The 'out of this world' cave pub right on the beach – that was blasted into the side of a cliff by a smuggler | The Sun

A BAR and restaurant in the UK with a fascinating history has been described as "out of this world" and "enchanting" by those who have visited it.

A cave in the side of a cliff isn't an ordinary place for a pint, especially one that was put there by a smuggler.

However, that's the historical story behind the Marsden Grotto in South Shields.

In 1782 a man called Jack Bates (now known as Jack the Blaster) and his wife Jessie took some dynamite from a local quarry.

They used it to blast a large cave into the the side of a coastal cliff at Marsden Bay in South Shields, hollowing out the perfect rent-free home for themselves on the beach.

The cave's location by the beach meant it was the perfect place for Jack to get involved with smuggling.

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A lot of loot and contraband from abroad was stored in the coastal caves, with Jack keeping an eye on it.

Since then, the Grotto exchanged hands many times and was gradually developed into an Inn with several rooms through the 19th Century.

According to the Inn's website, some of the old pirates and smugglers can be found haunting it to this day.

It reads: "Its notorious and often criminal history forms the basis of several popular legends and ghost stories including that of Jack the Jibber, a smuggler who was reputedly murdered by his fellow criminals after selling information to HM Customs.

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"It is said that he was hung in a barrel in a cave close to the present lift shaft and left to starve."

Ghosts or not, it's still worth a visit with a large bar, a pool room, a bistro, a heated terrace on the beach and a seafood restaurant upstairs available for visitors.

Access is either by the lift from the car park housed in a brick shaft rising from the front of the building, or by a zigzag staircase on the cliff at the side of the building.

Guests can also stay overnight at the grotto, with rooms starting from £98.44 per night.

History blogger Tiana Wilson-Buys wrote about her visit to the Grotto: "This evening was so much more than just having dinner at any old restaurant. 

"This was a true gastronomic experience – the food was excellent, the setting almost unreal, the history behind the venue fascinating and the service out of this world."

Another reviewer wrote on TripAdvisor: "What an enchanting place! It doesn’t look much from the car park, just a stark lift shaft, but it’s well worth exploring."

The beach that the Grotto is built on is also very popular with locals, with Visit South Tyneside describing it as "spectacular".

The stretch of beach has plenty of walks nearby, while dolphins are sometimes spotted swimming in the waters off the shore.

The world's first electric lighthouse can also be visited nearby.

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Meanwhile, this quaint English seaside pub was once named the best in the country.

And you can watch dolphins from a music festival at this UK destination.

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