We stopped en route to Scotland, to break up the journey and also to visit the North-East, which we'd never really seen much of, having just driven through on many occasions. Whitley Bay was beautiful, with miles of sandy beach and a lighthouse accessible via a causeway at low tide. The Hotel was lovely and the staff were very friendly. We got off to a good start by being upgraded to a seaview room, which was very spacious and had a separate sitting area with great views out over the bay. Our bed was very comfortable and we had a couple of really good nights' sleep. The hotel had a restaurant, but we decided to eat elsewhere; on our first night we chose an Italian restaurant a couple of doors away, which was pretty good value for money, although it got a bit noisy at times with quite a few families with young children. On the second night we ate at an English restaurant close by, which turned out not to be such a good idea – we hadn't booked, ended up at a table near the toilet, and waited a long time for our food, which was very nicely cooked but pretentiously served, with all sort of "cheffy" touches to disguise the small portions. The hotel breakfasts were excellent, freshly cooked and plentiful. All the staff made us feel very welcome and we left wishing we'd booked to stay longer.