Marsden Grotto

Marsden Grotto lies in the shadow of the famous Marsden Rock on the coastline of South Shields, Tyne and Wear, with a history linking it to smugglers and contraband runners.

The Grotto was formed in 1782 by a local miner named Jack Bates. He was out of work and had no-where to live, so he used explosives to blow a hole into the cliff face. From that day on he became locally know as "Jack The Blaster." Jack and his wife Jesse lived in The Grotto for the next 10 years where they made a living from running a tearoom for sightseers and visitors to the beach. It was also rumoured that it was a favourite location for local smugglers.

After Jack died The Grotto was left to the elements until 1826. Peter Allen a local proprietor from Whitburn bought The Grotto and turned it into a fifteen room mansion naming it "The Tom 'O' Shanter" later changing it's name to "The Marsden Grotto."

The pub was an instant success with all walks of life, but especially smugglers and contraband runners. Stories are rife of smugglers tales including a smuggler being tortured and hanged where the stairs lead upto ground level. But the most famous story is of a young contrabander in the mid 1840's who was befriended by an undercover excise officer. The officer used his friendship to find out all about the young man's work and one evening arrested him. A scuffle broke out and the contrabander was shot dead on the beach below. Peter Allen, witnessing the whole event took the young man's tankard and emptied it on the floor and proclaimed,

 "Let no man drink from this tankard from this day forth, lest he be cursed."

He then nailed the tankard to the wall. Unfortunately, the tankard has been lost in recent times but a replica still hangs behing the bar.

Since the day Jack The Blaster created The Grotto there has been many owners including national hotel chains and the now closed local Vaux Brewery. Today it's still open as a fully licensed bar and restaurant.



Reports have been made of a man spotted at the bottom of the stairs leading down the cliff face and his blood curdling screams can be heard late at night. This is believed to be smuggler who was tortured and murdered by his own kind.

Cracks of gun shot have been reported on the beach when no-one is around. This is thought to be linked to the story above.

The Grotto:

The Grotto is full of reports of activity ranging from sound phenomena to poltergeist activity. The manager's office is knocked on with no-one outside. Chains are heard to rattle in the bar area. The cellar door slams shut itself. Actual video footage has been made of footprints appearing on the wooden floor and cannot be cleaned away. Famous TV footage was released of an apparaition spotted in the restaurant unfortunately it is a split second so the company couldn't slow the clip down.

Marsden Grotto has over 200 years of skull-duggery and haunted history, with many parts of the location said to be active.

So, why not join us and investigate one of the most unusual and haunted pubs in Britain?