The Best Beachside Restaurants In The UK

London might be the food capital of the UK, but that’s not to say there aren’t some first-class restaurants outside the city. Whether you’re planning a summer staycation or just gathering ideas for a day trip, these are the beachside restaurants worth a visit…
By Sherri Andrew /
Emily Scott, Watergate Bay

Emily Scott

Watergate Bay, Cornwall

Emily Scott is one of Cornwall’s most celebrated chefs. Last year, she cooked for world leaders at the G7 summit at the Eden Project, and this summer she returns to her eponymous restaurant at Watergate Bay hotel in Newquay to serve a selection of simple seafood and plant-based meals. In Emily’s own words, her ethos is all about “creating beautiful, fuss-free food”. That includes local seafood from Cornish waters with dishes like roasted scallops with truffle butter, lobster with elderflower vinaigrette, spiced monkfish with vermouth sauce, and baked hake with crispy potatoes. Diners can book in to try the six-course tasting menu – reservations open three months in advance. 

On the Beach, Watergate Bay, Newquay, TR8 4AA

Visit EmilyScottFood.com

East Beach Café

Littlehampton, Sussex

Right on the beachfront with wide-angle views of the sea, East Beach Café serves uncomplicated food using local ingredients. On the promenade of Littlehampton – a classic English seaside town on the Sussex coast – the restaurant was one of the first buildings to be designed by Thomas Heatherwick (the man and studio responsible for the 2012 Olympic Cauldron and velodrome). Within this angular, sculptural venue, diners can order British classics like locally caught fish and chips with pea purée, day-boat fish soup, and fishcakes with charred broccoli and lemon butter – alongside a popular brunch menu at weekends. Drinks-wise, the restaurant celebrates Sussex’s rich wine scene, with plenty of local sparkling wine from vineyards such as Nutbourne, Rathfinny, Tinwood and Storrington Priory.

The Promenade, Littlehampton, West Sussex, BN17 5GB

Visit EastBeachCafe.co.uk

Riley’s Fish Shack

Tynemouth, Tyne & Wear

For laid-back dining right on the sand, Riley’s Fish Shack serves its catch of the day from a semi-portable fish bar and grill. On the shorefront at King Edward Bay, all food is prepared and cooked from two shipping containers which have been turned into a working kitchen. Specials are announced in the morning and served alongside regular chargrilled offerings of lobster, monkfish, kippers, squid and mackerel. You can order your food to take away or book a deck chair on the sand to soak up the buzzy atmosphere. Previous items on the menu have included dishes like turbot chops on summer salad with smoked almonds, grilles oysters with salsa verde, skate with harissa and capers, and cod on green lentils and pancetta. The team also serves breakfast on the beach, including fresh pastries, kedgeree and kippers. 

King Edward’s Bay, Tynemouth, NE30 4BY

Visit RileysFishShack.com

Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth

The Hut

Colwell Bay, Isle of Wight

This beach hut restaurant was made for long lunches by the sea. Tables get booked up quickly, so it’s worth booking in advance if you want to dine on the terrace with views of Cowell Bay – one of the prettiest areas in the Isle of Wight. Seafood is caught by local fishermen so there’s always something seasonal on offer, as well as surf-and-turf options and signature fruit de mer sharing platters featuring oysters, prawns, crab, red tuna and seabass sashimi. Leave room for desserts like white chocolate and raspberry choux buns, peach jelly and lemon pavlova.

Colwell Chine Road, Colwell Bay, Freshwater, PO40 9NP

Visit TheHutColwell.co.uk

Inver

Cairndow, Scotland

This modern Scottish restaurant with rooms opened its doors seven years ago and quickly established itself as one of the Highlands’ best places to eat. On the shores of Loch Fyne in Cairndow – a pretty coastal hamlet – it serves local seafood and organic produce from Scottish farmers and suppliers. Head to the cosy bar for a couple of drinks before settling down in the candlelit dining room where some tables have sea views. The menu changes regularly, but current offerings include Loch Creran oysters with horseradish; mussels, chickpeas and spinach; monkfish cooked over coals with grilled kumquat; and rhubarb parfait with beeswax ice-cream, rose oil and honey. Guests can stay in luxury shepherd’s huts or bothies on the beautiful estate. 

Strathlachlan, Cairndow, PA27 8BU

Visit InverRestaurant.co.uk

The Hut, Colwell Bay

Porthminster Beach Café

St Ives, Cornwall

With beautiful views of St Ives Bay, Porthminster Beach Café is a favourite with tourists and locals alike during the summer months, when diners can enjoy a range of Cornish dishes on the outdoor terrace. The restaurant is regularly recognised for its sustainability efforts – the team use fishermen who catch fish using a minimal-stress regime, help with local beach cleans, and are currently building a sub-tropical garden to grow their own vegetables. In terms of food, the café specialises in Mediterranean and Asian seafood with dishes like crispy fried squid with miso dressing; crab, prawn and mussel linguine; steamed wontons with bok choy; and tiger prawn and monkfish curry. 

