Britain’s Best Beach Cafés and Seafood Restaurants
Enjoy some Port to Plate dining in the UK. Dine with the sand between your toes at a trendy beach café, tuck in to a plate of fish & chips, follow Scotland’s West Coast seafood trail, book into a popular seaside restaurant or take part in a seafood festival such as the Whitstable Oyster Festival.
Feast on Seafood at These Beach Cafés and Seaside Restaurants
Littlehampton, East Sussex
Thomas Heatherwick’s giant sculptural wave is quite a sight on Littlehampton’s mile-long East Beach. The beach cafe was built years before his 2012 Olympic torch. It makes a cosy refuge on a wet and windy day and when the sun shines, a lovely indoor-outdoor space to sit and enjoy a glass of Prosecco or a Sussex gin and tonic. The menu offers seaside classics and flavoursome fish dishes. Try the salt and pepper squid with coriander and garlic aioli.
Fans of Thomas Heatherwick should make a beeline for the Bombay Sapphire distillery in Hampshire to see the giant botanical glasshouses he designed.
Brighton, East Sussex
Before it became a fashionable seaside resort, Brighton was a bustling little fishing village. You can visit the Fishing Museum and Quarter on Brighton beach to find out more about its fishing history. Better still, pop into Jack and Linda Mills Brighton Smokehouse for a smoked kipper bap. They smoke their fish in a little black smokehouse right on the beach.
Whitstable, Kent (July)
The seaside town of Whitstable really comes alive each summer for its annual Oyster Festival in July. It’s a key date for foodies in Britain who come to enjoy the town’s party atmosphere all in homage to the world famous Whitstable oyster. There are oyster shacks and pop-ups all over town. Try The Whitstable Oyster Company in the harbour and The Forge kiosk on the boardwalk into town.
Run by the Pinney family since the 1960s, Butley Orford Oysterage is a must-visit seafood restaurant for food lovers exploring the Suffolk heritage coast. Unpretentious and down to earth, it serves up mouth-watering fish dishes to hungry diners who come back year after year.
Discover good old fashioned seaside charm, classical music and award-winning fish and chips on the Suffolk coast in Aldeburgh. You’ll see people queuing outside The Golden Galleon for fish and chips. Locals in the know go to their second fish & chip shop at the other end of the High Street where there’s usually a shorter queue.
THE ISLE OF WIGHT
Ventnor, Isle of Wight
You’ll find one of the best crab shacks in Britain hidden away in a ‘secret’ cove on the sunny southern shores of the Isle of Wight. Accessible only by foot with a sandy beach and rockpools that are ideal for crabbing, The Crab Shed at Steep Hill Cove is a good lunchtime jaunt for both foodies and families alike.
The Hut at Colwell Bay
Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight
Never got round to visiting the Isle of Wight? It’s worth it just to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset from The Hut at Colwell Bay on the western side of the island. What was once a cold and nondescript café next to a row of unloved beach huts, has been transformed into a posh beach café where yachties arrive by tender.
Lobster spaghetti and fish tacos sit alongside sirloin steak and cheeseburgers on the menu. For drinks, the wine list caters to connoisseurs who can take the plunge and order a bottle of Cloudy Bay (£59) or Mersault (£95). A bottle of Bacchus from Chapel Down Vineyard in Kent will set you back £42.
Burton Bradstock, Dorset
Fans of ITV’s Broadchurch series will be familiar with the stunning backdrop of the Dorset coast. Just along from West Bay, where the series was filmed, you’ll find Hive Beach Café at Burton Bradstock. This award-winning seafood café is where holidaymakers and weekenders come for fish-and-chips-by the sea.
Need a place to stay? Check out The Seaside Boarding House, a lovely white clapboard house overlooking Burton Bradstock beach.
The Hive Beach Cafe also has two sister cafes: The Watch House Cafe at West Bay and a more recent arrival, The Club House at West Bexington.
Dine at a pop up event, watch demos from local chefs and participate in tasting seminars. Or simply shop, taste, eat and drink your way around Dartmouth Food Festival, soaking up the convivial atmosphere in this popular maritime town.
Mitch Tonks and Mat Prowse, both chefs, opened the first Rockfish seafood restaurant in Dartmouth in 2009. The aim was to create a restaurant where people could gather and enjoy the very best seafood that was being caught right outside the door of the restaurant. They’ve since expanded their offering so you can now dine on sustainable fish at Rockfish seafood restaurants in Plymouth, Exeter, Exmouth, Brixham and Torquay.
Sample the delights of Yorkshire’s finest fish & chips on this trail which takes in the famous seaside towns of Whitby, Scarborough and Saltburn. Visit the historic town of Helmsley on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors or take a trip on a steam railway where you can eat a fish & chip supper as you chug along enjoying the view.
Recommendations on the Yorkshire fish & chip trail include Whitby’s famous Magpie Cafe which has been re-opened following a major fire.
Freshwater West Beach, Pembrokeshire
Everything about Café Mor is unique and inspiring. This humble mobile beach shack in Pembrokeshire is actually a solar-powered converted fishing boat. It has won numerous awards and serves up tasty seafood snacks (lobster rolls, fish butties, beach burgers etc) to hungry surfers. The magic ingredient? Locally harvested seaweed.
Sold under The Pembrokeshire Beachfood Company brand, products include among others, Welsh Sea Black Butter (laverbread cooked in organic butter that’s been lightly spiced) and Captain Cat’s Mor seasoning.
Foodie Travel Guide Tip: Sprinkle Welshman’s Caviar onto your morning boiled egg or scrambled eggs and it will take your breakfast to another level.
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