Saveloy dips and seaside vibe: 10 great cultural experiences in South Tyneside

Arbeia Roman Fort is one of South Tyneside's cultural jewels.
Arbeia Roman Fort is one of South Tyneside's cultural jewels.

After South Tyneside was branded one of the country’s worst places for culture, we look at 10 great things to see and do in our beloved borough:

1) The Customs House

Geordie the Musical is on at the Customs House, South Shields.

Geordie the Musical is on at the Customs House, South Shields.

The venue has a theatre with 441 seats, a 1450-seat studio, a gallery, a restaurant, a bar, a box-office, and a community room that holds 100 people.

It was first established in 1848, but when the Daltons Lane warehouses (which are used for offices, community rooms and rehearsal rooms) were refurbished in 2004 old mortuary slabs were found.

Further research discovered there had previously been a morgue there. The flats nearby were once a police station and any bodies found in the Tyne at Mill Dam during that time were then transported into the morgue directly behind the station.

2) Arbeia Roman Fort

Arbeia Roman Fort in South Tyneside.

Arbeia Roman Fort in South Tyneside.

Arbeia was a large Roman fort in South Shields, founded in about 120AD which supplied Hadrian’s Wall, it was occupied until the Romans left Britain in the 5th century.

It was first excavated in the 1870s and all modern buildings on the site were cleared in the 1970s.

It contains the only permanent stone-built granaries yet found in Britain.

3) Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse

Opened in 1871 Souter is the first ever purpose built electric lighthouse.

4) Bede’s World and St Paul’ in Jarrow

The museum of early medieval Northumbria at Jarrow looks at the life and times of the Venerable Bede (AD 673-735,) one of the greatest scholars of all time.

5) Marsden Lime Kilns in Coast Road

The massive structures, essentially large ovens, dating from the 1870s, were an offshoot industry of the former Whitburn Colliery.

They are a scheduled monument of national importance.

6) Experience the Great North Run

The world’s biggest half marathon finishes in South Shields. This year 57,000 runners took part.

7) Try a saveloy at a Dickson’s shop

Established in 1953 by Irwin and Helen Dickson the business is responsible for the creation of the famous saveloy dip.

Marsden lime kilns

Marsden lime kilns

In 2014 Princess Anne visited the company and even took some saveloys home with her.

8) Enjoy a free South Tyneside Festival Concert in Bents Park, South Shields

Every year thousands of people enjoy free music from a range of musical acts for free. This summer’s record breaking concert by Billy Ocean saw 24,000 fans flock to Bents Park in South Shields.

9) Get a ticket to the South Shields Annual Lecture

Launched in 2001 by the then South Shields MP David Miliband the lecture sees world famous starts address the town’s people.

Past famous faces include singer Sting, playwright Alan Bennett, comedian and author David Walliams and actor Patrick Stewart.

10) Visit our Blue Flag beaches

Sandhaven Beach, in South Shields, was once again awarded the coveted status in May.

Great North Run

Great North Run

Gazette reporter Verity Ward takes a look at how Dicksons saveloys are made.

Gazette reporter Verity Ward takes a look at how Dicksons saveloys are made.

South Tyneside Summer Festival Sunday Concert featuring Billy Ocean, Gwen Dickey and Abi Garrido, in the Bents Park, playing to a packed 26000 audience

South Tyneside Summer Festival Sunday Concert featuring Billy Ocean, Gwen Dickey and Abi Garrido, in the Bents Park, playing to a packed 26000 audience

Sting made an appearance at the annual David Miliband Lecture at Harton Technical College in South Shields. Sting with David Miliband.

Sting made an appearance at the annual David Miliband Lecture at Harton Technical College in South Shields. Sting with David Miliband.

Summer heatwave weather at Sandhaven Beach.

Summer heatwave weather at Sandhaven Beach.