Calling all chocoholics! It's National Chocolate Week
from 8 to 14 October and although we've never needed an excuse to tuck into the sweet stuff we thought it would be the perfect time to explore some of Britain's chocolatey hotspots for a day out the kids and adults can enjoy.
There will be events and chocolate promotions all across the country - but National Chocolate Week aside, did you know that the village of Bournville in Birmingham
was where Cadbury chocolate was born? That York
is home to Kit Kat and Smarties? Or that Brighton
is creating its own chocolate history with a decadent boudoir for chocoholics?
you can take a chocolate tour of the city and discover how its rivers, railways and Quakers brought chocolate here. The Chocolate Trail
passes York Cocoa House
, a must for those with a sweet tooth to indulge in chocolate afternoon tea and have a go at making chocolate. It also takes in quaint shop Chocolate Heaven and chocolate chain Hotel Chocolat.
York Cocoa House, York
If you want to know more about the delectable treat, explore the rich story of chocolate and confectionary at York's Chocolate Story
. Here you'll learn to taste the sweet treat like a professional, get hands on at a virtual chocolate factory and watch chocolatiers in captivating demonstrations. Don't leave without learning how chocolate is made from bean to bar or discovering its secrets.
Head to the model village of Bournville in Birmingham
for a indulgent day trip with the kids at Cadbury World
. The real-life Willy Wonka chocolate factory is the place for an ultimate chocolate experience, where the kids can visualise themselves as Charlie, learn how the confectionary is made and splash around in the chocolate rain. It's fun for the adults too, as you can create your own delicious chocolate with popcorn marshmallows and biscuits covered in warm liquid Cadbury Dairy Milk, plus stock up on sweets at the world's biggest Cadbury chocolate shop.
Cadbury World, Bournville. Getty
In the south, Brighton
is a haven for chocolate lovers and is home to the Choccywoccydoodah
shop and boudoir. The chocolaterie lives and breathes chocolate, so you can browse the fantastical cakes displayed in the boutique, stop for a hot chocolate or tuck into a large piece of chocolate cake before resting on a chaise longue.
Other top spots for chocoholics in Brighton include The Chilli-Shop
in Brighton Marina with its free tasters of chilli products, such as chilli chocolate and chocolate brownies - great for those who like their chocolate spicy! And Laughter Alive
offers laughing workshops that can be combined with chocolate making - ideal if you're visiting as a group of friends and really want to have a giggle in the city by the sea
The Chocolate Boutique Hotel, Bournemouth
Looking for a tasty place to sleep after a day out? Mercure Spa Hotels
is offering indulgent getaways at nine of its hotels across the country throughout October. The Chocolate Unwrapped package includes a Chocotherapy spa treatment, a Choctail in the bar and a dining experience rounded off with a chocolate twist, from £160 for two people.
Alternatively, boutique bolthole The Chocolate Hotel
in Bournemouth has 13 chocolate-themed rooms, which come with chocolate fountains! The Grade II-listed hosts chocolate workshops and chocolate parties all year round.
Love food? Browse our favourite British dishes below...
