Riley's Fish Shack, Tynemouth - Now With Reservations

We have visited Riley's Fish Shack on a few occasions now. We love the vibe, the delicious, fresh seafood and those views of King Edward's Bay. In the past, you could not make a reservation and just had to join the queue up the bank. 

Riley's Fish Shack, Tynemouth - Now With Reservations

The queues were notorious and we have always spent 1 hour+ queuing and waiting for food.  It all did kind of add to the anticipation of it all though and it was worth it for us on a little lunch date but not brilliant with kids in tow or if we wanted to catch up with friends. Who wants to spend most of the night queuing? 

Anyway, due to Coronavirus, Riley's has now switched to a reservation system and it is absolutely spot on. We booked for Steve's birthday on a Sunday night in July. Read on to see how we got on. 

First of all, if you are driving along the coast to Tynemouth from Blyth, the new one way system is an absolute joke. You cannot drive along the seafront in that direction now. You are much better off going along the Coast Road and driving into Tynemouth Village. Even if you head towards the seafront from Morrisons up by the Aquarium, there is no longer a right turn to Tynemouth and it is left only. So annoying! 

Anyway, we eventually navigated our way to Tynnemough Village and parked in the centre.  Parking is free here after 6pm. It is pretty difficult to social distance at this time of night if it is sunny. There were a few queues for the pubs and then a huge queue for longsands fish and chips which took up all of the path and the onnly other place to walk is a busy road. Not the easiest thing to do with kids. If I was to visit again I would probably park outside of the aquarium and walk along or in the long stay car park down the bank past Tynemouth Priory. 

Riley's take pre-bookings only. You book online and pay £25 per deckchair when you book. The total amount you have paid comes off your final bill on the evening. So we paid £50 upfront for 2 deckchairs and had £50 deducted from our bill on the evening. 

Just make yourself known when you arrive and staff will take you to your own area. You have your own zone with a little table, deckchairs, fire pit in the evening on request and windbreaks. Music is playing from the shack and the vibe is nice and chilled. I wouldn't say it was romantic but it is perfect fr a catch up with friends. 

They are super chilled about kids and very welcoming - just leave a note in the box if you are bringing kids too and they will save you a larger spot for you to put your own blanket down for them. I am not in the business of splashing £25+ per head on seafood for the kids just yet (there is no way they would appreciate it) so we just let them play in the sea / sit on the blanket in our little area. We brought a few snacks for them from home and it worked out well. 

On the day, there were some spare deckchairs available and the staff said if the kids wanted a seat, just to let them know and they would bring some extra chairs over. Lovely service and like I say, very welcoming. 

Steve ordered a pint (San Pellagrino for me) and it was with us in a matter of minutes. The drinks service was super prompt. 

The menu can change daily as it depends on what has been caught that day. Above is an example. Menus are single use paper, all cutlery/packaging is eco-friendly biodegradable, each zone is sanitised between customers and all staff wear masks. Plus it is obviously all outside and they have your details if needed for track and trace - I was really happy with their COVID measurements. 

The kids had a ball playing in the sea. This beach is the perfect place to people watch and just sit by and take life in. We spotted a couple having an engagement photo shoot, watched some lads playing frisbee and the cutest toddler building sandcastles. The couple next to us were celebrating their parent's anniversary and a group of girls were having a good old catch up. I loved taking all the beach vibes in. 

We ordered oysters from the cold bar to start. OMG so good! I reckon the best oysters I have ever had. So fresh and just perfect with a wedge of lemon. 

After our oysters we were just relaxing in the sun with our drinks when I spotted the kids fighting in the sea. Ah why are they so annoying at times! The boys were trying to push each other in and it was getting out of hand. Having to march halfway across the beach in front of everyone to separate them was not the idyllic date night with kids I had in mind but we can't have everything. Heidi's face says it all. 

I split the boys up and sent them onto different parts of the beach. Back to my deckchair and to try and relax....

Our mains were soon with us. I had spotted the steak on  Instagram and knew I had to try it. Maybe a weird choice at a seafood restaurant but wow it was delicious. Served with garlic potatoes, salad, sauces and a flatbread, it was really good value. Jack nicked a bit too and declared it his third favourite steak ever (goodness knows what were #1 and #2). If you love steak, this dish is for you. 

