This is my favorite sea glass beach in the world. It's not just the quantity of sea glass here, but the quality... and the multis!
Seaham - formerly known as "Seaham Harbour" - is a small town on the North Sea coast in County Durham. You will find it just to the south of Sunderland and east of Durham.
I have visited many beaches all over the world and, apart from Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, Seaham has the most plentiful supply by a long way.
I'm used to picking up every piece of sea glass I can find, but at Seaham I soon start to leave the smaller pieces and concentrate on the better stuff instead.
As always, clear and green glass is the most common but I have also found yellow, blue, aqua, turquoise, red and some mixed colors, also known as "multis".
There is lots of glass in plain sight, but here's my favorite trick; find a pile of shingle, take of the top layer and reveal dozens of glass shards underneath. These will often be small, but you will also find larger pieces and some rare colors too.
Where does Seaham sea glass come from?
For many years, Seaham boasted the largest glass-bottle works in Britain.
By 1872, John Candlish's Londonderry Bottle Company had six glasshouses at Seaham. At the end of the day, any discarded and waste glass was dumped into the North Sea.
After many years of "surf tumbling" the glass is washed up on Seaham beaches with every tide. Some of the glass is more than a hundred years old, polished smooth by Mother Nature.
Londonderry Bottleworks produced up to 20,000 hand-blown bottles each day and S.S. Oakwell known as the "bottleboat" would leave Seaham harbour to deliver its cargo to warehouses in Rotherhithe, returning via Antwerp with silver sand.
On 28th March 1917, the vessel sank after hitting a German mine at Robin Hood's Bay, claiming four lives. S.S. Oakwell had been transporting a cargo of empty glass gin bottles embossed with H & A Gilbey to London.
The factory itself was put out of business in 1921 by competition from more efficient continental producers.
Videos of Seaham
Here are some of the sights and sounds from our sea glass hunting trips to Seaham.
Photos of Seaham sea glass
Getting to Seaham
There is a train station in the town and good public transport links, but the easiest way to travel to Seaham - especially during winter months - is by car.
I have found that Seaham Hall Beach is a great spot with plenty of parking and, more importantly, sea glass! If you're using GPS, the post code is: SR7 7AD.
These steps take you from the car park down to the beach. This isn't a problem on the way down, but after a few hours of stooping to pick up beach treasure they can be quite a challenge!
This really is the perfect sea glass beach. The bottleworks provided a great source of glass for many years and the tide moves in and out a long way, leaving plenty of pebbles and glass on the beach each time.
Seaham Waves Jewelry
Most collectors display their sea glass in vases or jars, but Gavin Hardy has made a fantastic business from his findings. He makes beautiful sea glass jewelry which you can buy from his shop in the town center, or through his website.
After being featured on the BBC's Countryfile TV show, business has gone through the roof!
Imagine that your job was to walk on the beach, picking up sea glass. Not only that, but then you got to make beautiful jewelry and send it all over the world! Amazing!
During one of my visits to Seaham, I took the opportunity to ask Gavin all about Seaham Waves. He was very generous with his time and you will find the full interview here.