Discover our top UK seaside food spots
With some international travel on hold for now, we join Muddy Stilettos, experts in witty insider guides to the very best food, walks, boutiques, day trips, hotels, interiors and events – whilst they share with us some of the best UK seaside eats. Explore everything from tasty snacks for the whole family to beautiful alfresco lunch with a view…
Where to start? Food and drink of course! With so many amazing local producers in Norfolk the food scene is one of the best in the country. With many pubs and restaurants opening in the next few weeks keep an eye on our picks below.
Norwich based or definitely worthy of a destination drive – head Farmyard(currently offering fine dining takeaway), Roger Hickman’s, The Last Wine Bar, or Benedicts. All boast award winning chefs offering creative dishes with home grown produce. For fine dine options in the Broads, our muddy favourite is The Ingham Swan (again takeaway currently on the go!) and over in North Norfolk Morston Hall is the place to be for your Michelin Star fodder (bookings now being taken). The Bank House in Kings Lynn is perfect for a spot of dockside dining in and there’s a special mention to Socius in Burnham Market, definitely making its mark on the Norfolk eating circuit.
Country pubs with thatched roofs, low beam ceilings and big inglenook fire places is what Norfolk does best. Coastal chic – The Orange Tree in Thornham, The Kings Head in Letheringsett, The Lodge in Old Hunstanton and The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe all make the Muddy mark. Plus they all have rooms if you want to make a night of it.
In the city, Blue Joanna is beloved of the cool crowd – great tapas menu and regular live music. Or more centrally The Sir Garnet overlooks Norwich’s iconic market and is a higgledy piggledy collection of nooks and crannies – post Covid it’s planning to reopen as a shop and pub, and will be open for food in the coming weeks.
Country classics – our Muddy Award winning pub The Bell in Brisley is definitely worth a detour for its tasty menu and beautiful quirky rooms.
Cafes, deli’s & farmshops
Norfolk is largely rural and therefore full of farmers growing lots of lovely local produce. With over 30 farm shops across the county, you’ll spy at least one as you drive around the countryside. Our favourites are Walsingham Farm Shop (they also have stall on Norwich Market), Thornham Deli and Back to the Garden near Letheringsett. Thornham and Back to the Garden both have lovely cafes serving up hearty brunches and mouthwatering cakes. Café sur la plage? – Head to our Muddy Award-winning Old Town Beach Cafe in Old Hunstanton for a nostalgic trip down seaside memory lane or the Dunes Cafe on Winterton Beach – great for dogs.
With 90 miles of coastline, you’ll find fresh fish is a staple on the coastal food scene. Cromer Crab is a fishy favourite and we recommend eating one on Cromer Pier with a side of chips. Norfolk is also renowned for its Brancaster mussells and if you’re a fish connoisseur don’t miss a trip to a local Smokehouse – Cley Smokehouse and Staithe Smokehouse are our favourites. The latter is conveniently located in the grounds of The White Horse in Brancaster Staithe – the best pint with a view in Norfolk. If you prefer your fish in batter, our favourite chippies are Eric’s in Thornham, Grosvenor Fish Bar in Norwich and Plattens in Wells-next-the-Sea.
With 35 years experience, East Coast Gelato in Hunstanton never disappoints and has the biggest range of flavours we’ve ever seen (and we’ve seen a lot). For cakes, our go-to’s are Annabel’s Hen House in Wymondham, Cupcake & Co in Norwich and for a pretty vintage experience Heydon Village Tea Shop. The Fig Bar is Norwich’s first dessert bar – check out their mouth watering Instagram grid and it will definitely make your foodie hit list.
Devon’ers are big foodies and food producers, and although many restaurants are obviously still locked down, many are offering takeaway and delivery.
Restaurants, cafes and farm shops
For a totally unique foodie experience, take a water taxi from Exmouth Marina and eat on the water at The River Exe Cafe (pictured above). It gets booked up for the short summer season its open (even shorter this year) so get in there quick.
If all that sea air gives you an appetite only fish and chips on a sea wall can sate, get down to Britannia at the Beach (above) better known to Beesands’ locals as The Shack, open every afternoon/evening except Tuesday, or award-winning Krispies in Exmouth (pre-book only), or go click and collect from Hanburys in Babbacombe.
For upmarket seafood, we love Mitch Tonks’ The Seahorse at Dartmouth for a special occasion, and his Rockfish restaurants around Devon, (hopefully all re-opening soon) including a new one planned for Sidmouth (fingers crossed).
Steering kids away from the dreaded McD’s? They do a quality takeaway burger bap and veggie options at Darts Farm Shack. Hungry for a West Country slap-up breakfast to go (as well as local gin and amazing cakes)? Head to award-winning John’s Deli in Appledore and Instow (they won a Muddy award in 2019).
Got a sweet tooth? For the best savoury takeaway galettes (and yummy chocolate and strawberry crepes), it’s got to be The Boathouse Topsham, or legendary home-made doughnuts (but only on weekends at the mo) The Curious Kitchen in Brixham though you can order their breakfast burritos and takeaway goodies online Weds – Sunday. And yay! Jacka’s Bakery at Plymouth’s Barbican, the oldest, cutest bakery in the UK and baker of amazing cinnamon whirls and sourdough is serving coffee and cake to go..
