Marsden Grotto Review & Menu

In 1782, 'Jack the Blaster' and his wife Jackie used dynamite to blast into the side of the cliff at Marsden Bay and created themselves a rent free home right on the beach. Can you imagine someone just randomly doing that now? 

After a while, Jack became involved in smuggling and smugglers used the cave to hide their contraband cargo from abroad. 

After changing hands several times,  the Grotto is a now a popular seafood restaurant and beach bar with rooms. We visited as a group of 8 for my mam's birthday in August 2022. 

We booked a table in advance and I'm pleased we did as shortly after we arrived at 7pm, the restaurant soon filled up with families enjoying a meal together. It's best to call to book a table as they have limited / zero internet service in the cave. I didn't receive a response when I emailed.  Their number is 0191 455 6060. 

Dogs and children are very welcome and they have highchairs available. 

There is paid for parking at the top of the grotto (it's not managed by the grotto). Make sure you're not caught out as I've heard that wardens do patrol this area. 

I belive there are steps down to the restaurant if you prefer, but we used the restaurant lift which although slow, was the most convenient route down to the beach for us. As you travel down you can read more about the Grotto's history inside the lift. 

Wow as soon as we stepped into the cave restaurant we just couldn't believe it. Soooo pretty! We'd never dined anywhere like this before and it felt really magical / special. The ceiling is decorated with twinkling lights and it was just one of the most beautiful places to spend an evening. 

inside marsden grotto cave

The service we received throughout the evening was great. The staff were clearly experienced and it felt like we were in good hands. Considering we were a fairly large table and our dishes were freshly prepared, service was nice and prompt too. We were checked back on several times. 

Our favourite dishes of the evening were the Calamari which was lightly spiced and lovely and tender - none of that horrible chewiness you sometimes get when it's overcooked. 

marsden grotto menu

The regular cod and chips was excellent and a huge portion served with homemade chips. Homemade chips are always a reason I will go back somewhere. 

Steve also really enjoyed his seafood linguine which was a good portion and included plenty of delicious prawns. 

I ordered the crab aranicini which was so nice - a gorgeous texture and full of flavour without it being overpowering. I'd definitely order again. 

The kids portions were good, below is Dee's kids pizza and chips. 

My mam was disappointed that her scampi was served with frozen fries like the kids meals rather than the homemade chips the other adult meals were serverd with and my brother wasn't overly enamoured with the seafood chowder. Although these dishes were perfectly fine, they didn't wow us and we wouldn't order them again - there were nicer dishes on the menu - see our recommendations above. 

As well as dining in the grotto, there is a more informal bar and terrace right on the beach. It's such a lovely spot with beautiful views. It's ideal for enjoying an after dinner coffee or finishing a bottle of wine on a summer night as the kids play on the beach. 

If you're visiting for a special occasion, it's also an ideal backdrop for family photos. 

marsden grotto beach

Our final bill for 6 adults and 2 kids was £180 for 2 courses plus drinks (including some alcohol). As this included lots of seafood dishes, I thought this was really good and I was expecting the bill to be more than this. We left feeling as if we'd received good value. 

If you'd like to make a night of it, you can stay over at the Grotto and some of the rooms are built into the cave walls too. With beautiful sea views, the Grotto sounds like a special place to spend the night. 

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