Porthminster Beach, Carbis Bay, St Ives, TR26 2EB

Visit PorthminsterCafe.co.uk

Mickey’s Beach Bar

Exmouth, Devon

With some of the most stylish interiors on this list, Mickey’s Beach Bar in Exmouth wouldn’t look out of place in Mykonos, thanks to its oversized wicker lampshades, boho chic décor and retractable roof. The restaurant has beautiful views of Exmouth beach and Torquay – diners can watch boats bob on the waves while enjoying delicious seafood and wine. Headed up by Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines, the restaurant has a laid-back vibe and celebrates the best produce the south west has to offer. Diners can choose from classics like fish and chips, seafood curries and pizzas from the wood-fired oven, or enjoy plates from the grill which are cooked over coals and served with a selection of sauces like chimichurri or miso glaze. We recommend the pear and stem ginger sponge with dark chocolate ice-cream for dessert.

Unit 1, Sideshore, Queen's Drive, Exmouth, EX8 2GD

Visit MickeysBeach.co.uk

Beach House Restaurant

Swansea, Wales

Headed up by chef Hywel Griffith, Beach House Restaurant holds a Michelin star. With views of Oxwich Bay beach, it specialises in fine dining that celebrates the best of Welsh seafood and produce. Guests can eat in the main dining room or under umbrellas on the deck. Choose the three-course tasting menu to enjoy dishes like braised beef with lobster, steamed dumpling, apple and coriander; turbot with broad beans, picked cockles and sea lettuce; and salted caramel tart with tonka beans and raspberries. 

Oxwich Bay, Swansea, SA3 1LS

Visit BeachHouseOxwich.co.uk

The Hut, Colwell Bay
Mickey’s Beach Bar, Exmouth

Riddle & Finns

Brighton

Riddle & Finns is a household name in Brighton and much loved for its quality local seafood and champagne. Taking inspiration from the high-end liquor shops and oyster bars of New York and Paris, it offers an impressive culinary experience. Whether you're looking for a bowl of chowder and a glass of wine, or 24 freshly shucked oysters and a vintage champagne, the kitchen caters for every occasion. In the original Lanes oyster bar, you’ll find yourself seated side by side and lit by candlelight, while its new beachside restaurant features an outdoor terrace and unrivalled views of the sea. A few steps away, there’s also Due South, a newer offshoot serving wild food cooked over fire.

12b Meeting House Lane, Brighton, BN1 1HB & 65 Kings Road, Brighton, BN1 1NA  

Visit RiddleAndFinns.co.uk

Southsea Beach Café

Portsmouth, Hampshire

With lovely views of Southsea’s buzzing pier, this beach café is set right on the shingle beach. Popular with families, little ones can play in the beach courtyard while adults soak up the sun on the terrace. Open for breakfast right through to dinner, there’s a retractable roof and takeaway window for passers-by looking for hot drinks and sandwiches. Head to the café in the morning to try the kippers on toast, courgette and sweetcorn fritters, and baked hash browns with fried eggs, or book a table in the afternoon to tuck into classic fare like fish and chips, whole plaice with crispy potatoes, chimichurri prawns and fish boards featuring prawns, calamari and beetroot-cured salmon. 

Eastney Esplanade, Southsea, Portsmouth, PO4 0SP

Visit SouthseaBeachCafe.co.uk

Beach House Restaurant, Oxwich Bay

Seafood & Grill

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

You’ll find the Brudenell Hotel along the Suffolk coast, and its destination restaurant is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. The restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows so diners can take in the beautiful sea views across Aldeburgh, plus colourful interiors with nautical touches throughout. There’s a lively atmosphere, especially during weekends, when hotel guests and locals flock to the restaurant to try the fish of the day and other seafood treats like sardines and sweet peppers, crab arancini, devilled whitebait and smoked mackerel scotch eggs. Larger plates include seafood platters, grilled lobster with garlic butter, and plaice and crab gremolata.

Aldeburgh Court, Aldeburgh, IP15 5BZ

Visit BrudenellHotel.co.uk

The Boathouse

Instow, Devon

A romantic spot overlooking the Taw and Torridge rivers, The Boathouse in Instow is an award-winning beach bar and restaurant. Open from spring until early October, book a spot on the first-floor deck terrace to sit on wicker chairs and take in the views of Instow beach. Here, it’s all about the catch of the day from Devonshire’s waters – local fishermen deliver fish daily so there’s always something new to try, as well as signature dishes like king prawn and crab linguine, lobster thermidor salad and soft-shell crab burgers with kimchi slaw. On Sundays, diners can enjoy roast dinners with all the trimmings.

Marine Parade, Instow, Bideford, EX39 4JJ

Visit TheBoathouseInstow.co.uk

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