Arts and Culture in South Shields

Posted: 25 Jul 2022

If you’re into art and culture, South Shields will not disappoint. You’ll find a variety of outdoor sculptures dotted along the seafront and River Tyne and some fantastic indoor facilities to visit.

South Shields Metro station is located in the town centre.  Or if you're visiting from north of the River Tyne you can take a nautical trip from North Shields on The Shields Ferry. If you’re travelling with children, remember you can Take the Kids For Free all day every day on both Metro and the Shields Ferry


Here are just some of the art pieces and cultural places to visit in South Shields:

The Word


Barely a few minutes’ walk from The Shields Ferry landing you’ll find The Word, a National Centre for the written word.  A great place full of exhibitions, activities, project groups and facilities for all the family.  While you’re there you could grab a bite to eat in the café.


The Customs House   


The Customs House is a majestic looking listed building about 5-minute walk from the ferry landing.  It houses a range of entertainment from art exhibitions, live theatre, music events and creative projects.  


South Shields Museum and Art Gallery


A short walk from both South Shields interchange and ferry landing, South Shields Museum and Art Gallery is home to nationally significant art works as well as a journey through the history of the town. Visitors can immerse themselves in the social, industrial and maritime history of South Tyneside while there's even a Victorian pantry and a 'Creature Corner' with insects and reptiles!


South Shields Museum and Art Gallery exterior


Spirit of South Shields


If you’re looking for the ‘Spirit of South Shields’ you’ll find her at Market Dock (10-minute walk from the ferry landing), proudly overlooking the River Tyne with an outstretched arm welcoming ships as they arrive.


The seafront


Down at the seafront (about a 10-minute walk from South Shields Metro station, 15-minute walk from The Shields Ferry), there’s plenty opportunity to treat yourself to some fish and chips, an ice cream or both! 

Sandhaven beach


Littlehaven Beach is the home of the ‘Conversation Piece’ sculpture, known locally as the ‘Weebles’:  22 individual figures standing over a meter tall, appearing deep in conversation.  These fascinating figures weigh over a quarter of a tonne each and have stood chatting in their current position for over 20 years. It almost feels like you’re eavesdropping when standing near them. 

Further along the glorious seafront you’ll find Stephen Broadbent's’ ‘The Eye’.  A sandy coloured sculpture which provides the perfectly framed view of the entrance to the River Tyne when you look through its centre.  Stephen  also designed ‘The Sail’, a boat sail sculpture with a viewing hole looking out to sea (located near Haven Point).

Inside North Marine Park, not far from Littlehaven Beach you’ll find ‘Tommy Silhouette’.  Tommy is a lone soldier sculpture standing 3m metres tall.  He represents fallen soldiers from the First World War. 
Inside the leisure facility Haven Point, is a sequence of sculptures called ‘Wavemaker’, that hangs from the ceiling.  The impressive metallic sculptures form a man gracefully swimming.

There are loads more places at South Tyneside to visit - remember you can Take the Kids for Free on Metro and the Shields Ferry, and you'll save money on your journey if you use a Pop Pay As You Go card.



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