Fish and Chips. As British as a theatrical Dalek serving milky tea in a greasy caff on a rainy day, the meal is a national institution and has become synonymous with seaside snacks, pay-day treats and post-pub feeds.

But, like a Morecambe and Wise sketch, an England goal or Beatles song, the quest for the best chippy is one which will inevitably always spark serious debate – especially amongst cod connoisseurs.

Here, we trek the UK – coast to coast, and salt and vinegar at the ready – asking Britain’s biggest media influencers for their tips, as we go in search of the ultimate catch…

“If the quality of the ingredients is good (and there aren’t that many to get right: fish, potatoes, batter, oil), there’s very little difference in flavour, I reckon. So I go on sustainability of fish and location. My favourite fish and chipper is French’s in Wells-next-the-Sea, North Norfolk, where fish is fried to order and dished up in cardboard boxes rather than polystyrene trays and you can sit on the harbour wall to eat it. Also, the fish and chip shop in Aldeburgh is also very good, but everyone knows about that one.”

Clare Gogerty, Former Editor of Coast Magazine
@Clare Gogerty

“It’s got to be The Cottage restaurant in Blackpool. The amazing dining experience is augmented by the pics of showbiz legends who have scoffed there over the years. Last time I was in, I sat under a signed photo of the Blow Monkeys as I devoured fish, chips & mushy peas.”

Andy Dawson, Writer at The Daily Mirror

“As a Southern girl I’d have to go for The Fish Plaice in Swanage, dodgy punny name and all. The mushy pea fritters sound so wrong but taste so right, and the chips are fluffy and buttery as an artery hardening cloud. There’s nothing like stuffing your face with salty, greasy goodness while you’re dangling your legs over the edge of a cliff face and getting doused by good old Dorset sea spray.”

Daisy Buchanan, Writer at The Guardian and The Daily Mirror

“Chesney’s, on Albert Ave, Hull. 92 year old fryer. Pre-war recipe batter. Gingham curtains. Only sold fish, chips, patties, scraps and Rizla.”

Russ Litten, Author of ‘Scream If You Want To Go Faster’ and ‘Swear Down’

“Bardsley’s, on Baker Street, Brighton, has been “frying tonight” since 1926 – and remains one of the plum reasons for visiting Brighton. Their fish, chips and mushy peas are imperious but they also serve up crayfish tails and other seasonal delights. Reg Varney used to be a regular.

Jon Wilde, Writer at the Mail on Sunday and The Guardian

“My favourite is Poppies on Hanbury Street in Spitalfields, London. It’s a cut above your average fish and chip shop. Decked out like a kitsch 50s diner complete with waitresses in retro headscarves, it’s frequented by locals and Hoxton hipsters alike. The staff are incredibly friendly and the fish, sourced straight from Billingsgate market is lip-smackingly gorgeous. As well as the usual standards you can try mackerel, East End staple jellied eels or, my personal favourite, their delicious lemon sole.”

Tim Arthur, Global CEO at Time Out

“Growing up in the Peak District, I spent many a hazy summer’s eve strolling around the Victorian spa town of Matlock Bath, where, flanked by the imposing, sheer cliffs of the Heights of Abraham, we would visit Tuckers Fish and Chip shop, and then sit by the river eating until we were way too full to move.”

Jonno Turner, Football and CultureWriter/Editor

“Mine is in Northern Ireland – the Fish and Chicken Inn, on Broughshane Street, Ballymena. A rare treat when my mother didn’t want to cook for us all. In my memory, the best volume of salt and vinegar on a fish supper I’ve ever had – I’ve been searching for that perfect mix ever since.”

Paul McNamee, Editor at The Big Issue

 “Well, I have three. George’s on Golborne Road used to be my favourite for the food, but also the mental atmosphere after dark. Since I moved to Barnes though, I’m a regular at Tanya’s because it’s next to the pub – and the Greeks who run it have a dark mystery about them. Then there’s one in Aldeburgh in Suffolk called The Golden Hind, but that always wins awards so everybody will tell you about that one. I think I should plump for Tanya’s in Barnes.”

Sam Delaney, Presenter at TalkSport, Editor-in-Chief at Comedy Central

“NORTH OF COURSE. Hull’s fish and chips are the best. Also, The Crail Fish Bar in Fife does the best fish and chips in Scotland.”

Lucy Sweet, Writer at The Big Issue and The Daily Mirror

“People always associate fish and chips in Leeds with Harry Ramsden’s, but it’s not really even in Leeds – and beyond the size of the name I never thought much of it. In far Headingley, there is, famously, Bryan’s (now The Fisherman’s Wife) which is a top notch operation, but just down the road, less than five minutes from the cricket ground is Brett’s which is a great secret as it’s hidden away up a drive next to a garden. Brett’s and Bryan’s …are there better chip shops so close that aren’t at the seaside?”

James Brown, Editor at Sabotage Times

“My favourite fish and chip shop is the Ocean Fish Bar in Cleethorpes, which is on the main street just opposite Boots. The batter there is heavenly and the mushy peas glow like a green lighthouse. You wait in a queue and a lady beckons you to your seat with an elaborate tic-tac motion.”

Ian McMillan, Radio Presenter, Poet and Writer

“Few things in life worth dragging myself south of the river for, but Olley’s Fish Experience in Herne Hill is one of those things. If there’s a better cod, chips and mushy peas in London, I’m yet to find it. There’s a reason they have the audacity to call themselves a fish experience.”

Terri White, Editor-In-Chief at Time Out New York

Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop is a true gem of the picturesque East Coast. Serving up deliciously fresh fish since 1967, no visit to the hometown of Benjamin Britten would be complete without a visit. Not only is it my favourite, but also that of TV antique dealer Lovejoy, which all but seals the deal.”

Tom Armstrong, Music and Culture Writer/Editor

“There are a few things people from Yorkshire miss when they’re away from home: the quality of water, the decency of people, and the taste of proper fish and chips. Despite our beautiful county boasting fantastic family-run chippies on every other street, for me, Harry Ramsden’s takes the plaudits in Leeds. Get it to takeaway, drive a short distance to one of many quite side roads, and watch the planes fly out of the nearby airport. Oh yeah – I’ll have curry sauce and mushy peas.”

Raj Bains, Music and Sports Journalist