The importance of location when choosing your new home was sharply brought into focus during the lockdown period of Spring 2020. With people encouraged initially to leave the house once a day for exercise to help tackle the spread of Covid-19, proximity to green space became a key factor in the ability to comply with lockdown rules with ease.
When the guidance around daily exercise was announced, for many it meant staying within a set distance surrounding your home. One hour for a walk or 30 minutes for a cycle or ride, roughly equivalent to 3-5 miles on bike or on foot. It meant that without close proximity to green space, getting the most of that time outdoors to breathe in some fresh air and enjoy nature could be a challenge.
At Smith’s Dock it has been a chance to truly appreciate the interesting places to visit within just a few minutes walk of home. The feeling of space that comes with living on the waterfront is a constant source of enjoyment and offers so many opportunities to engage with nature, witness stunning views and enjoy the unique environment of the quay.
We’ve rounded up just a few of the key places to visit, all within walking distance from Smith’s Dock and each just a 3-4 mile round trip on foot.
Possibly one of the most recognisable landmarks on the North Tyneside Coast, Collingwood monument is a regular stop for those hoping to admire one of the best unrestricted views of the Mouth of the Tyne. The imposing monument was designed by famed local architect, John Dobson, and stands proudly looking out over the North Sea in tribute to the contribution made by Lord Collingwood during the Battle of Trafalgar.
The monument is arguably one of the best viewing points on North Tyneside and is just a 3-mile round trip on foot from Smith’s Dock. As well as the North Sea and wonderful views over South Tyneside, looking West towards Newcastle you can easily spot the distinctive outline of the Smokehouses further up river.
Just a 5-minute walk from Collingwood Monument and you arrive at the entrance to Tynemouth Priory. Proudly overlooking the blue flag beaches of Tynemouth, the Priory is an English Heritage site. It’s also the location for a number of events across the year, including the Food Festival and Mouth of the Tyne Festival. The position of the Priory at the entrance to the River Tyne makes it the principal landmark of the area and a reminder of the long and distinguished history of this part of North Tyneside.
During lockdown, it was also the location for a great deal of wildlife spotting. A family of deer have been spotted pottering around on the slopes of the Priory and at the end of the pier, a pod of dolphins have been known to enjoy some play time in the summer months around the entrance to the river Tyne.
Royal Quays Marina
The Royal Quays Marina is also just a few minutes walk from Smith’s Dock on the new link road connecting the Fish Quay to the marina. Situated next to the main DFDS Ferry terminal, the marina is home to an array of smaller pleasure boats. It’s also frequented by the larger cruise ships which can draw in significant crowds of local people eager to see first-hand the grand scale of cruise ships arriving on the Tyne.
Whether enjoying the coffee and cake at the on-site café or a simple walk to take a look at the large and small vessels docked in the marina, Royal Quays is always a pleasurable stop on a riverside walk from Smith’s Dock.
Fish Quay Sands
Halfway between Smith’s Dock and Collingwood Monument is the small patch of sandy beach known as Fish Quay Sands. Whilst only small, it’s the ideal spot for a quick dip in the water on a walk along the river. This area of the fish quay is often one of the busiest as people flock to the sands for a chance to exercise, walk, cycle or enjoy a seaside fish and chip takeaway or ice cream. Given that it sits on the national cycleway path near to the end of the coast to coast bike route, it’s a popular spot to enjoy uninterrupted views of the river on the way through to Tynemouth.