Valentine’s in the North East: Cards, Gifts and Days Out
Spending Valentine’s Day in the North East this year? It doesn’t have to be any less special if you stay local. In fact, with days getting longer and the warmth of the winter sun, this could be the perfect time to wrap up warm and venture out into the region and explore with your other half.
Whether you’re looking for locally inspired gift ideas or planning a big day out, then keep reading to discover some of my favourite romantic spots in the North East.
Honestly, I visit all of these places at any time of the year. Each of these places presents its own beauty in different weathers, from wild North Sea winters to the peak summer dip followed by ice cream on the beach. February can be an unpredictable time when it comes to weather, so don’t hold out for a sunny day. Prepare for all climates and enjoy whatever the region throws your way at one of these stunning locations.
A walk along Bamburgh Beach is the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day or the weekend before if you intend to celebrate early. Even when it’s busy, the sheer scale of the white sand dunes puts plenty of space between you and any other beachgoer.
Avid walkers may want to take on the hike from Bamburgh’s iconic castle to Seahouses and refuel with a portion of piping hot fish and chips. If history is more your thing, then explore the halls of the castle. Don’t forget to check the website for opening times, as Bamburgh Castle is currently only open on the weekends. So, if you are celebrating Valentine’s Day on Monday, then be sure to plan ahead to identify what’s open ahead of time.
North Shields Fish Quay
If you are planning a romantic Valentine’s evening, then there are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from along North Shield’s bustling Fish Quay. This area has seen significant investment regeneration over recent years. Still home to the iconic Low Lights, the Fish Quay remains a functioning fishing harbour today - making it a wonderful people-watching place. Popular restaurants along the riverside include Lobo Robo, a Mexican spot; Allard’s on the Quay, the lovely sister bistro of the Tynemouth favourite; and The Quay Taphouse, a tapas restaurant ideal for sharing a meal with your loved one.
If you fancy a drink after your meal, you are spoilt for choice on the Fish Quay.
Popular pubs include The Ship’s Cat, The Low Lights Tavern and Salty Sea Dog. Whatever your budget, there’s something that’s bound to take your fancy on the Fish Quay.
St Mary’s Lighthouse
A local favourite, St Mary’s Lighthouse is more of a pilgrimage than just a stroll at this point. If you are lucky enough to live nearby, you can visit on foot, or you can park at the Briardene, or even further away, depending on your walking ability.
At this time of year, St Mary’s is visited by hundreds of seals, many of whom congregate on the rocks behind the lighthouse and can be seen with the naked eye or using the telescopes on site. This really is a special place and the ideal location to spend Valentine’s Day watching the seals sunbathe on the rocks.
Before you embark on a trip to St Mary’s, I highly recommend checking the tide times to ensure you’re not disappointed and unable to access the island for seal spotting.
Local cards and gifts
Of course, I have to give a special mention to my Valentine’s Cards, which are available to buy in my Cullercoats gallery or online via my shop. Inspired by the region’s adorable wildlife, this year’s cards are a perfect way to show how you feel. All of my cards are blank inside, leaving you plenty of space to tell that special someone in your life what they mean to you.
Above coaster is only available individually in store at the Joanne Wishart Gallery. Sorry it is not available online.
Fans of Northumberland’s award-winning coastline will appreciate the kissing puffins - the iconic bird that resides on the Farne Islands and can be visited by boat from Seahouses. And, of course, there’s a design specifically for dog lovers. Remember, dogs are welcome in our Cullercoats gallery, so pop in after your dog walk to pick up a card and maybe even a gift for your partner.
On the topic of gifts, we have plenty of North East inspired limited edition prints, including pieces depicting my favourite days out mentioned above: Bamburgh, St Mary’s Lighthouse and North Shield’s Fish Quay.
Smaller gift ideas include tea towels and mugs all depicting my original artwork. If you’re not sure what to get your other half this Valentine’s Day, feel free to visit us in the Cullercoats gallery on St George’s Road - we’re open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 am-5 pm.