On a recent sunny Saturday the hubby and I decided to hop in the car and spend an afternoon soaking up the rays at the coast, namely Tynemouth.
If you read my Romancing the sock’s off Valentine’s Day post you will know that a day date at Tynemouth exploring the market and dining at Riley’s Fish Shack was number 6 on the list.
I’ve also wanted to make more of an effort to spend more quality time with the hubby this year – this being on my 30 things to do before I’m 30 list.
So I parked up on the sea front and we scored free parking – yay! The two parking machines were broken so we had to leave the car without a parking ticket and hope we didn’t get a fine (thankfully we didn’t).
We had a lovely stroll along Front Street and headed to the Metro Station to explore the market which has stalls on both sides of the station on Saturday and Sunday’s.
There’s a real mix of goods on sale from vintage furniture and clothes to delicious treats, records, jewellery and much more.
We recently bought a record player and now Steve is all about expanding our vinyl collection but the one he had his eye on was sadly snapped up; as he was too indecisive to buy it there and then. I think there could be a lesson in that!
We had a good look around the market but didn’t buy anything this time.
With stomachs rumbling we walked back towards King Edward’s Bay to join the queue at Riley’s Fish Shack.
We made our descent down the many many stairs and joined the queue. The delicious smell wafting through the air had our mouths salivating in anticipation.
I had heard really good things about Riley’s from friends and of course from Jay Turner’s review in The Guardian.
The shack is actually two shipping containers which have been fitted out steampunk-style in a mixture of dark wood and artfully rusted steel. The accompanying music fits in well with the steampunk theme.
The balcony at the front of the shack has a narrow counter so you can sit on hardwood stools and look out over the beach, under cover of yellow tarpaulins which is where we eventually parked our bums.
There’s also some basic seating inside, behind sliding glass doors and everytime the door opened we had a waft of heat and delicious smells from the kitchen.
On the beach infront of the shack are wooden deck chairs and a fire pit which was regularly topped up with fresh logs.
Beside us was a log burning stove which was lovely as it was starting to turn chilly as we waited for our food.
Most of the inside space of the shack is taken up by a wood-fired oven and a long grill.
In the queue and sitting on the balcony you can see everything which is happening in the small kitchen area which makes your wait that little bit more tantalising; as you can see and smell every delicious bit of food being freshly prepared.
Their menu is ever changing. The seafood is fresh and local and you are warned on their website that stocks are limited so when it’s gone it’s gone.
The food itself is served in thin wooden boxes, with wooden disposable knives and forks and is well worth the wait.
We ordered the monkfish wraps at £16 each and we were lucky as they ran out and people behind us were disappointed they had missed out.
The wrap was not what I had expected.
The big chunk of fish was meaty and delicious and came with a vinaigrette salad and Hepplewhite’s Chipotle Chilli Relish and crispy hot-plate garlic potatoes and a freshly made, lightly charred flatbread.
It was piping hot and absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious. Every bite was like a little bit of heaven in my mouth.
The total bill came to £40.20 which I think is a little steep; as we didn’t have alcohol only two cans of pop and the food. Nonetheless, it was a treat and the food was absolutely delicious.
Riley’s isn’t somewhere I would go every week but I’d definitely like to go earlier in the day next time as many items had sold out.
We both left with satisfied and full tummies and I didn’t even have any tea that night I was that full.
Once we’d finished our food we had a little walk along the beach and then climbed up the many many stairs back to the car.
We popped in for a quick visit to my parents too before we finally drove home.
Where is Tynemouth?
Tynemouth is only a thirty minute drive from Newcastle, so only 45 minutes for us from home.
Tynemouth village is a popular place for people from far and wide to explore. It is steeped in history, has some fabulous attractions, great shopping and a vibrant nightlife.
Since moving back to the North East I’ve had a few nights out in Tynemouth and it’s great.
I think it’s a perfect destination for a day date as it really has something to offer for everyone.
The dramatic Tynemouth Priory and Castle dominates the headland. The site dates back centuries and is the burial place of Saints and Kings of the old Kingdom of Northumbria.
Tynemouth Longsands is a mile long beach of golden sands popular for walking, relaxing and is a nationally recognised watersports hub (which I didn’t know).
The Blue Reef Aquarium provides fun for all the family with marine life of all different shapes, colours and sizes including otters, seals and even a colony of monkeys!
Tynemouth Park has a dinosaur themed mini golf course where I’ve taken Steve before. We went on a very cold afternoon with my mam and nana and Steve saw the very competitive side of my nana for the first time. She is still adamant to this day that he cheated (he didn’t).
You can also hire pedalo boats on the boating lake – in warmer weather!
Front Street and Percy Park Road both have a mix of shops well worth browsing as well as traditional pubs, cafes and bistros offering anything from a cup of coffee, traditional fish and chips to a la carte dining.
The village’s Metro Station was restored to its Victorian splendour and has been called the Covent Garden of the North (it’s a heck of a lot cheaper though). It has weekend markets and is also used as an events space.
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Voting is open until midnight on April 30th.
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