is in the carpark, a vending stall - car parking is free for Blue Badge holders. Dogs are allowed on the island but should be kept on a lead. The seals can venture anywhere so please respect them and give them distance at all times.
The nearest disabled facilities are located a few mins drive away in Whitley Bay.
What might you see?
Many types of shore birds, waders, fowl, gulls, we saw many Oyster Catchers. We visited in May and were lucky to see many seal pups.
You can also check the tide times on the following link
PLEASE CHECK AND KEEP AN EYE ON THE TIDES - GETTING STUCK ON THE ISLAND WOULD BE LESS THAN IDEAL!