Not a massive fan of Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium (aka Cat Cafe) or the new Cereal Cafe in Shoreditch? Feel that it’s a PR stunt? You might be right, but you know, it’s all in good fun – and there’s a new joint in town that will definitely sway your opinion in favour of such ‘edgy’ cafes.

The McVitie’s Cuddle Cafe, at 52 Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia, provides customers with free biscuits and tea in exchange for a hug. Yep, no cash – just a quick cuddle. Not a bad deal!

The pop-up cafe opened up on Tuesday night, and I went to have a look-see to figure out what all the fuss was about.

Cuddly is definitely the right word to describe the place. As soon as you come in you’re offered to have a go at the tombola to win yourself a McVitie’s #sweeet friend: their latest range of soft toys. People walk in with a one-in-ten chance of winning a cuddly stuffed toy. Sadly, I walked away empty handed.

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[Raya Barghouti]

Sarah Heynen, marketing director of Sweet Biscuits commented: “We experienced a fantastic response to the McVitie’s sweeet™ campaign last year and received a lot of feedback from consumers about how much they loved our animal characters.

“With a one-in-ten chance of taking a sweeet™ friend home, we are confident the promotion will build further excitement about the McVitie’s brand, providing a fun initiative for retailers to take to their customers, and helping to boost engagement with the broader biscuits category.”

Overall, it was a little bit busy but the staff were incredibly friendly. There are plenty of biscuits, endless cups of tea and an unmissable enormous owl near the counter; for all your cuddling needs.

Laura, 19, a student at UCL, said: “I heard about it through Twitter last night and just thought it would be cool to try it out; it’s just down the road from my uni. Wish it was here a bit longer actually – I’d have my lunch breaks sorted from now on.”

Dr. Stuart Farrimond is the mastermind behind the idea of this McVitie’s experiment. His research into the benefits of hugging suggest that, as a whole, British people are considerably happier cuddling.

When we hug a familiar person, or even a soft toy, it releases in our brains, a chemical called oxytocin– better known as the love hormone.

So what better way to do that than over tea and biscuits– and for free?

Feature image by Raya Barghouti

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