A LESS well-known seaside town in the North East could be a perfect UK holiday destination for families this year.
As well as being home to stunning beaches it also hosts a music festival on an historic site overlooking a bay from where dolphins can be spotted.
Tynemouth, as its name suggests, is situated right by the mouth of the river Tyne, along the North East coastline.
It's home to one of the region's best-loved beaches, Longsands beach, which boasts more than a kilometre of white sand, as well as a designated swimming area.
Surfers and swimmers make use of the sea year-round, although most locals prefer to enjoy the beach during the summer months.
There's plenty for families to do within spitting distance of the sea too, including the Lost World Adventure crazy golf and the Tynemouth Aquarium, home to seals, sharks and even marmosets.
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However, wildlife can also be seen in its natural habitat away from the aquarium, with dolphins often spotted swimming by both Longsands beach, and Cullercoats, just a short trip along the coast.
Humpback whales have also been sighted, while killer whales have been seen nearby too.
Locals have a number of favourite food options to enjoy as well, with places like Crusoe's popular with both locals and visitors.
The café and restaurant is tucked away in a corner of the beach and offers breakfasts, sandwiches and fish and chips right on the sand.
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Further along the beach, the similarly admired Riley's fish shack serves chippy teas to beachgoers, while places like Marshall's in the town centre frequently have people queueing out the door for their food.
Marshall's is named after Jimi Hendrix who, according to a blue plaque in the restaurant's window, ate their fish and chips while looking out to sea after playing a show in Newcastle in March 1967.
The town has other affiliations to rock 'n' roll royalty too, with Sting born not too far away in Wallsend.
The Police frontman was once part of a campaign to reopen a lido that closed in Tynemouth in the 80s.
With such a musical heritage, it's no surprise that live music is very popular in the town, with the Surf Cafe, overlooking Longsands beach, host to a number of gigs.
However, the town's biggest live music event is the annual Mouth of the Tyne festival, held among the picturesque ruins of Tynemouth priory, which looms over the beach from on top of the headland.
Sam Fender, The Proclaimers, Laura Marling and even Rick Astley have all performed at the festival, with both the priory and the sea offering a stunning backdrop to their shows.
The priory itself is worth a visit, as one of many beautiful historic buildings along the north east's vast stretches of coast, with Tynemouth castle sitting right beside it.
It also sits just a stone's throw away from the town centre, where a number a quaint shops and pubs can be found.
Among the favourite drinking holes are the Turks Head, the Head of Steam and the Cumberland Arms, although plenty of others exist.
For those looking for a more full-on night out, Newcastle is just a short Metro ride away, although the Metro station offers more than just trips into the city.
On weekends Tynemouth market takes over the station and is a great place to spend a few hours.
Trinkets, street food and a whole host of other stalls can be found beneath the station's ornate Victorian roof.
Visitors to the area have a range of options for places to stay, suiting all budgets.
A weekend stay at Stay Coastal, just a short walk to the beach can be booked in May for £178, or £44.50pp per night.
Elsewhere, the nearby Sandhaven Holiday Park in South Shields has caravan pitches available in May from £25 per night.
With holiday costs rising, staycations are becoming an increasingly popular option for UK residents.
And with stunning sandy beaches, amazing wildlife, live music, pubs, markets and access to Newcastle, as well as plenty of family activities, Tynemouth could be the perfect choice this summer.
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