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8 cafés for hygge vibes this Autumn

Need a cosy bolthole to shelter from the outside world in? Head off the beaten track and order a flat white the size of your head in one of our handpicked locals.

Hygge (aka the Danish word for cosiness) is what makes short, dark winter days somewhat bearable. It’s all cashmere socks, log-burning fires and boozy hot choc in Emma Bridgewater crockery. When the dishes and laundry are piling up and your home nowhere near resembles the Pinterest dream, grab a coat and head to one of these cafes to embrace the hygge vibe – that never-ending pile of laundry will wait until tomorrow.

Cabinet Rooms, Winchester

Cabinet Rooms, Winchester

When it comes to cosy cafés, Winchester residents are spoilt for choice. With atmospheric lighting and benches topped with plenty of cushions, the Cabinet Rooms is our pick of places in the city to nestle on a rainy day. Try red velvet hot chocolate, made with São Tomé and Madagascan dark chocolate from Winchester Cocoa Company. There’s also a book club and the Secret Underground Film Society with weekday evening screenings. Locals rave about the cocktails, so worth coming back for an evening tipple. 

The Tenth Hole, Portsmouth

Tenth Hole 1

We can’t mention Portsmouth without including The Tenth Hole cafe. This place is renowned across the county for its truly unbelievable cakes. Triple chocolate sponge with strawberries and fresh caramel cream doughnut, anyone? We’ll have ours with an oat milk flat white. And maybe an Oreo brownie… or two. Vegan and gluten-free cake lovers will not be disappointed with the selection here. 

Madeleine’s Kitchen, Petersfield

Madeleine's Kitchen, Petersfield

Italian deli meet homely coffeehouse, Madeleine’s Kitchen is always a hubbub of cappuccino sippers and gourmet aficionados hunting out rare delicacies from the deli counter. Shelves are stacked with giant vintage olive tins and Rococo scorched almonds. You may have to queue for a seat but it’s totally worth it. Dive into a slice of the Nigella vegan chocolate cake, covered in pistachio and edible rose petals, and maybe get two servings of fish pie from the counter to take home for supper.

Make & Brew, Southampton

Make & Brew, Southampton

With mismatched chairs and vintage crockery, Make & Brew certainly has a crafty vibe. Regular art workshops are held here and there’s a plentiful supply of Monmouth coffee, sandwiches and Insta-worthy cakes from Tom Coombs of Love Cake Bakery. You can book out the whole place for tea and cake with friends, or throw an antipasti evening. The colourful cafe has just moved to new premises with reopening imminent – we’ll be first in line when it does.

The Tea Cosy, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Andover

The Tea Cosy

Just outside Andover, The Tea Cosy started life as an old garage before it was converted into a wood-clad cafe, complete with rainbow chairs and fairy lights. As well as the usual sandwiches and coffee, this quirky establishment throws wonderfully madcap themed afternoon teas – choose from Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland (there’s a reason it won Best Café in our Muddy Stilettos Awards 2018). Don’t forget to poke your head in the garden and see if you can find The Tipsy Teapot pop-up bar where tea-infused gin is served from teapots (with silver riding hat ice buckets on hand, for that essential top up).

Willows Coffee House, Basingstoke

Willows Coffee House, Basingstoke

New in 2020, Willows Coffee House is a friendly cafe right in the centre of Basingstoke. Head in for a cuppa and a slice of moreish chocolate banana bread. Willows gets Muddy bonus points for it’s dog and child-friendly creds – there’s even ice-cream for four-legged visitors. On Tuesdays, mums get a free babyccino with their coffee and there’s a mini pantry selling Beres Bakes sourdough bread. We’ve got our eye on the intriguing turmeric loaf… 

The Larder, Lymington

The Larder, Lymington

We wish our larder was as gorgeous as The Larder in Lymington. With cut flowers on the tables, snug benches and a fairy-light decked courtyard with heaters, you couldn’t really ask for a nicer spot for coffee. ‘Rainbow’ is probably the word to describe their food. Not in an artificial Skittles sense, but because of their fruit and veg-packed offerings – from freshly-squeezed juices to beetroot hummus tartine with chickpeas, cannellini beans, garlic, chives and harissa-infused oil. 

Salt Shack Cafe, Hayling Island

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The Salt Shack Cafe is a real gem, but a little tricky to find because it’s hidden in Northney Marina, tucked away behind the boats. Inside, it’s like stepping into a Cornish beach cafe with white-washed walls and nautical art. The menu is simple, but delicious – sandwiches are huge with an excellent vegetarian and vegan selection, plus you can get a fresh Selsey crab with avocado salad. Drop in after a windy morning walk for a hot chocolate and catch the autumn light as it settles over the moored yachts.

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