Steve ordered the monkfish wrap (again with garlic potatoes, salad and a flatbread) and also loved his choice. The portions were excellent and everything was perfectly cooked, super fresh and just packed with flavour. Riley's is more expensive than a regular chippy but the level of food and quality is reflected in this. So worth the extra money for a treat. 

Fire pits were available on a first-come, first-served basis (just ask staff for one). Personally in the summer, I do not think they are necessary - just brink a hoodie / blanket from home. Some of the smoke was getting in the eyes of those who had one which would do my head in. 

Our server was super attentive and the drinks kept flowing. Once we were done, he told us that no one else had our table after us so we could just chill and stay as long as we wanted to which was nice. It also meant Steve ordered an extra one for the road. 

Payment is by contactless card from your deckchair - they will bring the card machine to you. An optional service charge is added to your bill. 100% worth it for us, our server never stopped and I don't envy their job running all over the beach all night. We were so well looked after and made to feel super welcome. 

We were there for 2 hours in total. The kids didn't want to leave and if I didn't have to drive home, we could have stayed there drinking beer until the sunset. It was such a lush evening. 

Just a quick note to say - there was a security guard working for the fish shack on the night of our visit - no one caused any trouble and other people had kids with them too. 

Beware of the climb back up from the beach though - it will really take it out of you. 

Find out more and book here: Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays and reservations are now being taken until mid September. 

Open 11:30am - 8:15pm with last orders at the bar called at 9:45pm. 

 Riley's Fish Shack, Tynemouth - FAQs 

Where is Riley's? 

Riley's Fish Shack is on King Edwards Bay beach in Tynemouth, just underneath the Gibraltar Rock & Tynemouth Priory. Access is via a fair few steps down to the beach. 

Where to park? 

Tynemouth Sea Front / Tynemouth Village / Priors Haven (NE30 4DG). All chargeable (free after 6pm). 

Is Riley's accessible by public transport? 

Yes - buses serve Tynemouth and Tynemouth Metro Station is a short walk from the beach. 

Can you change your booking? 

Yes - I love that Riley's email you 24 hours before your booking and you can change to another date free of charge once you have checked the weather. 

What if you don't spend £25 pp? 

£25pp is the minimum spend, if you spend less than this, you will not receive a refund. 

Do kids need to pay £25? Is there a kids menu? 

No - just put a little note on your booking and bring your own picnic blanket for kids. There is no children's menu but it is not frowned upon to bring a few snacks along for them. It is nice and chilled and very accommodating/flexible. The kids did share some of our food too. 

Are there toilets? 

Yes, in the main shack for customer use only. One person is allowed to queue on the decking at a time with everyone else waiting on the beach. 

Are dogs allowed? 

No dogs are allowed from 1 May - 30 September. 

Can I take a pushchair? 

It is possible but you will have to carry it down a fair few stairs. Or there is ramp access to the beach further along near the Grand Hotel.

Are Veggie options available? 

Yes - there is a space to add dietary requirements on your reservation too. Get in touch with Rileys if you have any specific questions and I am sure they will be happy to help.  

We had the best time at Riley's - we loved it before but this new system has really improved the customer experience. We are already planning a return trip in Autumn. How lush will it be all snuggled up here under the stars. Counting the days! 

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Thank you for your support as always. 

Please follow social distancing rules & Government guidelines , respect the local area, leave no trace, take litter home, park responsibly and if somewhere is busy on arrival, please consider leaving and returning at a later date. 

Always check updated opening hours / protocols with venues direct before setting off as things may have changed after this post was published. 


  1. I'm not sure calling the provision of safe cycling space for local families "an absolute joke" is very fair! Appreciate the review but please think again about your attitude to active travel

  2. The diversion signs didn't work (they just end all of a sudden) , there is no warning of a one way system in some sections which means you end up spending an extra 10 mins doubling back on yourself and it added 20 mins onto our journey. It needs to be much better executed than this if it is going to work.

    1. They are looking at improving what's clearly a hastily implemented scheme but I'm just pleased were actually doing something about the dominance of cars and enabling families to enjoy our coastline

  3. What a great thorough review. It makes me want to pack up the car and visit straightaway. Also appreciate the notes regarding driving and parking -- and the comments about the reason for it. We would be coming by car so good to have advice about parking.


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