A visit to Swanage isn’t complete without the time-honoured English tradition of beach-side fish & chips.
Top off your day at the seaside with one of these popular fish & chip shops and restaurants in town or, if you’re a resident here, find your new favourite Friday night takeaway.
There are some great spots for an al-fresco fish & chips picnic in Swanage – the beach is the obvious choice, but lots of people also opt for the stone quay near Swanage Pier, or up on the grassy banks above the amphitheatre in Prince Albert Gardens or the rolling Downs, where you can enjoy the evening sun whilst overlooking the bay.
As well as all the usuals like cod, haddock, battered sausage and fish cakes, look out for the local catch of the day; old school favourites like pineapple fritters and mushy peas; and various ‘posh’ options such as mussels, tuna steak and dressed crab.
Britain’s favourite seaside takeaway meal is extremely popular in Swanage, so be prepared for slight queues outside the most popular establishments at peak times.
The Fish Plaice
This extremely popular and highly-rated chippie is right in the heart of town and has been going strong for over 20 years.
The Fish Plaice has all the usual favourites as well as regular specials such as rock, hake and plaice.
The team prepares its own fishcakes on-site and uses only British potatoes for their chips (when seasonally possible), and their cod and haddock are sourced from sustainably-managed Norwegian and Barents seas.
Check out their ‘Different Fish Thursday’ for something new, and ask about special gluten-free frying days.
The Fish Plaice is mainly a takeaway restaurant, but there are a couple of small tables inside and some outdoor bench-style seating, where you can enjoy being in the midst of the hubbub of the busy square, close to the bay.
Pop across to The White Swan or The Ship Inn for an after-dinner drink, or try nearby Waffle, Shake & Roll or Baboo Gelato for dessert.
The Fish Plaice is open seven days a week from March to May:
- Monday – Thursday – 11.30am – 8.15 pm
- Friday & Saturday – 11.30am – 8.30pm
- Sunday – 11.30am – 8pm
Note that timings may vary and you might find this bustling takeaway open till later on some evenings.
- 📍 14 The Square, Swanage BH19 2LJ
- 📞 01929 423668
- ℹ️ www.fishplaice.co.uk
Commanding a central location in town right opposite the beach and close to all of the town’s main shops and amenities, award-winning Harlees is a local, family-run business with a new premises in the heart of town – and as you’re just a stone’s throw from The Mowlem cinema & theatre you can easily combine a quick bite to eat before a show.
Open every day from midday till 7.30pm, Harlees Swanage offers casual dining with a relaxed ambiance, as well as a full takeaway menu.
You’ll find the usual chip shop favourites such as scampi & chips, battered sausage and chicken pieces, as well as on-site prepared fishcakes and sustainably-sourced cod & haddock.
If you’re dining in, check out the Harlees’ Burger Club, kids’ meals and dessert menu. There are also vegetarian options, a special, smaller senior menu, and a range of alcoholic and soft beverages.
Part of the Harlees family is the smaller takeaway-only Herston Fishbar. You’ll find this busy little chip shop on the way into Swanage, close by to Indian restaurant The Golden Bengal, both located on High Street. A further member of the Harlees group is located across the bay on Poole Quay,
🐾 Harlees is dog-friendly
Private group catering
For large parties requiring off-site catering, Harlees can cater for your group (delivery is for a minimum of 40+ people) – perfect for a private function or charity event, or even an informal wedding.
Simply discuss your requirements, including any allergies, with the team and they’ll not only provide top notch food, but all the accoutrements, including cutlery, napkins and condiments. They’ll even arrange for all boxes and packaging to be responsibly recycled and disposed of for you.
For a small extra cost, catering boxes can be personalised.
The team usually just needs 48 hours’ notice to get your order prepped and ready for collection or delivery.
Fill out their online enquiry form to request private fish & chip catering or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact details & location
Book a table or order your takeaway in advance by calling or emailing the team:
- 📥 Email for Harlees on Station Road: email@example.com
- ℹ️ For further information and menus visit their website: www.harlees.co.uk
- 📍 2-6 Station Road, BH19 1AE – you can’t miss Harlees. It’s right in the hub of town opposite Boots and The Mowlem, where Station Road meets Institute Road and Shore Road
Situated slightly out of the main part of town, this branch of the popular Harlees chain is based in the Herston area of Swanage.
Combine your takeaway dinner with a game of darts or pool at The Globe, which is just around the corner, or order ahead from the comfort of your living room or holiday let for the best collection time for you via the Just Eat app.
- Monday – Wednesday – 4.30pm – 8.30pm
- Thursday – 12pm – 2pm & 4.30 – 8pm
- Friday – Saturday – 12pm – 2pm & 4.30 – 9pm
- Sunday – closed
Contact details & ordering
Get your favourite takeaway at the click of a button by using Herston Fishbar’s click & collect system via its website or by downloading the app (card payments only).
Alternatively, you can pop in or call.
- ℹ️ Place an order online: www.harlees.co.uk
- 📞 01929 423578
- 📍 355 High St, Swanage BH19 2NP
The Parade Fish & Chips
As well as your traditional takeaway, the Parade offers simple indoor dining (both upstairs and down) for those chillier days when you still fancy a hearty serving of fish and chips. Some tables have a sea view, so you can still dine whilst looking out across the water.
Alternatively there’s a small amount of bench seating in the small town square outside, which is also home to Swanage Museum and Dino’s Takeaway – why not grab a portion of churros if you have room after your fish & chips.
Pop to The Ship Inn right opposite for a drink after your meal, or just around the corner along the beachfront is The Cellar Bar.
