Just because its winter doesnt mean you have to avoid the British seaside. Heres where to head for blustery coastal walks, quirky museums and cosy hotels
Why? A metro ride from Newcastle, Whitley Bays aptly named Longsands beach is Tynesides surfing capital, with some of the best UK surf north of Cornwall, plus all the trimmings. Surfy cafe Crusoes is right on the beach. For cyclists, the classic Coast and Castle cycle route heads up to Northumberland. Or just hang out on Tynemouths Georgian Front Street: a cosy row of independent shops looking seaward towards the clifftop ruins of Tynemouth Priory as haunting as Whitbys better-known abbey. For good tucker, check out Irvins Brasserie or the Staith House,both on North Shields regenerated Fish Quay, a 15-minute coast walk from Tynemouths Collingwood Monument (Admiral Lord Collingwood gazes out to sea from a lofty pedestal). On the seafront, check out the domed Spanish City ballroom (the north-easts Blackpool Tower), which is due to re-open next year.