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- Cornish pasty - Cornwall
'A genuine Cornish pasty has a distinctive D shape and is crimped on one side, never on top,' the Cornish Pasty Association says. Hit Cornwall to enjoy its national dish, which was once eaten by poor working class families who could only afford cheap ingredients in the 18th century. The pastry filled with chunky beef, swede, potato and onion with a light salt and pepper seasoning is slow-baked and golden brown in colour. Today you can buy the savoury treats all over the country but you'll want to visit Cornwall to taste the real thing. Some great Cornish pasty shops in Cornwall include <a href="http://www.thechoughbakery.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Chough Bakery</a> in Padstow, <a href="http://www.philpsbakery.co.uk/" target="_blank">Philp's Famous Pasties</a> in Hayle and <a href="http://www.annspasties.co.uk/" target="_blank">Ann's Pasties</a> in The Lizard. <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266717;81134721;j" target="_blank">Check out offers on accommodation in Cornwall</a></p>
- Haggis - Scotland
If you're into adventurous eating and think you can handle Scottish delicacy haggis, take a trip to Scotland to taste the meaty dish. Haggis is best described as a kind of sausage or a savoury pudding cooked in a casing of sheep's intestine. It may not sound appealing but the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique says it has an 'excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour'. The dish is popular all over Scotland and there's even a vegetarian version so non-meat eaters don't have to miss out. Want to eat haggis in Scotland? Try <a href="http://www.amber-restaurant.co.uk/" target="_blank">Amber Restaurant</a> set in The Scotch Whisky Experience at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, which serves a delicious traditional haggis. The hotel <a href="http://mhor.net/" target="_blank">Monachyle Mhor</a> in the Trossachs National Park serves haggis bonbons and haggis for breakfast too. Browse <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266717;81134721;j" target="_blank">accommodation deals in the Trossachs National Park</a> and <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266737;81134743;p" target="_blank">offers on places to stay in Edinburgh</a></p>
- Stilton cheese - Stilton, Cambridgeshire
Head to the home of the famous blue-veined cheese in Cambridgeshire where historically, The Bell Inn in the village of Stilton popularized Stilton cheese with passing travellers. It's no longer made in the village and only producers in Derbyshire, Nottingham and Leicestershire are allowed to use the name Stilton for the cheese, but the village still celebrates the crumbly blue favourite with its annual Stilton-rolling competition in May. If you're visiting the village you can eat all kinds of Stilton at <a href="http://www.thebellstilton.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Bell Inn</a>. In a leek and potato soup, as a paté or in a creamy sauce on a steak are just some of the ways you can sample the cheese at the inn. <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266735;81134741;l" target="_blank">Browse accommodation deals in Cambridgeshire</a></p>
- Welsh cakes - South Wales
The tradition of baking these fruit cakes on a bakestone goes back so far that it's unclear where in Wales it originates from, although it's said to have started in the Valleys in South Wales. Welsh cakes are traditionally cooked on a bakestone (a flat cast iron griddle that sits on top of the cooker) and contain flour, butter, sugar, currants, egg and spices (mainly cinnamon and nutmeg). The cakes are normally dusted with caster sugar and can be served hot or cold - perfect with a good cuppa! Looking for some top spots in South Wales to taste Welsh cakes? At <a href="http://www.fabulouswelshcakes.co.uk/index.htm" target="_blank">Fabulous Welshcakes</a> in Mermaid Quay, Cardiff Bay you can watch the cakes being made and take some warms one away with you. <a href="http://www.cakesfromwales.com/maddocks/P7_TeaRoom.aspx" target="_blank">Maddocks' Tea Room</a> in Southgate on the Gower Peninsula serves them with its afternoon tea. <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;256696326;81134740;m" target="_blank">Browse accommodation offers in Cardiff</a> and <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266725;81134731;j" target="_blank">deals on places to stay in Cardigan. </a></p>
- Jellied eels - London
Once a staple food of East and South London's working class when eels were the only fish tough enough to survive in the polluted River Thames, jellied eels can still be found in London if you know where to look. The fish boiled in gelatine is definitely a dish for the brave due to its jellied texture. Even if you don't have the stomach for jellied eels, a visit to a shop is a must to see the Victorian decor and to try pie and mash - another traditional London dish. Goddard's in Deptford, Greenwich, F Cooke on Broadway Market in Hackney and Manze's in Tower Bridge Road in Southwark are some of the best places in London for jellied eels and pie and mash. <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266732;81134738;o" target="_blank">See accommodation deals in London</a></p>
