The coasts of the UK and Ireland are teeming with world-class seafood, and fruit from Neptune’s pantry is at your fingertips. The native shores of our temperate corner of northwestern Europe can provide the escape we so desperately yearn, while also supporting the fishing and aquaculture sector which has suffered from both the pandemic and Brexit. .
These six gastronomic escapades will nourish the soul and soothe the senses. Additionally, the so-called “R rule” – a historic tradition that shellfish should be avoided in months that do not contain an “r” – means that native oysters will be back on the menu from September, when seashells will have finished spawning. .
Flaggy Shore, Co Clare, Ireland
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way runs along the west coast of the Emerald Isle. If you had to throw a dart to land in the center of the 2,500 mile course, you would hit the Flaggy Shore in Co Clare.
Immortalized in the poem by Seamus Heney Post Scriptum, this shallow, rocky strip of coastline sits at the foot of the rugged limestone surfaces of the Burren with the spectacular Cliffs of Moher to the south and Galway to the north.
Mount Vernon B&B Country House is a Georgian villa perched on the Flaggy Shore. A stone’s throw away is Flaggy Shore Oysters where you can tour the oyster farm and enjoy tastings like Henry VIII did over 400 years ago.
Local dining options include Linnane’s Lobster Bar, Monk’s Restaurant and Bar – famous for its seafood chowder – and countless traditional pubs. From there, head north to Galway City for the best fish and chips at McDonagh’s with a stop at Moran’s on the Weir for world-class Galway oysters, stout, and Irish soda bread.
Loch Fyne, Argyll & Bute
A scenic drive north of Glasgow that winds along the enigmatic coastal roads of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park will bring you to the shores of Loch Fyne.
The pristine waters of the loch are home to whales, birds and the famous Loch Fyne oyster farm in Cairndow.
Under the wooded hills at the mouth of the loch is the original restaurant, a celebration of Scottish seafood. Locally smoked salmon, langoustines caught in a loch trap in front of your table (generally shipped to Europe), crabs, lobsters and day boat are all enjoyed in an authentic Caledonian setting.
Loch Fyne supports many other Scottish oyster farms, from the Outer Hebrides to the Kyle of Tongue – just browse its list like you’re picking wine.
A good base is the historic George Hotel in Inveraray, a friendly town of yarn shops, adventure gear outfitters, and a historic prison.
Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk
The Saxon coast of Essex and East Anglia offers an accessible getaway to lose yourself among high skies, lowland marshes and rivers. Along the north shore of the Blackwater River you will find maritime weather onboard Mersea Island.
Home to both Colchester oysters and West Mersea oysters, you can eat wild oysters just like the Romans did 2,000 years ago on this same island.
Grab a table at The Company Shed where the oysters are purified in the restaurant area, or take out and book a boat trip on the Lady Grace.
Further up the coast, across Constable Country, on the Essex-Suffolk border, head to Orford, where the critically acclaimed Butley Creek Oysterage will provide one of the best seafood breakfasts in the side. His smokehouse is the best on the east coast.
Following the north coast to Norfolk, head to Cromer for crabs, Holkham Estate for beaches, and finish at the White Horse guesthouse in Brancaster for sunsets over the salt marshes.
Tynemouth and Newcastle
In my opinion the North East scene and food is one of the richest in the UK. In a weekend you can sip Lindisfarne mead where the Vikings first landed, taste Craster smoked herring, explore the coastal delights of Bamburgh Dunes while hunting the castle along the expansive beaches to in Cullercoats and end the days with a night on the tiles in the toon.
Legendary chef Terry Laybourne brought the region its first Michelin star and continues to cook in his heartwarming gastropub The Broadchare while overseeing Saltwater Fish (Fenwick) and Café 21 restaurant.
The Cook House in Ousburn by Anna Hedworth offers casual dining using world-class produce from Northumberland and the surrounding area.
Finally, following the Tyne to the sea, you arrive in trendy Tynemouth where you will find Riley’s Fish Shack at the foot of a steep cliff on a beach called King Edwards’ Bay. Adam Riley and his crew get you ready for North Sea Fish Day which you gaze at while reclining on your lounge chair.
Whitstable has always thrived thanks to its location at the mouth of the Thames, with access to mainland Europe and London. Just 100 kilometers east of the capital, you can be transported to a cobbled, seafood-crazed coastal town in touch with its rich maritime history.
Take a walking food tour from Wheeler’s on Main Street, skipping between seafood shacks, beer in hand to West Whelks and the Lobster Shack at East Quay.
Stop at the pebbly beach and watch the tide ride the Whitstable Oyster Farm before ending with a romantic meal in the Royal Native Oyster Stores.
The outskirts of town include historic Canterbury, the Strange Marshes of Dickens’ Great expectations, Herne Bay and the Michelin-starred Sportsman restaurant.
Portland is known for the limestone that built St. Paul’s Cathedral, but the island, its harbor, and Weymouth are a haven for seashells, coastal walks, water sports, and wildlife.
The Portland Harbor Crab House Café uses local sea herbs and seafood to create wonderful dishes while you dine on Chesil Beach, named “Dead Man’s Bay” by Thomas Hardy for the shipwrecks he has. seen. He also has his own oyster farm and the Billy Winters Seafood Shack.
At Portland Point, near its 1906 lighthouse, you’ll find the Lobster Pot, known for its crab sandwiches, perfect food for any coastal adventure including reef and wreck diving, sailing, kayaking. and fishing.
Bobby Groves is an oyster farmer at Chiltern Firehouse, London, and author of “Oyster Isles: a Journey Through Britain and Ireland’s Oysters” (police £ 9.99)