Whitley Bay is a residential district and seaside resort in the Metropolitan Borough of North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, in north-east England. It gained its current name in the early twentieth century, having previously been known just as Whitley. The change was made to avoid confusion in sending letters and parcels to, or booking railway tickets to, Whitby in Yorkshire.
Whitley Bay's position on the coast, overlooking scenic bays, and its closeness to main-line railway connections, helped it to gain a positive reputation as a resort for working-class holidaymakers from Glasgow and other towns in central Scotland, as well as for day-trippers from industrial Tyneside. It also prospered as a middle-class dormitory for Newcastle upon Tyne, to which it was connected by one of England's earliest commuter railways.
In the Edwardian period the Spanish City was opened, a pleasure park built of white-painted reinforced concrete in a Spanish-Moorish style by architects Cackett & Burns Dick of Newcastle. The Spanish City survives, but is no longer (2007) a funfair. Derelict, it awaits new uses. The Spanish City was mentioned in the plangent Tunnel of Love by Dire Straits - the Knopfler brothers, living in nearby Newcastle, would have been well familiar with Whitley Bay.
Today Whitley Bay retains popularity as a residential centre (linked by the modern Metro system to Newcastle and other towns in Tyne and Wear).