- Yorkshire pudding - Yorkshire
A Sunday roast wouldn't be the same without Yorkshire puddings. The crispy batter dish was originally served as a starter by the working class people of Yorkshire and made with dripping fat from meat roasting in the oven. It's still common in parts of Yorkshire for the dish to be eaten separately to a main meat meal. According to a 2008 ruling by the Royal Society of Chemistry, 'a Yorkshire pudding isn't a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall'. For a tasty Sunday lunch in Yorkshire, head to the Carlton Bore in Thirsk where you can enjoy a traditional roast with fresh Yorkshire puddings. <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266730;81134737;l" target="_blank">Browse accommodation offers in Yorkshire</a></p>
- Colchester oysters - Colchester, Essex
Did you know that Colchester Natives are considered some of the best oysters in the world? The tangy molluscs found off the Essex coast were first popularised by the Romans and are flatter, creamier, sweeter and more delicate than more common varieties. The Romans dubbed them as 'the only good thing to come out of Britain'. Mersea Island in Colchester is home to famous suppliers Richard Haward and The Colchester Oyster Fishery. <a href="http://the-company-shed.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Company Shed</a> and the West Mersey Oyster Bar are two top spots for eating the oysters when they're in season. Want somewhere to stay? <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266729;81134735;r">Check out these accommodation offers in Colchester, like 20.12% off a stay at the Crowne Plaza Resort Colchester</a></p>
- Bakewell tart - Bakewell, Derbyshire
When the hotel cook at the Rutland Arms in the market town of Bakewell, Derbyshire misunderstood the instructions of a dessert she was making in 1860 and spread the egg mixture on top of the jam instead of stirring it into the pastry, little did she know she'd create a local delicacy that would become a much-loved teatime treat all over the country. Visit the Peak District town where you can buy a real Bakewell tart, or pudding as they call it. At the <a href="http://www.bakewellpuddingshop.co.uk/" target="_blank">Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop</a> in The Square you can even post yourself a Pudding, the <a href="http://www.postapudding.com/" target="_blank">Bakewell Pudding Parlour</a> on Water Street is a good place to have the dessert with a cup of tea and at <a href="http://www.bakewelltartshop.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Bakewell Tart Shop</a> on Matlock Street you can have a personal message iced on a tart! <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266728;81134734;p" target="_blank">Find accommodation deals in Derbyshire</a></p>
- Arbroath Smokies - Arbroath, Scotland
Ever tried an Arbroath Smokie? It's a haddock that's dried and salted before being smoked over a half-whisky barrel which is set into a smokie pit in the ground. It's intense, rich and smoky in flavour with a burnished copper colour. The Scottish delicacy originated in Auchmithie, a small fishing village a few miles north of Arbroath, which was once populated with Scandinavian fishermen. Although Arbroath Smokies are exported all over the world, they're protected by the European Commission, meaning only haddock smoked in a traditional way within an eight-kilometre radius of Arbroath are considered genuine. Watch the haddock being traditionally smoked by <a href="http://www.arbroathsmokies.net/" target="_blank">Iain Spink of RR Spink & Sons</a> at a farmer's market, then eat them warm from the newspaper on the beach in Arbroath. <a href="http://www.butnbenauchmithie.co.uk/" target="_blank">But 'n' Ben Restaurant</a> in the real home of the Smokie, Auchmithie, is the perfect place to eat fresh Arbroath Smokies when the weather takes a turn for the worse. <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266717;81134721;j" target="_blank">Check out these accommodation offers in Angus</a></p>
- Lancashire hotpot - Lancashire
Like many of Britain's best dishes, the hotpot was born as a necessity and made from everyday local ingredients like potatoes, carrots and lambs by working class families in Lancashire to get them through the winter. Bubbling Lancashire hotpot with its meaty lamb juices and golden potato topping is a pub favourite and you won't want to miss eating the real thing at a restaurant or pub in Lancashire. Be sure to order it with picked red cabbage and a local beer, followed by an Eccles cake, which is also a Lancashire speciality. Top spots to enjoy authentic hotpot in Lancashire include Michelin chef Nigel Haworth's cosy pub <a href="http://www.thethreefishes.com/" target="_blank">The Three Fishes</a> in Mitton where tasty Bowland lamb hotpot is served, Nigel's elegant restaurant <a href="http://www.northcote.com/" target="_blank">Northcote Manor</a> in Blackburn and lively bistro <a href="http://www.hastingslytham.com/" target="_blank">Hastings</a> in Lytham St Annes. Want somewhere to stay? <a href="http://ad-emea.doubleclick.net/clk;257266769;81134747;y" target="_blank">Browse accommodation offers in Lancashire</a></p>