The best British seaside breaks for foodies

    Looking for a UK seaside break? We share six quick trips you can take that incorporate fantastic food, sand and, hopefully, a little sun too...

    Best for outdoor family fun
    Wadebridge, Cornwall

    Cornwall

    Padstow pictured above

    Get the family to work up a proper appetite on the picturesque 18-mile Camel Trail. Base yourself in the pretty riverside town of Wadebridge to walk a manageable, coast-hugging six-mile segment of this disused railway line to Padstow, where all manner of Paul Ainsworth and Rick Stein fare awaits as reward. This greenway is entirely flat, so easy going on little legs. Alternatively, you could hire bikes and attempt a longer stretch. For Padstow's most fuss-free food experience, get a takeaway from Stein's Fish & Chips, which requires no booking or sitting still. Draw the short straw to queue (and there will be one) while the others cool weary feet in the waters of the Camel Estuary. Specials include battered St Ives squid or chilli fish burgers (plus the usual perfectly fried fresh catch of the day with chunky chips).

    Just down the road, you can visit the National Lobster Hatchery, which teaches kids about sustainable fishing and the crustacean's life cycle, and offers the chance to see baby lobsters.

    Back in Wadebridge, indulge foodie needs at The Ship Inn, a gastropub run by former protégées of Stein, or enjoy a cosy evening meal at The Maltster's Arms, a 300-year-old restaurant in the outlying Chapel Amble village, which serves classics like grilled Cornish sole and salmon fillet on samphire.

    How to do it

    The Olde House is a collection of self-catering cottages (sleeping two to 10, from £400 per week) on Penpont Farm. It's a five-minute drive from the beach and activities include a surf club.

    Review by Sarah Barrell

    Best for getting away from it all
    Plockton, West Highlands

    It might take some time to get here, but once you do, put your phone away and slip into a slower rhythm of things. Plockton is a settlement with fewer than 400 inhabitants, a shop, a couple of hotels and an artists' colony, in a sheltered bay overlooking Loch Carron. Here, nature is king. Enjoy solitary walks with just the wind and life affirming views for company, take a boat tour to watch seals, or kayak on the still waters. A highlight is the fresh and very local food. The three Ps come highly recommended. Plockton Shores serves hand-dived scallops, local langoustines and venison from Fort William. The Plockton Inn has its own smoker — try the smoked haddock and salmon fishcakes — and offers a changing smoked seafood platter assortment of mussels, clams, oysters and salmon, served with wasabi mayo and crusty bread. Overlooking Loch Carron, The Plockton Hotel has its own smoked fish soup, just-caught langoustines and local fresh salmon fillet, which is baked with spring onion, lime & chilli, as well as some gluten-free and vegetarian choices.

    How to do it

    To get to Plockton from London, you can take the overnight Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness (excitement in itself for children). From there, it's a two-and-a-half hour journey to Plockton, along one of Scotland's most scenic rail lines. For more information, visit plockton.com.

    Rooms at The Plockton Hotel are from £45 per person per night on a B&B basis, there are two family suites, plus a four-bedroom cottage annex.

    Review by Olivia Greenway

    Best for local food and long beaches
    Isle of Wight

    Once known for Victorian grandeur, traditional seaside fun and the yachties who descend on Cowes for its sailing regatta in August, the Isle of Wight has reinvented itself to attract a foodier crowd.

    Food is right at the heart of this revolution. Across the island chefs are getting creative with local produce, from seafood to garlic and tomatoes, craft beer is on offer and the first distillery to be opened supplies local gin and vodka. The Little Gloster, near Cowes, is a chic beachside restaurant with rooms that puts a Nordic spin on seafood dishes (chef proprietor Ben Cooke's grandmother was Danish).

    For a long, sandy beach visit Ryde, walk the length of it and where it rounds the headland at Puckpool Park you’ll find the Dell Café, here you can eat excellent crab sandwiches for lunch or tapas, burgers and crisp fried fish platters for an early dinner. The bar menu offers Wight Mermaids gin and tonic (among other gins) making it an excellent venue for a sundowner and some ship-spotting.

    You can take your car but the local bus service is excellent and there’s a rickety ex-London tube train that runs from Ryde pier head to Shanklin past many of the East coast resorts. Take the bus to Bembridge and visit the lifeboat station stuck out on its own little pier, have a quick dip at Lane End beach then lunch on seafood at the Lifeboat View café or take walk round to The Beach Hut on Foreland Road for a tiny kiosk serving excellent food between May and October – weather permitting. 

    How to do it

    The Red Funnel ferry from Southampton to East Cowes or the Red Jet Hi Speed service to West Cowes, or WightLink ferries run Portsmouth to Fishbourne and Lymington to Yarmouth with a high speed to Ryde, or there’s the hover which takes 10 minutes but is best without too much luggage. For more info, visit the Isle of Wight's tourism website.

