Coastline, good transport links, proximity to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Sunderland plus housing to suit all budgets...it must be South Shields.
It is connected to Newcastle and other destinations in the region by the Tyne and Wear Metro suburban rail network, making it a popular choice for commuters.
Living in South Shields: what to expect
South Shields still retains something of a historic air. It expanded in the 19th century with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Evidence of this can still be seen in its many Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses, as well as landmark buildings such as the Town Hall, Customs House Theatre and Tyne South Pier Lighthouse.
However, there’s also plenty of new housing development too – look no further than the Riverside.
Average house values currently stand at £133,892 – significantly less than the £290,579 UK average, according to Zoopla data.
South Shields has a bustling centre with an array of high street stores and independent shops in addition to a market. There’s also a good range of restaurants; Ocean Road is home to a number of curry houses and the award-winning Colmans Fish and Chips.
The town is currently undergoing a major £100m regeneration, which will see it gain a new library and digital media centre, as well as improvements to the market place.
South Shields also boasts sandy beaches and a promenade, where there are a number of festivals and events throughout the year.
Where to start your property search
Westoe Village: This is a highly desirable corner of South Shields with a number of large, detached period properties, many of which were built for wealthy shipyard owners. Some two- to three-bedroom apartments have been created within former villas.
The coast: Areas such as Broadway, Bents Park Road and Kingsway are sought-after. Broadway is one of the few streets in South Shields with a direct view of the coast.
Harton Village: You’ll find a variety of housing styles, from bungalows and terraced homes to detached and semi-detached houses, in Harton Village. Prices vary from the modest to the pricey.
Westoe Crown Village: Once the site of Westoe Colliery, this is a sizable new development that is very popular with families and young professionals. It has been designed to offer a selection of homes, including apartments.
Riverside: Try one of the new apartments at Harbour View, Captains Wharf and The Landings in this regenerated pocket of South Shield. There is further housing development earmarked too.
Wallsend: Nestled almost exactly between Newcastle and South Shields, you'll find Wallsend where a raft of new development is underway. Try the Mullen Road development from Bellway where smart three-bedroom homes start from an all-round affordable £185,000.
Getting around South Shields
South Shields has excellent transport links to Newcastle and Sunderland, and then on to the rest of the country.
Train: Metro trains from South Shields to Newcastle run every 12 minutes and take approximately 20 to 25 minutes. From Newcastle or Sunderland, direct trains take approximately three and a half hours to reach London.
Car: It is extremely easy to get to Newcastle (A185 and A1058) and Sunderland (A1018), with journeys taking around 30 minutes. Driving time to London is approximately five and a half hours. It only takes an estimated 15 minutes to pick up the A194(M), which connects to the A1(M).
Air: Newcastle International Airport is 30 to 40 minutes’ drive. All the major budget airlines (Ryan Air, Easyjet, Flybe, etc.) fly from here to domestic and European destinations. With routes from United Airlines and Emirates too, you can travel to Dubai and New York.
Things to do in South Shields
With the family: You can enjoy award-winning beaches right on your doorstep. And for indoor fun, the leisure centre at Haven Point has waterslides. Also try Ocean Beach Pleasure Park and Dunes soft play centre.
Out and about: If you’re a history buff, why not visit the remains of the Roman fort built in 160AD?
For breathtaking coastal views, head for Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, which are owned by the National Trust.
The Museum & Art Gallery is also popular. The 20th century novelist Catherine Cookson grew up in the area and is the focus of a permanent exhibition.
Shopping: You’ll find a range of high street names as well as independent shops in the centre of South Shields. Waterloo Square is a relatively new development with, among others, Debenhams and Next retailers.
Alternatively, there are big-name shops in Sunderland, Newcastle and intu Metrocentre, formerly the MetroCentre, in Gateshead.
Evening entertainment: South Shields town centre has plenty of restaurants, lively bars and nightclubs. The seafront offers a spectrum of trendy bars while the Mill Dam area is popular with real ale enthusiasts.
Sport and fitness: Boldon and Whitburn golf courses are nearby and, if you love water sports, you can indulge in surfing, sailing, canoeing and diving. Haven Point has a swimming pool, gym and dance studios, while Temple Park Centre offers indoor courts, an aerobics studio and cardiovascular equipment. The largest half marathon in the world, The Great North Run, starts in Newcastle and is finished on the seafront in South Sheilds.
Hidden South Shields
There are Blue Flag beaches in and around South Shields – including Sandhaven – and many are home to rare birds.
5 reasons to live in South Shields
A good selection of housing at a range of prices
A thriving town centre and a broad selection of shops
Good transport links to major cities
Plenty of entertainment and activities for residents of all ages