Freshly cooked to order with crispy batter, lashings of vinegar and a good sprinkling of salt, it’s no surprise that fish and chips are a beloved British staple. It’s said that the first fish and chip shop opened back in the 1860s in London, but there’s records of this delicious meal back in the 17th century and even Charles Dickens mentions it in Oliver Twist in 1839.
Today, no holiday in Cornwall is complete without at least one helping of fish and chips, best eaten outside overlooking the sea - whether that’s on the beach watching the sunset in summer, or wrapped up warm on a cliffside bench in winter. It’s a dish for every appetite, and the perfect recipe for creating seaside memories to take home with you.
But where to go? We’ve uncovered the best chippies in Cornwall that’ll fill hungry tums after a busy day exploring.
Mackerel Sky Seafood Bar, Newlyn
Best for: Tapas-style fish and chips and a great atmosphere
New Road, Newlyn TR18 5PZ
Newlyn is a flourishing foodie destination and this wonderful spot is at its heart. With both a restaurant and take away, the choice is yours – they don’t take bookings so it’s on a first come, first served basis. The food is fresh, delicious and eclectic, with tapas-style dishes in the restaurant and more unusual take away options, such as crispy sole katsu sandwich and panko monkfish burger alongside the more traditional haddock and chips. If you’ve opted for takeaway, head to the fisherman’s statue on the waterfront for a gorgeous view over the beach towards Penzance and St Michael’s Mount.
The Blue Lagoon, Sennen
Best for: A post walk feast and spectacular coastal views
Cove Hill, Sennen Cove TR19 7DF
This excellent chippy lies right on the harbourfront and is ready to treat your taste buds, whether you’ve been on the huge sandy beach all day, surfing or walking over the cliffs towards Land’s End. It’s the only fish and chips in Sennen, so it has busy times, but it’s well worth the wait – especially on sunny evenings, when you can take them onto the beach and watch the sunset over the water.
Lewis Fish & Chips, Newlyn
Best for: Super-fresh fish and amazing batter
Chywoone Hill, Newlyn TR18 5HJ
A Newlyn institution, Lewis’s has been going for many years and is popular with locals and visitors alike. With the fish straight from the harbour just yards away, it’s dunked in a batter celebrated for its golden crispness and served with a mountain of chips. As well as take away, there’s a café upstairs to eat in, and if you’re after something special, fresh crab and lobster is available if ordered at least 24 hours before visiting.
Best for: Traditional fare and a warm welcome
Western Promenade Road, Penzance TR18 4HH
Set on the vast promenade in Penzance, blink and you’ll almost miss this fantastic fish and chip shop. Serving since 2006, delicious hake, haddock and cod come in various sizes and there’s gluten free options too alongside generous helpings of chips and mushy peas. Handily, you can order in advance online, so if you’re on your way back from a day out you can nip in and quickly pick them up. A meander across the road will find you on the promenade where you can eat, people watch and gaze out to sea.
Sharky’s, St Ives
Best for: No queues and friendly staff
Unit 7a, Penbeagle Industrial Estate, St Ives TR26 2JH
This gem of a spot lies on the outskirts of St Ives and benefits from being away from the busier harbour. A firm favourite with locals, it’s easy to drive to and park up, and inside, you’ll be greeted by a friendly team serving generous portions for reasonable prices. Perfect to take back to your holiday cottage in St Ives, or drive towards Zennor and Cape Cornwall and find a spot with a view – you’ll be spoilt for choice!
Porthminster Beach Café, St Ives
Best for: Views over St Ives Bay and beach days
Porthminster Beach, St Ives TR26 2EB
Beautiful Porthminster Beach is well worth a visit, with its soft golden sands and turquoise waters. Its beach café is simply stunning, but did you know they have a takeaway service too? Tucked away under the café, you can order award-winning fish and chips and either munch them in their seating area or take them onto the beach. They also have an ice cream parlour, so you have pudding on hand too!
Becks, Carbis Bay
Best for: Variety of options and a traditional feel
Longstone Hill, Carbis Bay, St Ives TR26 2LJ
Deserving its loyal brigade of locals, this Carbis Bay legend offers traditional fish and chips done the old fashioned way, serving the usual staples alongside mushy peas, pickles and onion rings. There’s a great choice for non-fish eaters too, including pizza, plus gluten free versions of everything, and they have a restaurant too with a wider menu available alongside starters and desserts. Alternatively, take a trip down to Carbis Bay beach where you can tuck in with the sand between your toes.