Muddy is desperate for something chilled in a beer garden and any of these will hit the spot once they’re open: The Anchor at Beer, The Turf on the River Exe (only accessible by bike or a 15 minute walk), The Royal George at Appledore (it’s a deck overlooking the estuary but boy, will it do), The Ferry Boat Inn (aka FBI) at Ditisham where a pint is normally accompanied by a swan or two and Salcombe’s Ferry Inn (fab estuary views even on a dull day, pictured above).
It’s our middle name! Try home-grown wine, fizz and cheese from Sharpham (now open except for vineyard tours) near Totnes, or how about a Salcombe Gin– they’ve just started a virtual gin school where you can enjoy some live distilling from home with an expert. And it would be rude not to have a Devon pasty while you’re here so get your chops round anything from 2019 Winner of Britain’s Best Pasty Chunk of Devon (available by post).
Cream teas and ice-cream
You have to have a cream tea, it’s the rule! For takeaway, head to the Horsebox at Otterton Mill near Budleigh Salterton or get a Cream Tea Picnic Hamper delivered from Devon Heaven, all made with the best local goodies. And when hotels open back up, go pinky-posh with an afternoon cream tea at Boringdon Hall, in their stunning Great Hall or take tea overlooking the awesome Humphry Repton landscape in the library at Hotel Endsleigh.
Muddy loves any ice-cream from Salcombe Dairy (but I’ll have the cocoa and shortbread-filled Salcombe Mud if you’re buying) or any of the 40 creamy flavours but especially Blackcurrant and Cream from Langage Farm. In-the-know North Devoners swear by family-run Hockings and the good news is the vans have been unleashed from lockdown and are at Appledore Quay, Westward Ho!, Bideford Quay and Torrington.
In usual climes, Cornwall is brim full of amazing food and produce. At the moment, obviously, things are somewhat limited but foodie spots and cafés are reopening and many are offering takeaway and delivery, some nationwide (don’t worry, we’ll keep this updated with the latest openings throughout the summer).
Hidden away in The Old Brewery Yard, Falmouth, is neighbourhood restaurant MINE which offers an excellent Saturday brunch and Sunday roast takeaway.
For seafood, you can’t go wrong with Falmouth’s Verdant Seafood Bar, found onsite at one of Cornwall’s best independent breweries, or for the best of both land and sea, there’s The Longstore (above), Charlestown, a steak and fish specialty restaurant. Both are offering takeaway now.
For other take out options, scope out cult food truck Taco Boys (you’ll usually find it parked on the beach in Polzeath); caterer and deli Fees Food, in Rock, has both takeaway and delivery of the best local Cornish food and, for fine dining at home, try Philleigh Way. It’s usually a cookery school, set on a farm on the beautiful Roseland peninsular, but is currently offering pre-cooked meals for delivery.
Also worth noting is brand new The Ethicurean at Trevibban Mill near Padstow (so new, it’s not open just yet) which is bound to be brilliant when it gets going, with a focus on veggies and Cornish fish. Another newbie, Fitzroy, in Fowey (which opened last year), is hoping to reopen for the summer season – it’s from the team behind Primeur, Westerns Laundry and Jolene. Fish features heavily alongside delicious small plates.
Indie café JamJar is just a stones throw away from the beach in Newquay serving amazing coffee and organic lunches (takeaway available); and Temple café and indie shop, in Bude, also has an ace takeaway offering.
Meanwhile St Ives is home to funky Yallah Kiosk (above), serving all your classic seaside essentials – takeaway coffee, fresh juice and donuts – plus there’s an exciting new cafe for St Ives called West Porthmeor, a new venture from part of the team behind Canteen Cornwall in St Agnes. It can be found right on the beachside.
Once they’re allowed to re-open we’re looking forward to going for food at The Old Coastguard in Mousehole (due to reopen after a fire & refurb the week lockdown started) with its tropical gardens and views of St Michael’s Mount; The St Tudy Inn near Bodmin Moor; and The Punchbowl & Ladle at Feock near Truro which has been taken over by the team who run the gorgeous Ferryboat Inn on the river Helford.
Elsewhere, don’t miss the lovely beer garden by the river at St Kew, and the waterside beer garden at the Pandora Inn at Restronguet, above. Watchful Mary at Watergate Bay serves drinks and cocktails with a terrace overlooking the beach and The Bowgie Inn at Crantock. The Oystercatcher at Polzeath, while less gastropub and more pub-pubs, both overlook wide sea vistas – just time it right to catch the sunset.
You can’t come to Cornwall without trying a pasty. The title of ‘best’ is fiercely contended (and there’s even a Cornish Pasty championships each year), but our favourites can be found at Ann’s Pasties in Mullion, Chacewater Bakery near Truro or a more classic one from Malcolm Barnecutt’s in Wadebridge (they all also send them nationwide). Boscastle Farm Shop also make a goodie from their own red ruby beef steak and their cheese & onion version features local Davidstow cheese.
For ice cream, a Muddy favourite is Moomaid, in Zennor (above) – I say chocolate, but my daughter says passionfruit is the best flavour. It also does takeaway and local delivery. Reeves in Port Isaac is also a dead cert, a teeny bright yellow ice cream van (also offering local delivery at this time).
For cakes our go-tos are Kern of Kernow delivering Insta catnip iced cakes and donuts from a van called Beyoncé; Ladyvale Bakery, a cheerful cake & coffee stop in Nansledan; Da Bara Bakery, which is widely voted the best for cinnamon buns and also does nationwide delivery.
Wherever you’re headed on your next adventure. Make sure you have Saltee by your side. Vegan-friendly, paraben free, gluten free, dermatologically tested, cruelty free and responsibly sourced.