Crisp golden batter, flaky white fish and fresh chunky chips doused in salt and vinegar. Fish and Chips is England’s signature dish, and where better to eat it than at one of country’s seaside resorts.
There’s nothing better than Fish and Chips by the beach! In fact I can’t imagine a British seaside town without its local chippie. To me Fish and Chips is synonymous to sea and summer holidays.
Anyone who’s ever visited Great Britain will have either tried Fish and Chips or at least walked past a Fish and Chip Shop. Ask any British person if they’ve ever been to a ‘chippy’ as it is affectionately known here, and their answer will sure enough be a resounding ‘YES’! Fish and Chips is a quintessentially British comfort food.
Fish and Chip shops came about as a result of the popularity of fishing trawls, and new railways which allowed for fresh fish to be transported further inland.
The first Fish and Chip shop opened up in London in 1860, and it was a means to feed the working class with cheap, readily available fish. The fish and chips would be cooked in a big cauldron full of beef dripping, fired by hot coals.
It proved to be a main staple throughout the country, so much so, that during the Second World War, Fish and Chips was exempt from food rationing!
These days, you will find fish and chip shops all over Great Britain, although many have now diversified and also sell pies, kebabs, burgers etc. The price of fish has soared, resulting in a decline of people buying this popular dish, and there have also been reports of some chippy’s selling a cheaper type of fish, when they are saying it is cod.
The success of a good Fish and Chips all rests on the batter. Every chippy has its own ‘secret’ recipe. But not everyone gets it right.
Here’s my guide to the UK’s top seaside chippies.
BEST FISH AND CHIPS IN THE NORTH EAST
THE MAGPIE CAFE AT THE QUAYSIDE
Location: Whitby, Yorkshire
Train ticket price: £10.20 for an Anytime Day Return ticket from Middlesbrough to Whitby, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Whitby
Train travel time from London: 1.5 hours
New bistros and bars along with plenty of boutique accommodation are changing the face of the old fishing port of Whitby – long known for its dramatic abbey ruins, golden sandy beach and connections with both Captain Cook and Dracula.
But if there’s one constant in this historic harbour town, it’s the length of the daily queue outside The Magpie Café, probably England’s best-known fish and chip restaurant. In business since 1939, it’s where cooking the daily catch is raised to an art form – with much of the fish taken straight from the boats at the harbourside fish market opposite the restaurant.
Other places in town have taken up the challenge – the Quayside is a past winner of the National Fish and Chip Awards, but for a traditional taste of England at its best, take part in that other very traditional English pastime at The Magpie – queuing.
THE GOLDEN GIRL
Location: Selby, Yorkshire
Train ticket price: £27.50 for an Off-Peak Day Return ticket from Leeds to Scarborough, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Selby
Train travel time: 22 minutes
The Golden Girl serves some of the best seafood dishes and the finest fish and chips in yorkshire. With a great selection of specialty fish dishes, an extensive wine list and atmosphere, and an ‘On Market Fish License’ – allowing The Golden Girl to buy the freshest fish direct from skippers, the freshest and finest seafood dining experience is surely guaranteed.
OCEAN FISH BAR
Location: Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire
Train ticket price: £33.90 for an Anytime Day Return ticket from Leeds to Cleethorpes, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Cleethorpes
Train travel time: 1 hour
With four-and-a-half miles of golden sands, visitors are spoilt for choice in this popular beach resort. Bring your bucket and spade and spend a day building sandcastles, or use the beach as a makeshift football or cricket pitch.
When hunger strikes, you’re in good hands at Ocean Fish Bar thanks to the region’s years of fishing expertise, ensuring the freshest catch.
BEST FISH AND CHIPS IN THE NORTH WEST
BENTLEYS FISH AND CHIPS SHOP
Location: Blackpool, Lancashire
Train ticket price: £17.00 for Off-Peak Day Return ticket from Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Blackpool
Train travel time: 2 hours
Seaside resorts don’t get more iconic than Blackpool Pleasure Beach. With its famous tower and promenade, seven miles of award-winning golden beaches and the magic of illuminations; it’s time to take a fresh look at this favourite British seaside town.
With a host of takeaways, you’re never far from a fish and chip shop for a supper on the sands. Our suggestion is Bentleys Fish and Chips shop.
