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The UK’s 10 Best Seaside Fish and Chip Shops

Few dishes can invoke such cravings as fish and chips and they always seem to taste better by the sea. Crispy batter, golden potatoes and the freshest catch are all on the menu for Mark Sansom, who seeks out Britain's finest.

Riddle and Finns Brighton

In a locale with more fish and chip shops than you can shake a stick of rock at, Riddle and Finns stands out as the very best. Counting Gordon Ramsay as a happy customer, it’s as far from paper-wrapped fish and wooden chip forks as you’ll find, with most produce from Shoreham and chef David Roy committed to the best of the area. His cockles and crabs, for example, come from fishermen working a few hundred yards from the terrace. Spend an afternoon enjoying oysters with champagne, or a delicious Court Garden Farm English sparkling wine, then head inside for fish and chips that’s more fine dining than Formica.

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Travel Details

139 Kings Road Arches,
Brighton BN1 2FN, 01273
821218, riddleandfinns.co.uk

The Rockfish Dartmouth

Set overlooking the bucolic River Dart with its fishing boats meandering up and down with the ebb and flow of the tide, you can almost taste how good The Rockfish’s wares are going to be before they arrive. Owned by celebrated chef Mitch Tonks, the restaurant holds 65 awards and has a log burner to warm up beside after long yomps across the moors. The South Coast calamari with aïoli make a fresh change from the classic, though being this close to source, you really can’t do much better than a South Devon crab roll, served with pickled cucumber, Marie Rose sauce and lashings of sweet white crab meat.

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Travel Details

8 South Embankment
Dartmouth TQ6 9BH, 01803
832800, therockfish.co.uk

Frankie's Brae Shetland

With awards packed into its cabinet like the trawlermen bringing overflowing buckets of fish to its door, Frankie’s has been voted number one fish and chip shop in the UK three times and the top fish and chip shop in Scotland twice. Tourists take the pilgrimage to say they’ve been to the most northerly restaurant in the UK, but its real speciality is muckle (Shetland for large) scallops and chips. They’re harvested from iron-rich waters around the island, giving a fuller flavour than you will have tried before. And you can take a kilo of award-winning mussels away with you for less than £10.

Travel Details

Brae, Shetland ZE2
9QJ, 01806 522700,
frankiesfishandchips.com

Stein's Fish and Chips Padstow

The first name in British fish, Rick Stein’s outpost on the Cornish coast is a lesson in how good fish, batter and potato can be. Fried in beef dripping, with a homemade tartare sauce that’s as good as any you’ll find, his fish and chips are simple, yet served with complete elegance that belies what you’d expect from the British staple. Not surprisingly, all the fish is landed on the restaurant’s doorstep. The hake, monkfish, John Dory, bass and, of course, cod are all worth ordering. We suggest going as a group and asking for a sharing platter for the table. It’s as close to a British fruits de mer as you’ll ever get.

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Travel Details

South Quay, Padstow
PL28 8BL, 01841 532700,
rickstein.com

Entwhistles Jersey

There’s something reassuring about returning to the same fish and chip shop that you’ve visited time and time again. Almost caught in a time warp, many of the best still showcase the same interior design – or lack thereof – they’ve had for decades, but by no means does it impeach on the quality of the food. Entwhistles is just such. On the same site for over 30 years, generations flock to Gorey beach for local Jersey skate breaded or battered, wrapped and then taken outside to be devoured on the Atlantic coast. Keep an eye out for seagulls; they’re famously fond of your chips in these parts.

Travel Details

Gorey Village, Grouville
JE3 9EP, 01534 854603,
entwhistles.com

VC Jones Whitstable

On the Kent town’s Harbour Street, VC Jones has been serving up traditional fish suppers for over 50 years, encompassing three generations of the Jones family. You’ll be able to find it by the snaking queue outside. Even though the area is festooned with fine fish, the locals only take theirs from Jones’, even when the queues are 30-long. While they do a fine line in line-caught cod, scampi is the stand-out plate. Follow a serving up with the 18-metre walk to the sea front, past the kaleidoscopic beach huts and straight to the Pearson’s Arms, one of the best pubs in the county.

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Travel Details

25 Harbour Street, Whitstable
CT5 1AH, 01227 272703,
vcjones.co.uk

Whelan's Fish Restaurant Lytham St Annes

Find enormous portions of halibut, fishcakes and chunky cod, perfectly battered with just the right amount of crunch. Locals have been splashing vinegar on to their fat chips here since 1937; almost as long as the nearby pier has stood over the Lytham shores. It’s nicely located away from the madding Blackpool crowds and in summer it’s open until 10pm, making takeaway a good option for a picnic in the dunes while watching the sun hide behind the pier as it sets on the shallows. Inside, it’s tradition to enjoy bread and butter and strong-brew pots of Lancashire tea. 'Absolutely excellent fish and chips' says Grodon Ramsay. We agree. 

Travel Details

26 Clifton Street, Lytham St Annes FY8 5 EW, 01253 735188, whelansfishandchips.co.uk

Peter's Fish Factory Margate

Its name may conjure up an image of mass-produced tourist platters, but this local favourite is as personal as it gets. Queues wind out the door and along the cobbles on busy lunchtimes and especially Friday nights, not least because this cubby hole chippy is small in stature. What it lacks in size it more than makes up for in decent portions, fresh chips and some of the lightest, crispiest batter around. There’s a good choice of fish – more than just cod – and the mushy peas have a beautiful consistency. There are a few outdoor tables, or eat on the prom overlooking a panorama of beach, sea, sky and the Turner Contemporary gallery. Fish and vista, anyone?

Travel Details

12 The Parade,
Margate CT9 1EZ,
01843 292485
(no website)

Pinnacles Seahouses

Most southerners won’t have heard of scraps; people of the north justifiably find this outrageous. Ostensibly the off-cuts of batter on fish, once sprinkled on chips and doused in vinegar, they melt into a crispy topping that’s nothing short of delicious. Set in Seahouses on the rugged Northumbrian coast, Pinnacles serves stunning scraps that play a close second fiddle to the North Sea fish delivered fresh from local fishermen and served in traditional Formicatabled surrounds. The Hairy Bikers are big fans and they count Robson Green as a regular. Order nothing more than cod, chips and mushy peas and gaze out to sea as the original customers would have done 25 years ago.

Travel Details

17-19 Main Street,
Seahouses NE68 7RE,
01665 720708,
pinnaclesfishandchips.com

The Golden Galleon Aldeburgh

Sitting on a Suffolk sea wall watching waves break with chips on your lap made from local potatoes and fish from the East Coat is a mainstay of East Anglian life. All the locals flock to the Galleon for their fill. Regularly rated as one of the top in the UK, the same family have owned the premises since 1967 and have since spawned two extra sites to cater to demand. Everything is submerged in beef dripping, giving that unmistakable almost meaty crust before teeth meet flaky, white fish. Value here is outstanding, extra-large cod is under a fiver, chips are £1.50 and homemade tartare sauce is well worth £1.35 more. At prices like that, it’s worth making the trip alone.

Travel Details

137 High Street,
Aldeburgh IP15 5AR,
01728 454685,
aldeburghfishandchips.co.uk

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