Marsden Beach

Marsden Beach is a hidden gem located just on the outskirts of South Shields, north-west of Lizard Point.

The golden, sandy beach is backed by tall cliffs and is best known for its breath-taking rock formations, which include a number of sea-stacks and rock arches. Most notable among these is Marsden Rock a 30 metre (100ft) tall sea stack which once featured a stunning arch before it sadly collapsed into the sea .

When the tide is out, a number of rockpools are exposed, teeming with interesting marine wildlife.
In the cliffs opposite Marsden Rock, one finds Marsden Grotto, one of the only two cave-bars in Europe, which is literally carved out of the rock face.  A number of legends and ghost stories surround the cliffs, caves and the pub itself, all of which were once the haunt of smugglers.

Dominating the cliff face here is the lift shaft which takes customers from the cliff top down to Marsden Grotto over 100ft (30m) below.

From this beach, the views of the cliffs and the craggy coastline will take your breath away.

A seabird sanctuary is close to the beach and this is a good place to see gulls, cormorants, kittiwakes and fulmars.  Look out for seabirds perched on top of Marsden Rock, providing a wonderful photo opportunity.

Pay-for parking for the beach can be found along the A183 coast road.  From here, a set of long, steep steps lead down the cliffs to the beach.  Alternatively a lift is available for which a voluntary donation is requested.

Type of beach


Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

We do not have information on this beach but restrictions may apply (usually from Easter until the end of Summer)

Tyne and Wear dog friendly beaches »


  • Rock pooling


  • Pub nearby

Nearest town

South Shields


NE34 7BS

OS grid ref.

NZ 4001 6496


National trust car parks (a charge applies to non-members).

Water quality

Water quality star rating


Marine Conservation Society Recommended

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Marsden Beach Reviews

Simply stunning !

Kevan Bee
Sep 26th 2021

Discovered this gem quite by accident after flicking thru a local magazine.
We’d seen a few photos but upon actually getting here, the photos didn’t do it justice at all.
It’s absolutely fantastic and takes your breath away ( and I’m not talking about the climb up the metal stairway by the restaurant )
We walked towards Sunderland and only turned back as our parking ticket was due to expire.
We will be back.
Check the tide times as there are dozens of caves to explore. Simply wonderful !

What did we get wrong?