The best UK beach huts for seafoodies

prawn
Approx read: 5 mins

Lead forth dear stomach, let us begin our wanderings.

*Stomach grumbles*

Trips to the UK seaside bring back fond memories of my childhood. Days spent building sandcastles on the beach in Wales with mum, dad, sister and grandparents. Back then lunch would be homemade sandwiches covered in sand and warm bottles of pop. As an occasional treat, there would be fish and chips in newspaper before the journey back home.

Nowadays the food offerings along the UK’s beaches have improved. Fish and chips will always have a place in my heart but it’s also pretty nice to have a choice. Here are some of the most-loved food shacks from around the UK to tantalise your taste buds.

Southwest Coast

The Beachhouse, South Milton Sands, Devon

A shabby-chic beach house serving crab rolls, fish finger butties, chilli-laced jumbo prawns and other delights from the sea. Grab a hot coffee when they open at 9.30am or grab something to eat later in the day – until closing time at 11pm. A beautiful location along the Devon coast and a great place to watch the sunset with your toes buried in the sand.

Shell Bay, Studland, Dorset

A well-loved seafoodie paradise a short hop away from the flashy Sandbanks stretch of the Dorset coastline. This gem sits on the tip of the Isle of Purbeck, on the edge of the Studland nature reserve. Jersey oysters, fire-roasted cod, and shell-on crevettes are all on the menu. But the special here is the Dorset blue lobster. Book a table outside if the weather’s fine and watch the sunset over Brownsea Island.

The Hidden Hut Portscatho, Truro, Cornwall

If your wanderings take you along the South West Coast Path, take a rest at this little shack. From the modest set-up, they serve fresh cakes, grilled fish, Cornish pasties and seafood chowder. It’s not easily reached but well worth the effort for the delicious food and spectacular views.

oysters The best UK beach huts for seafoodies Laura Wallwork battleface.com

Southeast Coast

The Lobster Shack, Whitstable Harbour, Kent

If you didn’t already know, Whitstable is well-known for its oysters. Besides the oysters, there are also plenty of lobster options such as lobster and prawn mac ’n’ cheese or a half lobster baked with fresh chilli and chorizo. Food is paired with local tipples too such as Chapel Down wine and Whitstable Brewery beers. The shack is at the end of East Quay in the harbour. If the weather’s not that great, fear not, there’s a cosy inside dining area with a roaring fire.

East Beach Cafe, Littlehampton, West Sussex

You cannot miss this cafe right on the beachfront. It’s easy to spot. The building was designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick and is eye-catching. A cosy and cave-like interior, this place serves up smoked haddock and seared scallops. But their most popular dish is salt and pepper squid with chilli.

The Company Shed, West Mersea, Essex

Plastic chairs, vinyl tablecloths, and fluorescent lighting all create a rough-around-the-edges eatery. Despite its appearance, this place has fast become one of THE best places to eat oysters. Seafood platters, crab cakes, scallops and prawns are all on the menu. It is all seafood based so if that isn’t your thing, this may not be for you. Though this “plaice” (pardon the pun) has become very popular, the prices are still pretty decent. Mersea Island has tides twice daily which often cover the road, so be sure to check the tide times. Drivers have been known to get stuck and had to abandon their cars to the sea. It could work out a pretty expensive lunch if this happened to you.

Northeast Coast

Riley’s Fish Shack, Tynemouth

Nestled in King Edward’s Bay, this chic beachfront eatery is run by a husband and wife team. Locally sourced Craster kippers feature for breakfast. Lunch and dinner offer the best of the day’s catch from local fisheries and North Shields Market. If you come here for lunch or dinner, you must eat outside on the deckchairs with the fire pits. These come at an extra cost but add to the experience of eating at this renowned pescatarian heaven.

Wales

Sea Shanty Cafe, Trearddur Bay, Anglesey

Apart from loving the name and wanting to start singing ‘Wellerman’ at the top of my voice, this place is also pretty charming inside. The cafe that stands here now opened its doors in 2016. It is an expanded version of the original wooden shack cafe which had traded for over 60 years. A lively eatery with a varied menu catering for vegetarians, vegans, meat eaters and kids. A firm family favourite which can get busy during the summer months. Children queueing for ice creams and people coming up from the beach for a lazy lunch add to the seaside charm.

Beach House, Oxwich, Gower Coast

The only beach ‘hut’ to have a Michelin star. Situated among the sand dunes of Oxwich Bay, the building and menu echo its surroundings. Seasonal and local produce is served in a refined dining environment. It’s less burgers and fries and more fallow deer and artichokes. It is more high-end than others we have listed but one to consider for a dining experience or a celebratory treat.

Dylan’s, Criccieth, Gwynedd

Up the road from Portmeirion lies this Art Deco building housing Dylan’s Restaurant. This place is less beach-hutty and more of an architectural icon. The menu is filled with firm pub favourites that are both family and budget-friendly. Locally sourced lamb, chicken and mussels appear on their menu. Dylan’s is situated right on the beach in Criccieth, a pretty and sleepy seaside town. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat around Portmeirion, you could do worse than here.

crab The best UK beach huts for seafoodies Laura Wallwork battleface.com

Scotland

Cafe Canna, Isle of Canna, Inner Hebrides

National Trust-owned Canna Island can only be reached by sailing boat or ferry. Cafe Canna has an enviable spot on the shores of this remote island. Their dishes are almost entirely sourced from their immediate surroundings. You can’t get fresher than the day’s catch of lobster, crab and octopus, all from the crystal clear waters.

The Seafood Shack, Ullapool

This place is most definitely of the beach hut/shack variety. But this is an award-winning one. It was set up by two friends with a background in catering and a mutual love for the area and its seafood. The menu varies from day to day as it is created and based on what the fishermen catch and drop off early that morning. Scallops, smoked trout, oysters, and langoustines can all make an appearance. Everything is 100% fresh, local and sustainable. No surprise they won a Best Streetfood award. Enjoy your food with a view of the mountains on the other side of Loch Broom.

The Lobster Shack, North Berwick

Only open Thursday to Sunday this popular place is known for its….yep you guessed it, lobster! Try the grilled North Berwick lobster caught by fishermen off Seacliff Beach. Wash it down with a bottle of bubbly and sit in the Scottish sunshine. If the sun happens not to be shining, they have a covered and heated outdoor area where you can relax and enjoy the food. You can even take it away if you so desire. They also have haddock, crab and squid if you don’t fancy lobster.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m salivating while writing this. That is it. I am off to find some fish chips and mushy peas. Well, what do you expect? I’m from the Northwest.

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