'Tis the season for chunky knits, wellies and walks in the countryside and along the beaches of The Suffolk Coast - finished up with a steaming cup of delicious hot chocolate of course!
Whether yours is with cream, marshmallows and a flake, or you prefer a mug of classic cocoa, check out our pick of these hot chocolate serving establishments!
1. View Point Cafe, Felixstowe
For a truly nautical experience head to Felixstowe and take a refreshing stroll along the beach at the Landguard Peninsular, keeping your eyes peeled for starfish and maybe even a seal. Visit the Felixstowe Museum to uncover mammoth tusks, cannonballs and Victorian and Edwardian artefacts.
After all that exploring there is no better place for a snack and a sit down than the aptly named View Point Café; a truly unique place to take in the amazing views over the water while watching some of the world’s largest vessels making their way in and out of the port. The menu contains a range of very reasonably priced food and drink, from comforting ‘butties’ and big breakfasts to the lighter quiche of the day served with salad or chips and peas. There is also a lovely children’s menu and a range of cakes and pastries too. Don’t forget to pop next door to the visitor centre to identify the ships you have seen come and go that day.
2. RSPB Minsmere
For a café experience set amongst nature, visit RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve where you can wander in the wetlands and wood, venture onto the beach and possibly spot one the many rare birds such as Bitterns and Avocets.
The rustic café provides the perfect place to warm up with a hot chocolate and one of the many homemade cakes. Alternatively, you could opt for a bacon roll or sandwich, cheese or fruit scone, home-made bread pudding, soup or lasagne before heading back out into the wilderness for more exploring.
3. Cafe 1885 at Snape Maltings
At Snape Maltings you can choose from a range of inspiring walks amongst the marches and heath or through the reeds that line the river Alde Valley. Visitors can take their time pottering in a selection of little shops, many of which sell locally hand made items or can stroll through several galleries taking in the paintings, ceramics and sculptures in this cultured village.
Punctuate your visit with a stop at Café 1885, overlooking a beautiful house and gardens, where you can sample the carefully designed menu of tantalizing dishes such as fillet of plaice with crab and mussel mousse and salt beef hash with a duck’s egg and mustard sauce. If you have more of a sweet tooth the café offers a cake of the day and even a cheesecake of the day to go alongside your tea or coffee.
4. Southwold Pier
Further along the coast, visitors to Southwold will be utterly charmed by a nostalgic seaside experience. The beach hut-lined shore is perfect for a stroll along to the pier, lined with shops and quirky automaton amusements, plus The Clockhouse cafe serving delicious sandwiches, paninis, pizzas and hot drinks.
Open from 10am - 4pm every day, watch the waves crash and warm up with a steaming mug of hot chocolate!
5. The Tea Hut, Woodbridge
Nestled alongside the bank of the River Deben in Woodbridge you will find the The Tea Hut, an oasis of calm for families, friends and dog walkers alike, it is the perfect place to rest up and warm up with a hot chocolate after a walk along the river. They have a menu of comforting meals such as quiche, jacket potatoes and falafel burgers as well as an extensive kids menu. While away the hours on the outdoor decking, watch the boats go by.
6. Cookhouse Restaurant at Suffolk Food Hall
With panoramic views of the Orwell Bridge and Estuary, the Cookhouse Restaurant at Suffolk Food Hall not only boasts an incredible view, but also a mouth-watering menu made from local produce. Start your day with a breakfast, stop by for lunch whilst shopping, or simply warm up with a delicious hot chocolate with cream, marshmallows and a flake alongside a slice of homemade cake.
Whilst there, be sure to visit the famous Food Hall which sells a range of East Anglia's finest produce and the homewares shop, for cosy blankets, cushions, children's toys, books, plants and garden items.