The Parade Fish & Chips is open daily from 11am – 9pm
Contact details & location
You might find free, on-street parking on lower High Street to stop and pick up your takeaway from The Parade, but there are various car parks nearby if not, the closest being Broad Road long stay car park (postcode: BH19 2AP).
- 📍 1 The Parade, BH19 1DA
- 📞 01929 422362
Wright on the Beach & Sea Breeze
Grab a beachfront lunch on the prom at Wright on the Beach – choose a picnic table spot outside or take your food onto the strand to enjoy the sound of the sea while you dine.
Alternatively you can have a sit-down dinner inside at the adjacent Sea Breeze restaurant.
Serving all the usuals with generous portions, the team here are friendly and welcoming, and with a beach shop in between the restaurant and takeaway it’ll give you those holiday feels, even if you live here.
Contact details for both Sea Breeze & Wright on the Beach
- 📍 Shore Road, BH19 1LA (the promenade -note that this section of Shore Road is pedestrianised in the summer)
- 📞 01929 426222
- ℹ️ Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Sea-Breeze-restaurant
The Hungry Shark
If you’re spending the afternoon with the family at Santa Fe Fun Park, you won’t have to go far to fill up on a hearty fish & chip meal or burger as The Hungry Shark is the Park’s on-site restaurant.
There’s plenty of outdoor seating hidden amongst the pirate and dinosaur-themed crazy golf, with some great sea views if you head up to the balcony area.
This quirky spot for a quick meal has both sea views and entertainment on tap, with various outdoor amusements – as well as crazy golf, there’s an inflatable Toy Story-themed soft play, small children’s rides and arcade games. For rainy days, K’s Funworld indoor arcade is a short stroll down to the beach front.
Santa Fe and The Hungry Shark are generally open from Easter through to the end of the October half term holiday.
If you’re driving to the Santa Fe Fun Park, it’s easiest to park at Recreation Ground (Mermond Place) car park, which is right next door.
- 📍 9 Shore Road, BH19 1LA
- 📞 07976 891054
Further afield – fish & chip shops in Wareham
- Chipperies – Find this popular little place on South Street. Park opposite if there’s a space, or behind in Sainsbury’s Rempstone car park ℹ️ www.facebook.com/chipperies/ 📞 01929 552947
- Long John’s – Right opposite 1920 cinema The Rex on West Street, Long John’s is handy for a quick bite before a movie. ℹ️ longjohnsfishandchips.co.uk/wareham/ 📞 01929 554046
More great places for a fish & chip dinner or seafood supper
There are plenty more local dining options that may include a hearty fish & chip supper alongside a more extensive menu – check out the range of pubs, hotels, restaurants and cafés in and around Swanage and Purbeck to find just what you’re looking for.
Here’s a round-up of some of the best places to go for a meal if you fancy fish & chips with a twist or want to sample some seafood:
In Swanage itself
If you’re looking for some excellent seafood try Swanage’s Pier Head close to the Victorian pier and highly-rated hidden gem Chilled Red.
For al fresco dining to suit the whole family, head to Gee Whites – it’s right on the bay and has a wide range of menu choices from staples such as fish finger sandwiches and chips to freshly-baked pizzas and a good selection of seafood.
Combine your visit to Swanage Pier by stopping at its on-site 1859 Bistro and sample their ‘Beneath the Waves’ section of the menu, with options such as a seafood basket and local Dorset crab.
Swanage’s Salt Pig Too serves plates such as local river trout, potted crab and seafood linguine in its restaurant alongside its butchery and farm produce counters.
If you’re heading up to Durlston Country Park for the day, you should find fish and chips on the menu at its SeventhWave Restaurant. Sit outside for great views across the water toward Swanage’s Peveril Point.
Enjoy a beach walk before or after your meal at clifftop The Grand Hotel– you don’t need to be staying there to enjoy its varied menu. You can also check out the dining options at nearby The Pines and Purbeck House Hotel.
No visit to Swanage is complete without a trip to The Cabin – posh fish finger sandwiches, seafood baskets and crab sandwiches are just some of the items on the menu at this charming café which is about as close to the beach as you can get.
And if retro charm is your thing and you’re looking for a quick, budget bite, Wimpy is still going strong in Swanage – this fast food chain began life in London in the 1950s and our Swanage outlet is the last remaining Wimpy in the county.
Further afield – in Purbeck
The Old Granary in Wareham is a riverside Hall & Woodhouse pub, serving its signature lager-battered fish & chips. Wareham has plenty of further food options to explore, too.
Across the water at Poole Quay there are various further fish & seafood options including Rockfish, the Guildhall Tavern, Harlees and Storm Fish. You can even take a ferry from Swanage Pier on its fish & chip cruise for a fun evening out.
Make your own
If being by the sea has inspired you to try your hand at creating your own seafood dishes, there are a few places to buy the freshest, local fish and shellfish for the job:
- Swanage Bay Fish – Swanage’s traditional fishmongers offers fresh, sustainably-managed, seasonal fish using their own and local fishermen. Located just off Commercial Road (footpath past Swanage Library and JJ Moore butchers), Swanage Bay Fish also provides home delivery throughout Swanage. Find out more on their website, swanagebayfish.com, or email to place a home delivery order: firstname.lastname@example.org (before 3pm on a Tuesday)
- Swanage Market – Find fresh, local produce at the weekly Swanage Market – every Friday between 8am – 1pm at Main Beach car park
- Wareham Market – Wareham Quay also has a market every Saturday from 8am