Leisure lead

With our two famous piers, Cullercoats becomes a protected harbour perfect for people wanting to get into paddleboarding without venturing straight out to sea, as well as a hub for open water swimmers who use the bay for their daily exercise, mindfulness and social meet-ups.

Cullercoats, an old fishing village, has become popular with paddleboarders and kayakers in recent years, as the deep cove, sandy beaches and piers create a relatively safe haven. This has been further accelerated as people spend more time outside in response to COVID. Local business, CBK Adventures, has also been instrumental in developing the bay as a paddlesports venue, since they were founded in Cullercoats in 2014. 
It is important to us that Cullercoats Bay is celebrated as a great place to enjoy watersports, while the traditional functions of the working harbour are also respected (See more about the legal status of Cullercoats Harbour here). Cullercoats Collective seeks to promote the safe enjoyment of the bay, and we often post important sea safety information and marine forecasts on our social media channels (linked below). We also seek to facilitate real social connections between watersports users via our events programme, because whilst some enjoy paddling or swimming alone, we know that many wish to connect with others.
As well as the obvious benefits of the open water there are loads of other things to enjoy in and around Cullercoats.  The National Cycle route 1 passes along the seafront making Cullercoats a great stopping point for those making use of it.  The local Wagon Ways make great places to walk, run or cycle along.   The there is a variety of parks for our smaller visitors to enjoy all the year round.

Upcoming Leisure Events

July 2024

Cullercoats Swell Report

Cullercoats Collective Sea Safety Cheat Sheet

Our top tips for staying safe when paddling or swimming in Cullercoats

  • Take a means of communication with you if you head into open water. A mobile phone in a dry case is ideal.
  • Check the wind speed and direction before you go. The wind often blows from the west in Cullercoats. This is an offshore wind and will carry kayaks and SUPs out to sea if you are not vigilant, particularly at low tide.
  • Cullercoats is a sheltered bay, if you see small waves on the beach, you will find much larger waves the further out you go. A swell higher than 1.5ft will be challenging.
  • High tide is a great time to explore the bay. You can get closer to the cliffs which provide shelter. You can also explore the small caves behind the south pier if it’s not too wavy.
  • There are lots of locals who swim and paddle here all the time, ask someone if you are unsure, we’re all friendly and happy to help.
  • Pop into CBK Adventures for some local tips and knowledge too. They review the forecast daily and know all the best spots to explore locally.
  • Cullercoats Crescent Club have a live webcam showing the harbour, which is often a handy tool for checking conditions in advance.
  • If you think your activities might be cause for concern for anyone watching from the beach, why not give the Coastguard a call on their non-emergency number (01262 672317) outlining where you are, what you are doing, and what time you are due back. They will not mind.
  • Sometimes (usually during a cold snap following a hot day), even if the forecast is ‘clear’, we can get unexpected Sea Frets where a fog, or haar, can come off the sea making visibility impossible. It can quickly turn into an issue as you can become disoriented, you cannot see the shore, rocks or incoming traffic (nor can they see you!). The safest thing is to come back ashore, sit in a warm café (if possible) and wait for the ‘pea soup’ to literally blow over (or burn off).

Katie's brilliant drawing showing Currents, Rips and Hazard Zones

With thanks to the Cullercoats RNLI Water Safety Team for looking over my magnificent drawings (if you feel like you can make this prettier then please get in touch!) showing how the current tends to move through Cullercoats Bay at High Tide, alongside other areas to be aware of.

The Current comes directly into the Bay through the piers, “bounces” off the caves and then sweeps round towards the back and back out – you can often see a slight rip near the piers for this reason. If you feel yourself caught in a rip or being pulled by the current – swim parallel to it, not against and remember Float to Live if you are getting tired.

The area outside of the piers either side can be very tempting to explore on paddle craft. Be aware if you see breaking waves here, as that it is due to rocks underneath (“The Goatsies” and Warrior’s point to the left, Bears Back to the right) – so be careful of fins and what you might hit if you fall!

Always swim/paddle at your own risk. We put these materials up to assist with increasing Sea Safety literacy and therefore should act as a guide only.

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