    Review by Lily Barclay

    Best for wildlife and smoked seafood
    Suffolk
    With Orford Ness National Nature Reserve, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Minsmere and Havergate Island within a 30-minute drive of each other, this stretch of the Suffolk coast is a blessing for wildlife lovers. Sometime home of the BBC's Springwatch, Minsmere is one of the UK's most impressive bird-watching centres, with woodland and wetland walks and marshy coastal scenery.

    This is also a superb area to delve into smoky British seafood. Here, every day is smoked kipper, smoked mackerel and smoked salmon day. The Butley Orford Oysterage is the place to come for no nonsense platters of seafood, smoked or otherwise. Don't miss the skate with brown butter sauce and the richest of fish pies.

    The Trinity Crown and Castle hotel has kitchens led by food writer Ruth Watson. Book for Sunday lunch and get there early for the best fish selection, including Orford landed skate with sautéed grapes, almonds & nut brown butter, or Suffolk lamb rump with Sicilian caponata for seafood naysayers.

    How to do it

    Choose from two smartly decorated cottages, both sleeping four, on a working farm in Orford. Week-long breaks starting from 442.

    Review by Sarah Barrell

    Best for an island getaway
    Anglesey

    Anglesey

    This Welsh island comes with a royal seal of approval — the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lived here as newlyweds. So it's not surprising that the Oyster Catcher restaurant, amid the dunes on Rhosneigr beach, has a Will's Bar that serves super fresh fish and seafood, including oysters from the Menai Strait.

    Anglesey is dotted with beautiful beaches, including Newborough in the south, with views of Snowdonia. Nearby The Marram Grass does a brilliant Welsh breakfast (including homemade brown sauce), plus impressive lunch and dinner dishes starring local produce: Menai mussels, Newborough lamb and Rhoscolyn beef.

    With spectacular views over Benllech Beach and Red Wharf Bay, The Tavern on the Bay is a great family gastropub with a menu full of crowd pleasers. The two-course Sunday lunch (£15.95) offers beef and lamb from Benllech. Go crabbing on the pier at Beaumaris, then cycle or drive for tea at the Pilot House Café at Penmon Point, overlooking the lighthouse and Puffin Island. Scones and a pot of tea is what a day beside the sea is all about. Menai Bridge also hosts an annual seafood festival on 20th August.

    How to do it

    Visit Anglesey has a family trail featuring ‘the stinky old bits’ and there are plenty of ideas for fun days out with the family.

    Review by Barney Desmzary

    Best for bracing walks and fresh fish
    Northumberland

    The underexplored coast of Northumberland runs north of Newcastle up to Berwick-upon-Tweed: a 100-mile stretch with lots of beautifully wild and often deserted beaches. This region is made for walking, rich in birdlife and flora. Take a boat trip to the Farne Islands, which have some of the UK's largest seabird colonies. The fishing village of Seahouses, which has a good choice of accommodation, is a good base for exploration. Read a kid's guide to Seahouses, by all accounts it’s worth taking a wetsuit!

    The best walk is from Craster to Low Newton-by-the-Sea (six miles), with castle ruins and superb sea views. Don't miss Low Newton's The Ship Inn — right next to the beach, it brews its own beer. Sate that sea air fuelled appetite on kipper paté with oatcakes, or crab salad. In Craster, try The Jolly Fishermen's special — crab soup with local bread.

    In Seahouses, visit Swallow Fish, which has the village's original smokery, established in 1843. Owner Patrick Wilkin, one of Rick Stein's 'food heroes', produces award-winning kippers, using oak sawdust and no colouring. He also sells dressed crab and salmon.

    Fresh crab sandwiches don't come better than at The Olde Ship Inn overlooking the harbour, which are best accompanied by one of its well kept cask ales. And for the best fish & chips, go to Pinnacles.

    How to do it

    The Bakehouse B&B in Seahouses, with an open fire in the lounge and a hearty cooked breakfast, has rooms starting from £75; the Olde Ship Inn has 18 charming rooms, with good service, doubles from £94. From Newcastle, a coach service to Seahouses takes around two-and-a-half hours.

    Review by Olivia Greenway

    Accommodation for this feature was provided by: on the Isle of Wight, Red Funnel, and Isle of Wight Tourism; in Anglesey, Visit Anglesey.

    Do you have any seaside recommendations? We'd love to hear from you below...

    Comments, questions and tips

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    ClaireHector
    16th Aug, 2016
    Wonderful to see the Isle of Wight mentioned and the restaurants you feature are great and very well know... but you've missed a bit! Arguably the Isle of Wight's best... and definitely its longest... beach is Sandown Bay... take the London tube to Sandown or to Shanklin for a fantastic selection of new and newish beach restaurants... Beach Shack with its seafood and white wine on the esplanade, ammonites in the sand in front of you and fulmars nesting on the cliffs behind, The Bandstand - spectacular glass views framing Culver Cliffs, Salix at the magically-named Small Hope Beach, and don't forget doughnuts at the historic '30s Henry Cotton-designed golf course and greenhouse-style cafe, Browns at Yaverland, once part of the PLUTO Pipeline's disguised workings!
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