The coastal waters of the United Kingdom offer a bountiful and diverse array of seafood. For centuries, these fresh catches have been an integral part of British cuisine, enriching dishes with their unique flavours and textures. The coastal regions boast a rich variety of seafood, each contributing to a diverse and vibrant culinary heritage. Let us discover the most famous types of seafood found in the UK's coastal waters and explore the famous dishes made from them.

Some Fishing Sites for Fresh Catches

Fishing sites

  • Grimsby - Renowned for its centuries-old fishing heritage and fish markets
  • Brixham - Famous for its bustling fishing harbour and fresh catches of fish and shellfish
  • Whitby - Historic fishing port known for its association with Captain Cook and delicious seafood offerings.
  • Newlyn - Cornwall's largest fishing port and celebrated for its diverse seafood catches
  • Aberdeen - A key Scottish fishing hub that offers wide variety of fresh fish and shellfish
  • Hastings - Charming seaside town with a thriving fishing community and delectable seafood options
  • Oban – A coastal gem in Scotland known for its fresh seafood and vibrant fishing scene
  • Padstow - A picturesque Cornish town offering a delectable range of locally caught seafood
  • Grimsby Fish Market - One of the largest and busiest fish markets in the UK, a must-visit for seafood enthusiasts
  • Billingsgate Fish Market - London's historic fish market, a bustling hub for seafood trade and retail




Cod is undoubtedly one of the most loved fish in British cuisine. It is known for its mild and flaky white flesh and has been a staple in British kitchens for generations. Traditionally, Cod is used for making Fish and Chips, but there are many more interesting recipes that are made using this fish. Cod has earned a special place in the hearts of seafood enthusiasts across the UK.

Fried cod is not the only way to enjoy this versatile fish. It is also baked or poached for its delicate flavour to shine through. This is why it is also a popular choice for healthier yet delicious preparations.

*On February 11, 2013, a British angler named Sean Conlon set the world record for catching the heaviest cod fish. He caught the gigantic cod weighing a whopping 103 pounds (46.72 kilograms) off the coast of Norway.


Similar to cod, haddock is also popularly used in British cuisine. It features a delicate texture and a slightly sweeter flavour than cod. Besides being used for Fish and Chips, it is used to make Smoked haddock, which is a popular ingredient in traditional dishes like Cullen Skink.

Cullen Skink is a hearty Scottish soup that embodies the essence of coastal living. It is served with smoked haddock, potatoes, onions, and cream. This comforting soup offers a delightful combination of smoky and creamy flavours, perfect for chilly days by the sea.



Salmon is a prized fish known for its rich, oily flesh and distinctive pink hue. Salmon runs in the UK's rivers are famous, and both anglers and admirers are drawn to it. Whether caught from the rivers or sourced from fish farms, salmon is a favourite among seafood enthusiasts.

Grilled or roasted, salmon pairs wonderfully with a variety of flavours. It can be seasoned with a simple blend of herbs and spices or marinated in more elaborate sauces to tantalize the taste buds.

Scotch Smoked Salmon is a celebrated British speciality. Cold-smoking preserves the salmon's natural flavour while infusing it with a delightful smokiness. This elegant dish is enjoyed as a starter or served on a bagel with cream cheese for a luxurious breakfast.


Mussels thrive in the cool, nutrient-rich waters of the UK's coastal regions. Steamed mussels served with white wine, garlic, and herbs are mouthwatering starter that celebrates the simplicity of fresh seafood. The British wholeheartedly partake in the annual tradition of mussel hunting or mussel picking when the tides are low, to gather fresh mussels from the rocks.

Moules Marinières is a classic French preparation that features mussels cooked in a flavourful broth of white wine, shallots, and herbs. The dish is quite popular among the British. Another classic dish is the -Mussels in Cider - mussels are cooked in cider, cream, and vegetables, giving them a unique and delicious flavour.



British oysters are celebrated for their briny, sweet flavour and are often enjoyed fresh and raw. Seafood and Oyster bars restaurants along the coast offer these scrumptious molluscs served with a dash of lemon juice or a mignonette sauce.

In addition to raw consumption, oysters are also used in various cooked dishes. Oysters Rockefeller, for instance, is a famous American dish that has found its way to British tables. Fresh oysters combined with a rich and creamy sauce are wrapped in a flaky pie crust to make Oyster Pie.

Mersea Island in Essex is famous for its oyster industry and hosts an annual oyster festival. The island has a long history of oyster cultivation, and visitors can enjoy oyster tasting, live music, and other festivities during the event.


Lobster is a luxurious delicacy often reserved for special occasions and celebratory meals. The UK's coastal waters provide an abundant supply of these prized crustaceans.

Grilled or boiled, lobster is a treat for the senses. Its tender, succulent meat pairs well with melted butter or a zesty citrus dressing.

Lobster Thermidor, a French creation that has made its way to British plates. It is a delicious dish featuring lobster meat cooked in a creamy, wine-infused sauce, topped with a golden breadcrumb crust.



The UK's coastal regions boast an abundance of crab, and it is used in a variety of dishes. Crab cakes are made with sweet crab meat and a medley of herbs. They are a delightful appetizer that captures the essence of coastal living.

The classic Crab Sandwich is a simple but delightful combination of fresh crab meat and buttered bread. It is served with a squeeze of lemon and is a refreshing treat for seafood lovers.

The UK's coastal regions are famous for their traditional fishing villages, where generations of skilled fishermen have honed their craft and sustainably harvested seafood for centuries. This commitment to sustainable fishing practices ensures the availability of fresh and delicious seafood for generations to come.

British Seafood Delights

British seafood is a treasure trove of flavours and culinary experiences that reflect the rich maritime heritage of the United Kingdom. Every dish celebrates the bounty of the coastal waters and the artistry of British culinary traditions. Whether you are savouring the timeless classics or exploring contemporary seafood creations, British seafood is a delightful journey into the heart of coastal living.