One thing that makes the north-east coast of England special is the large number of monastic ruins and romantic castles to be found at intervals along the shore. Just two examples are the equally famous Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire, and Lindisfarne in Northumberland. Midway between these two are the impressive ruins of Tynemouth Priory and Castle, run by English Heritage. The Priory was built in 1090 on the site of a 7th century monastery and was used by the military until after the Second World War. There is still a gun battery and magazine on view. Nelson’s second-in-command at Trafalgar, Admiral Collingwood, was born in Newcastle and there is a statue of him below the Priory. The huge stone breakwater of Tynemouth Pier stretches out to sea from the foot of the Priory with a lighthouse at the end. There is also a promenade stretching to the north, backing onto Long Sands beach. The Blue Reef aquarium is on the promenade.
Charles Dickens visited Tynemouth in 1867 and while there was evidently caught out by inclement weather, as he wrote a letter describing heavy seas and high winds, which he seemed to rather enjoy, even though he was knocked over and soaked by a wave crashing over him. Another famous visitor to the port was Giuseppe Garibaldi, who sailed in in 1854 and stayed a short while. The house where he stayed, in Huntingdon Place, bears a commemorative plaque.
Map of the area.
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