Author Topic: Hoek -> Harwich  (Read 906 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Hoek -> Harwich
« on: April 08, 2019, 12:31:20 am »

Am pondering a few days cycling in East Anglia in June, and was thinking of taking the Hoek -> Harwich ferry. I notice the overnight ferry arrives in .UK at a stupid o'clock in the morning.

For those of you that have used this ferry, how fast do they like to kick you off? Do you have time to have a decent breakfast if you don't set your alarm for crazy early o'clock?

Or am I better off looking for a fry up in Harwich or Mainingtree?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
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bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2019, 12:42:04 am »
I've used it. The hot food is definitely nothing to write home about and the prices are highway robbery. I'd wait for a fry up elsewhere. For me I made a load of scran I'd picked up from a cloggie Lidl last the trip over.

Also don't do what this mug did and assume your 'free european roaming' data deal works on the high seas... It doesn't, I ended up paying £20 in extra phone bills.
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Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2019, 12:44:46 am »
The 2 times I've used that ferry I've had time to get breakfast before disembarking.   Very poor value though.   I've been told that Manningtree station has an excellent cafe, but haven't tried it myself.
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Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 05:37:28 am »
Manningtree station is indeed an excellent breakfast, although it’s maybe an hour’s cycle first.

I find the food on the ferry very forgettable!

The Facebook page for the Manningtree Café seems less positive though: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Buffet-Manningtree-Station/191496637537738
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2019, 05:41:20 am »
As Blidged says, put your phone onto Airplane Mode for the crossing - you are given plenty of warning on the ferry, though, as they roam to a satellite provider during the crossing.

I think you might find a better breakfast option in Colchester if you go through there, or perhaps Ipswich if you’re going north. Sounds like Manningtree has gone downhill since I was living near there, and at the time I found there were no other places doing breakfast locally before 09:00, although you could enquire at the Crown Hotel in Manningtree.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2019, 07:42:26 am »
Morrison’s supermarket next to the terminal is a good place to get a monster breakfast for not very much money. The breakfast on the boat is poor and very expensive. Luckily they process you quickly and you’re off the boat lickedy spit.

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2019, 08:35:15 am »
Did this last year after after cycling to and from Eindhoven. I'd grab a little something on the ferry but aim to make your main breakfast elsewhere.  I happened to cycle back to Coggeshall (where I live) for a full English ion the White Hart.
Turn, turn, turn again
Turn, turn to the rain
And the wind

Auntie Helen

  • 6 Wheels in Germany
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2019, 08:46:56 am »
Morrison’s supermarket next to the terminal is a good place to get a monster breakfast for not very much money. The breakfast on the boat is poor and very expensive. Luckily they process you quickly and you’re off the boat lickedy spit.
Morrisons isn’t open early enough though, it opens at 7 so you have a half hour wait.
My blog on cycling in Germany and eating German cake – http://www.auntiehelen.co.uk


Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2019, 09:21:01 am »
We did it two years ago. You don't get kicked off all that quickly because they hope you will spend money on breakfast.

By the time we sauntered down the car deck, unlocked the bikes, sorted the panniers, went through customs and got out onto the road we arrived at Manningtree for breakfast when they were serving, exactly what the time of day was, I can't tell you but it opens early enough to catch the early London commuters.

The breakfast was good, if it's gone downhill I don't know what they were like before.
Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2019, 09:32:51 am »
Manningtree is very good, but I would say that wouldn't I. It's an unadorned transport-caff type place (all bread is sliced white blotting paper, but you always get two slices of it), so don't go expecting beans in a ramekin or pea shoots.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2019, 11:48:31 am »
I've only used the ferry in the opposite direction, but they played annoying cheerful music over the PA at audax o'clock to ensure everyone was awake in good time for an overpriced breakfast before arrival.

I hid under a pillow.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2019, 12:33:51 pm »
Auntie H used to take us to Manningtree station cafe. It is fine.
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2019, 01:15:03 pm »
Those riding the ACME Green & Yellow fields on 4 May will have opportunity to check out the Manningtree Station Buffet cafe if it's open...  so perhaps a recent review could be provided after that.

https://www.aukweb.net/events/detail/19-900/

I would note that some days is isn't open for early service (I think we've had them open early for us on a weekend for example, A&S I think...)  Open from 05:00 every day apart from Sat (8AM) and Sundays (closed) though...



Regards,

Joergen

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2019, 03:24:43 pm »
I've done that route a few times. The first few times I didn't bother with breakfast - just stayed in bed for as long as possible, but last time (less than a year ago) I got up and had the full buffet breakfast. It was awesome! Extortionate, but excellent none the less. I think it was £15 (or maybe €) for all you can eat. And I ate a lot  :P
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

bhoot

  • MemSec (ex-Mrs RRtY)
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2019, 04:05:20 pm »
If you do have it, then it's cheaper if booked on line before travelling and possibly if you do it when you get on the boat in the evening (go to Guest Services) rather than just turning up in the morning.
When we have travelled we have often had breakfast on the way to Hoek as it means you are ready for the day and don't need to stop for a while once you disembark, plus arrival in Hoek is later. However coming back to Harwich we have usually cycled off and breakfasted somewhere en route if we are cycling home or part way home.

