Long considered the ‘holy grail’ of beaches when it comes to collecting seaglass, Seaham is a lively harbour town on Durham’s North East Heritage Coast. Once found in abundance, the seaglass is now becoming harder and harder to find due to the incredible amount of collectors, both professional and hobbyist that frequent the coastline hoping to fill their pockets with some ultra special finds.
To read more about the history of Seaham and its infamous glass click here, otherwise read on to learn some collecting tips from Kriket, who has visited the area numerous times over the last 10 years.
where to find Seaham sea glass
Drive north out of Seaham town on the B1287 along North Rd. With the sea on your right follow the road for about a mile until you are on Lord Byron’s Walk. Go around the bend and there will be a large free car park to your right. Tonia’s Cafe is at the top of the carpark and steep steps lead down to the beach from the bottom of the carpark. We found walking left along the beach the most rewarding. We also found the beach at the harbour really great for seaglass too. There is a fab cafe above the beach on the marina called Flamingo Cafe, where you can get beautiful healthy food.
what to bring with you
This part of the British coast can be pretty wild at any time of the year, with strong, cold winds blowing in from the North Sea. If you have the option bring a few layers, including a good wind cheater with a hood that can be tied on. Wear comfortable, waterproof boots or shoes and stretchy trousers as you will be doing a lot of bending! Include a hat and sunscreen in case of sunny weather, and a bucket or strong plastic carrier bag for collecting the glass. You also need something that can be used for scraping or digging in the pebbles. Don't forget water and snacks to sustain you, and it's useful to have a strong torch for hunting after dark or early in the morning.
when to go sea glass hunting
Just after high tide is the best time to head to the beach, that way you can follow the tide as it moves out, revealing the wet glass amongst the pebbles. It also means you get to see the glass first, as there are a lot of hunters down at the beach at any one time. Be aware that the tides can be very high on this beach and the waves can surge a long way up to the base of the cliffs. Be particularly careful in wild weather that you don’t get trapped further up the beach by incoming high tides as there are only a few paths up from the beach and the cliffs are pretty high.
where to stay in Seaham
It is much more convenient to stay in Seaham to optimise your sea glass collecting time. If you feel like splashing out in luxury and relaxing after a hard day’s collecting then Seaham Hall Spa may be for you. Located along Lord Byron’s Walk above the beach it is a beautiful, serene place to stay. There are lots of choices of B&B’s and AirB&B properties but book well in advance. Recently we stayed at Seaglass House and it was very comfortable and an excellent location.
places to eat
There are plenty of cafes & pubs in the town itself. The Lookout Cafe down in the marina has a fabulous open deck looking out to the water. As I mentioned before, there is an excellent cafe above the beach on the marina called Flamingo Cafe, where you can get beautiful healthy food.
In the beach car park, there is a reasonable cafe called Tonia's Cafe where you can buy basic lunches, tea and coffee etc. Also, there is an ASDA superstore at the very far end of Seaham in Byron Place shopping centre, where you can stock up on just about anything.
The walk along the clifftops through the town is worth doing. You will meander along the tops of the cliffs, passing some fabulous public art and parks. Sit and watch the sea birds riding the air currents and if it is a wild day, enjoy the spectacle of the waves breaking against the harbour walls. Explore the Seaham Harbour Marina and learn the history of the area in the little museum there. I loved the old fishing boats tied up in the inner harbour and the views across to the makeshift fishing shacks.
For some serious sea glass envy visit Seaham Waves, a cute little shop behind the Napule e' restaurant. Be mesmerised by the huge amounts of glass they have collected and perhaps be tempted by a piece of their jewellery.
If you have the time then visit Durham as well. The Cathedral itself is well worth the trip alone and the old cobbled streets of the city centre are full of great eating places, small shops and beautiful architecture. The densely wooded banks of the winding river Wear that snakes through the city is such a beautiful, soul-stirring walk that I highly recommend a few hours leave from sea glass hunting to enjoy its serenity.
links & further information