Souter Lighthouse to Marsden Grotto | A Short Pushchair Friendly Walk

 This post is based on a visit in May 2024. Please check with venues for the most up-to-date info, especially regarding car parking, costs and opening hours as these regularly change. 

Souter Lighthouse to Marsden Grotto | A Short Pushchair Friendly Walk

This is a lovely short walk to enjoy along the South Tyneside Coast. 

Why we love this walk: 
  • Free parking for National Trust members 
  • Accessible by bus 
  • Flat, surfaced path suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and cycling 
  • A short walk with pretty coastal views (1.3km / just under a mile each way or 2.6km/just under 2 miles there and back) 
  • Should take around 20 minutes each way, longer if you stop for food/drinks, take time to explore the beach or visit the Lighthouse
  • Dog friendly places to eat/drink at either end 
  • Visit the beach and enjoy some bird watching - if you're lucky you might see Puffins 
  • You can visit Souter Lighthouse 
  • Easy to extend the walk to South Shields / Roker which will include playgrounds 

This walks starts at Souter Lighthouse which has a large car park (SR6 7NQ). It's £1.10 per hour/£5 per day to park here or FREE if you're a National Trust member - just swipe your membership card at the machine and it will produce a ticket for you. One of the many reasons I love being a National Trust member. 

The E1 bus from South Shields to Sunderland stops outside of the lighthouse. 

Remember that charges and timetables can change over time so do double check this info. 

I spotted a free litter picking kit outside the lighthouse which I thought was a pretty cool initiative. 

The grounds and cafe are free for everyone to visit (and dogs are welcome in these areas on leads) but if you'd like to step inside the lighthouse, you'll need to pay admission or it's included with National Trust membership so just flash your card. 

Pet dogs are not permitted inside the lighthouse itself so we did not go inside on this occasion. We have visited before though and would say it's worthwhile, there are hands on activities, lots of info and you can climb to the very top (there are a few levels - the very last level is a short but steep climb). 

Keep the sea on your right hand side and walk with the lighthouse behind you along the coast. Most of the path is shared (with a dividing line) with cyclists and it's next to a road so this would be a good little walk to bring the kids' bikes out if you're building them up to road cycling. 

You can also walk on the grass path which gives you better views of the coastline but it was pretty soggy / muddy when we visited. 

It was a little misty on the day of our walk but you could just make out Tynemouth Priory in the distance as you walked along. 

After 20 minutes or so you will see 'The Grotto'. Customers can walk through this door and use the lift down to the Grotto. 

If you're not going to make a purchase, there are stairs down the side of the cliff to the beach. Do take care though as they are steep. 

I absolutely love The Grotto and it's a really unique place to stop for food / drink in the North East. You can stay over too if you wish. There are many stories about smugglers blowing up the caves with dynamite here. 

We dined inside the Grotto for my mam's birthday a few years ago and had a really lovely time. What a setting! More recent reviews on the food here seem to be mixed but I would still go back for food (I have my eye on their new wraps which look amazing). 

Inside the Grotto Restaurant

Dogs are welcome inside and out here but as it wasn't raining and fairly warm, we decided to sit on the terrace and enjoy a nice glass of wine and take in the view. 

There is a tap and dog water bowls on the terrace. 

You can access the beach from the terrace - it's a pebble beach and really interesting. I absolutely love watching all the seabirds coming and going and flying to the rock from the cliffs. 

Here's a list of all the varieties of birds you can see. I SWEAR I saw a Puffin but then doubted myself and thought it couldn't be. The article however states that Puffins are sighted here regularly so I do actually think I spotted one. I feel like they have a really distinctive flight and that's what I recognised at first. 

I absolutely loved watching the Cormorants standing proud on the rock and occaisionally landing - they seem huge! If you have binoculars at home, bring them along. 

What a way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I could sit here for hours and I'm making it my mission to stay over and spend more time here soon. 

The dogs loved it too - it's popular with dog walkers so expect there to be quite a few dogs here if you visit. 

Even on a cloudy day, it was beautiful. My kids love playing down on the beach here and looking at the different stones / skimming them. It would be easy for older kids to do this in your eyeline while you enjoyed your drink on the terrace. 

Sadly we couldn't stay there all day and when we'd finished our drinks, it was time to retrace our steps back to the lighthouse. 

Trying to get a photo of two dogs together is trickier than kids! 

Another 20 minutes or so and you'll be back at your starting point. 

Souter Lighthouse has a lovely wildlife garden which is worth a little look around. 

The Souter Lighthouse Cafe is generally open from 10am-5pm in the warmer months. They serve light meals, snacks, cake and scones, ice cream and drinks. 

There's indoor and outdoor seating and dogs are welcome in both. 

We decided to sit outside in some of the covered outdoor seating with lovely sea views. We shared a rarebit and homemade shortbread shaped into a lighthouse plus a few coffees. Both were really good.  There are toilets just to the side of the cafe bear the lighthouse entrance. 

Fozzy and Ollie were both very happy that there was doggy ice cream for sale too. 

I really like that there are little individual  'gardens' too which are enclosed and feature just one table. These areas would be great if you have a reactive dog or just need some quiet space. 

This is just a short walk but with a trip to the grotto, beach, bird-watching and lunch, it's a lovely few hours out. If you don't have dogs with you, I'd certainly recommend visiting the inside of the lighthouse too. 

If you'd like to extend this walk, it's very easy to do this. 

Souter Lighthouse to Colman's Seafood Temple, South Shields is a 2.7mile / 1 hour walk and you could visit Marine Park / Ocean Beach Pleasure Ground. There's also a sandy beach here if you'd prefer. 

Going in the opposite direction, Souter Ligthouse to Latimer's Whitburn is a 1.9 mile/ 40 minute walk (there is a playground nearby) or for a longer walk,  Souter Lighthouse to Roker Park passing through Seaburn is 3.4miles / 1 hr 15 minutes. 

One day we're planning on walking Roker to South Shields which is 6 miles / just over 2 hours (but we'll make a day of it and include plenty of stops for food and drinks along the way). 

You can check out my other walks along the South Tyneside Coast below: 

Pin Me

Souter Lighthouse to Marsden Grotto | A Short Pushchair Friendly Walk


1 comment

© North East Family Fun | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig