Sampling England’s national dish in historic Whitby

Whitby, North Yorkshire

The traditional taste of fish and chips still comes out on top in the picturesque seaside town of Whitby.

New bistros and bars, and plenty of boutique accommodation, are changing the face of the old fishing port of Whitby – long known for its dramatic abbey ruins, golden sandy beach, and Captain Cook and Dracula connections.

But if there’s one other constant in this historic harbour town it’s the length of the daily queue outside The Magpie Café, probably North Yorkshire's most famous fish-and-chip restaurant. In business since 1939, it’s where cooking the daily catch is raised to an art form – with much of the fish taken straight from the boats at the harbourside fish market opposite the restaurant.

Other places in town have taken up the challenge – the Quayside is a past winner of the National Fish and Chip Awards – but for a traditional taste of England at its best, take part in that other very traditional English pastime – queueing –  at The Magpie.

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Fresh lobsters for sale from The Magpie's Whitby CatchEnjoying fish and chips on the 199 steps overlooking Whitby Harbour © Rich J Jones/VisitEngland
Coble boat in the traditional fishing village of StaithesThe Magpie Café © Tony Bartholomew/NYMNP
Fish and chips at the famous Magpie CaféFish and chips at the famous Magpie Café © VisitEngland/Andrew Marshall
Seek out Fortune's Smokehouse for the best traditional smoked kippersWhitby Abbey © English Heritage
Enjoying a Yorkshire beer in a Whitby pub Enjoying a Yorkshire beer in a Whitby pub © Rich J Jones/VisitEngland

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