ATKINSON’S FISH AND CHIPS
Location: Morecambe Bay, Lancashire
Train ticket price: £17.50 for an Off-Peak Day Return tickets from Manchester Piccadilly to Morecambe, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Morecambe
Train travel time: 1.5 hours
The sweeping bay of Morecambe offers you the chance to enjoy the many pleasures of the seaside, whether it’s enjoying fish and chips at Atkinson’s fish and chips, building sandcastles, or enjoying the spectacular views across the ocean.
This bustling bay is not only home to mischievous seagulls, it’s also known as Britain’s most important wintering site for wildfowl and wading birds, which is recognised in the bird motifs and sculptures along the stone jetty.
You can also stroll along the prom to the statue of one of Britain’s most treasured comedians – Eric Bartholomew, known to his audiences as Eric Morecambe.
BEST FISH AND CHIPS IN THE SOUTH EAST
Location: Hastings Pier, East Sussex
Train ticket price: £27.20 for a Super Off-Peak Day Return ticket from London Victoria to Hastings, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Hastings
Train travel time: 2.5 hours
The ancient Cinque Port was once one of the country’s most important resorts, and its 910ft‑long pier – thought to be the first of the 99 in Britain that was built for entertainment, rather than as landing stages – was at the heart of its fortunes. Described as “a peerless pier” at its 1872 opening, it took 56,000 people through its turnstiles in just one August week in 1931.
After a major refurbishment, Hastings Pier is now back in service and will host a restaurant, circuses, plays, concerts, film festivals, farmers’ markets and urban sports, as well as its own fish and chip bar, Maggie’s.
ALDEBURGH FISH AND CHIP SHOP
Location: Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Train ticket price: £44.10 for an Off-Peak Day Return ticket from London Liverpool Street, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Saxmundham
Train travel time: 3 hours
With pastel-painted homes looking out to sea and a pebble beach topped with fisherman’s huts selling the daily catch, Aldeburgh encapsulates the quintessential English seaside scene.
You’ll find a superb fish supper or takeaway at the family-run Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop, whose famous fish and chips, fried in beef dripping, have been lauded as some of the best in Britain again and again by reviewers and foodies from far and wide. The queue, which often stretches right around the block, speaks for itself.
BEST FISH AND CHIPS IN THE SOUTH WEST
Location: Looe, Cornwall
Train ticket price: £5.80 for an Off-Peak Day Return ticket from Plymouth to Looe, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Looe
Train travel time: 1.5 hours
Catch Looe was voted the ‘Best Newcomer in the National Fish and Chip Awards 2016’ making it a sure bet for high-quality Fish and Chips.
The seaside town is still very much a working fishing port. Start your day early and you can watch the day’s catch being auctioned on the quay and pick up some fresh fish for yourself.
Looe is famous for its food and many eateries in the town serve up award-winning fare, from fish and chips near the river to gourmet menus in smart restaurants perched on the hill overlooking the harbour.
As fishing is big business in the town, visitors too can try their hand with a rod and line on organised mackerel fishing trips close to the shore or for big game hunters, you can take a boat and head down to meet the Gulf Stream 25 miles out to sea to seek out crafty blue sharks.
EAST BEACH CAFE
Location: Littlehampton, Dorset
Train ticket price: £29.10 for an Off-Peak Day Return ticket from London Victoria to Littlehampton, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Littlehampton
Train travel time: 2 hours
Serving the best local and seasonal produce all year round, the East Beach Café is situated right on the beachfront to guarantee fantastic views.
The building itself is something to marvel at, with the design eclectically basing itself on a piece of driftwood. But this place isn’t styled over substance, with the menu being just as pleasing as the architecture, featuring seaside favourites such as salt and pepper squid and beer-battered fish and chips.
SQUIRES FISH AND CHIP RESTAURANT
Location: Braunton, Devon
Train ticket price: £10.00 for an Off-Peak Day Return ticket from Exeter to Barnstaple, purchased through Trainline
Nearest station: Barnstaple
Train travel time: 1 hour
A short bus from Barnstaple station, Braunton is home to the exceedingly good (and exceedingly popular) fish and chip emporium, Squires.
Eat-in the restaurant or join the queue for takeaway and head back to the beach for dinner whilst watching the surfers take on the Atlantic waves.
The information in this post was produced together with Visit England and Trainline. By booking your tickets through the Trainline App in advance you can save an average of 43% versus buying on the day of travel. For more ideas on popular places to visit over the bank holiday, head to www.visitengland.com.
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