The Best Beachside Nosh in the UK
What do you eat when you go to the beach? Sandwiches!
Right, now we’ve got that out of the way, we’re going to recommend some of the best places to eat around the coast. There’s something here for everyone – whether you’re someone who likes chomping on chips from paper, or dining in a posh place that calls gravy jus, and every menu item is a long paragraph of curly adjectives with more than a smattering of French thrown in, and at least three items you’ve never heard of before, let alone know whether you like.
We start our tour in the North at the famous fishing port of Whitby. The Magpie Café is an absolute institution here, famed throughout Yorkshire and always popular. It has possibly the longest menu you’ll ever see, but this is Whitby so, of course, you’re going to have the fish and chips. Not that this narrows your choices by much, over the year they serve over twenty different types (dependent on season), and none of it takes more than 24 hours to go from sea to plate.
Heading down the coast to Cromer in Norfolk, and we’ll arrive at Galton Blackiston’s No1, technically not by the beach as it’s on the cliff top, but you get amazing views of the sea so we’re having this one. Fish and chips are very much the plat du jour downstairs (they achieved top 5 in the National Fish and Chips awards 2016), while upstairs is a restaurant offering the best in ‘Modern English Cooking’. Oh, and as this is Cromer, you’ve got to have the crab.
In the tiny Suffolk seaside village of Orford, you’ll find Pinney’s, a restaurant that looks a touch unglamorous, but one that serves the best oysters and smoked delicacies, drawing the foodie crowd up the A12 from London every weekend. Simple, uncomplicated, it’s a pleasure to dine here. And while you’re in this neck of the woods seek out the doughnuts of Pump Street Bakery, probably the only British bakers to be recommended in an Oscars speech (Mat Kirkby in 2015 in case you were wondering).
Rocksalt in Folkestone, Kent, is a classy joint with chic furnishings, lime-washed oak floors and large floor-to-ceiling windows through which you can see the harbour and even France on a clear day. The seven menus are suitably impressive too. Meanwhile, in the UK’s only desert is Dungeness Snack Shack. Serving super fresh fish, crab and even lobster out of a small hut, you can enjoy this delicious beach food sitting at a picnic table, or in one of their striped deckchairs.
Walk along the promenade in Littlehampton, Sussex, and you can’t fail to miss East Beach Café – with its driftwood/scallop-styled exterior it draws the eye of everyone who walks past. Serving a mix of traditional British food and the odd surprise (clam linguini anyone?) this is one of the most popular places on the south coast.
And finally, we can’t do a feature on coastal restaurants without mentioning the 'Codfather', Rick Stein. He is all over Padstow, but as those facilities aren’t actually by the beach we’re instead going to recommend his restaurant in Fistral, which abuts the golden sands of Newquay. Mixing traditional fish and chips with dishes inspired by his travels in India and the Far East, it’s a perfect place to recharge the batteries after a hard day’s surfing.