Harbour Lights, Falmouth
Best for: Their specials menu and harbour views
Arwenack Street, Falmouth TR11 3LH
With fresh locally landed fish, and chips made from Cornish potatoes, this is a meal that’s at the heart of Falmouth - and that’s ranked in the top 10 Fish and Chips in the UK by Fryer Magazine! Whether you choose to eat in the fabulous dog-friendly restaurant with views over the bustling harbour, or get a takeaway to munch on nearby Custom House Quay, the fish will be crisp and golden and the chips cooked to perfection. As well as the usual suspects, they make their own fishcakes and have a superb vegan menu, which includes their famous vegan fish and chips (made from tofu and nori seaweed) and vegan fishcakes.
Sanders Fish & Chips, Hayle
Best for: Families and milkshakes
5 Chapel Terrace, Hayle TR27 4AB
Set near the viaduct in the heart of Hayle, Sanders is a great option if you want to sit in. With good-sized portions, crispy batter and chips and excellent sauces all at a reasonable price, this is a great choice for families; with their creamy milkshakes a particular highlight! If you don’t want to eat in (Sanders is our local so you can often smell fish and chips wafting through the office on Fridays), wrap up your parcels and head to either the RSPB Hayle Estuary and watch out for fabulous birdlife, or Gwithian for dreamy sunset watching and a walk afterwards.
Porthleven Fish & Chips, Porthleven
Best for: Munching on the harbour wall and people watching
Shute Lane, Porthleven TR13 9HY
This tucked-away favourite offers traditional seaside fare, alongside Porthleven’s wide variety of restaurants that line the harbour. Great for families for lunch and dinner, you can take your hot parcels down to the water and watch the boats bob about, while in winter the Christmas lights reflecting on the water offer a simply magical view.
The Fish House Fistral, Newquay
Best for: A celebration and epic sea views
Unit 5 International Surf Centre, Fistral Beach, Headland Road, Newquay TR7 1HY
This lovely Michelin-recommended restaurant overlooks iconic Fistral Beach, famed for its surfing. With fish caught straight from Newquay harbour, the sea is very much at the heart of this eatery, and it’s a beautiful spot for sunset gazing over dinner. With lots of fish and seafood dishes as well as fish and chips at lunchtime, there’s options for everyone, while the dinner menu offers cod in tempura with an Asian twist – delicious!
Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips, Padstow
Best for: Delectable fish and chips and tasty extras
South Quay, Padstow PL28 8BL
No visit to Padstow would be complete without a stop at one of Rick Stein’s restaurants, and his fish and chips are a good option if you want something a little more laid back. Available to eat in or take away, you can choose from grilled or battered fish including sea bass and lemon sole. There’s an interesting Indian take on their menu, while the homemade tartare sauce is delicious. Overlooking the Camel Estuary, opt for takeaway if the weather’s good and find a spot to gaze over the water – perfect!
Life’s a Beach, Bude
Best for: A post-surf feast and exceptional views
16 Summerleaze Crescent, Bude EX23 8HN
Just a stone’s throw from the seashore, this fantastic, laid-back spot in Bude is just perfect for a fishy feast. As well as tasty beer batter, the catch of the day can also be grilled or served whole with brown shrimp and caper butter. With a fantastic terrace overlooking Summerleaze beach, you can sit here or alternatively get your feast to take away and head down to the sand for a picnic.
The Fish Grill & More, Mevagissey
Best for: A friendly welcome and grilled fish
The Jetty, Mevagissey Harbour, Mevagissey PL26 6UH
This local’s favourite in Mevagissey operates out of a little kiosk down on the harbour. Queue here and you’ll see the boat the fish has come in on – it doesn’t get much fresher than that! The trio of grilled fish is a favourite (mackerel, haddock and scallops), and the chips are always served crispy. Collect your food and head for a bench overlooking the harbour to watch the boats bob about.
Best for: Families and river views
Town Quay, Fowey PL23 1AT
Overlooking the river and nestled in the heart of Fowey, this great St Austell Brewery pub offers lovely fresh seafood in a comfy setting. Serving great pub classics, their fish and chips are of particular note, with their signature beer and seaweed batter which is delicious. They have a tasty banana blossom ‘fish’ and chips option for vegans too, as well as a great children’s menu that offers crispy battered fish goujons for smaller appetites.
To make the most sustainable choice possible when selecting fish from the menu, take a look at MCS’s Good Fish Guide for more information.
Feeling hungry? Take a look at our holiday cottages in Cornwall and start planning your foodie getaway today.