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2019, 07:26:48 pm »
Don't recall being impressed with the brekky but it was over 10 years ago and with littlies.
FYI there is also this ferry for local onwards transport, though I don't think it starts usefully early.
Other eateries are the garden centre at Lawford and the Mistley environmental centre, though I've never been there.
In the dark, all views are the same.

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2019, 12:15:50 am »
I've not been tempted by breakfast on the ferry either of the two times I've done it.

The first time I had a leisurely fry up at the pub before snoozing on a bench on the seafront waiting for the harbour ferry. https://www.brewersfayre.co.uk/pub-restaurant/Essex/Mayflower-Harwich.html

The second time I couldn't be bothered to wait for the harbour ferry, so just got pedalling the long way around and ate the food I had with me when the time felt right.

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2019, 11:26:22 am »
When I went over last summer the breakfast in Hoek was much better value than the Harwich one; there were a load of Dutch specialties out that they didn't bother with in Harwich, and in Harwich the kitchen was running out early, so by the time I got there it was slightly slim pickings. I'd probably not bother booking a breakfast next time.

bhoot

  • MemSec (ex-Mrs RRtY)
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2019, 03:24:40 pm »
I guess that is the difference between the Stena Hollandica (night crossing to Hoek) and Stena Britannica (the other way crossing). At one point the former was better for cycle parking too but now they have moved to crowd control barriers they seem to be the same.

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2019, 08:36:03 pm »
I've only used the ferry in the opposite direction, but they played annoying cheerful music over the PA at audax o'clock to ensure everyone was awake in good time for an overpriced breakfast before arrival.

And at frequent intervals thereafter, so you can't even set the alarm for another hour's kip and get your head down. A friend who takes it regularly tells me the speaker in the cabin is easily sabotaged (and repaired, if you must) with ordinary screwdrivers, which I might try on this year's trip to Leipzig.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2019, 02:14:51 pm »
I've only used the ferry in the opposite direction, but they played annoying cheerful music over the PA at audax o'clock to ensure everyone was awake in good time for an overpriced breakfast before arrival.

And at frequent intervals thereafter, so you can't even set the alarm for another hour's kip and get your head down. A friend who takes it regularly tells me the speaker in the cabin is easily sabotaged (and repaired, if you must) with ordinary screwdrivers, which I might try on this year's trip to Leipzig.

Totally off topic, but tell us about your Leipzig trip, Damarell! I have plans to go there this year or next but not yet sorted out the details. No only was it the main place for Johann Sebastian Bach, but also, my piano, being a Blüthner, was made there. The Blüthner showroom staff in Baker Street offered to get in touch with their Head Office to give me a tour of the factory when we go (I had told them something they didn't know about Blüthner shipping refugees' pianos out of Germany at the company's cost during the Nazi era).
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Regulator

  • Got a thing for rubber...
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2019, 02:46:09 pm »
I've done that route a few times. The first few times I didn't bother with breakfast - just stayed in bed for as long as possible, but last time (less than a year ago) I got up and had the full buffet breakfast. It was awesome! Extortionate, but excellent none the less. I think it was £15 (or maybe €) for all you can eat. And I ate a lot  :P

I agree. And if you’re doing the overnight ferry and haven’t had dinner, the buffet evening meal - although a little pricey - can be excellent as well.   Particularly if you’re a fish fan...
Quote from: clarion
I completely agree with Reg.

Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2019, 06:36:25 pm »
Totally off topic, but tell us about your Leipzig trip, Damarell! I have plans to go there this year or next but not yet sorted out the details. No only was it the main place for Johann Sebastian Bach,

We have been during a Bach festival, but our trips are less highbrow; for some years we have gone to the Wave-Gotik-Treffen, the giant German goth (and metal, pagan-y folk, EBM, industrial, etc) festival in Leipzig, which is about as big relative to Leipzig as the Whitby Goth Weekend is relative to Whitby.

We used to get the DB sleeper from Paris to Germany, but this wasn't ideal even when it did exist; you have to change in Paris which smells of wee and get off the train at oh God am in Berlin or Munich to change to a train to Leipzig. We went once on the Russian State Railways sleeper which replaced it (the economics seem to be different if you are running all the way to Moscow), which is quite sumptuous, but doesn't always run on convenient days. Hence, these days we get the train to Harwich (there is a once-daily direct service from Cambridge which connects with the ferry), the ferry to Hoek (which also wakes you up at oh God am, as discussed), curse the interminable works on the railway from Hoek to Rotterdam which mean we have had to take a ghastly endless replacement bus for a couple of years now, and get a series of day trains to Leipzig. We do the return journey the whole way on day trains - the ferry isn't at a convenient sleeping point in the return journey.

When you are in Leipzig I recommend seeing:
  • filthy goths, but perhaps they won't be there, and likewise you may not be able to go and drink absinthe cocktails at 4am.
  • The Volkerschlachtdenkmal, the Monument to the Battle of the Nations, Napoleon's great defeat at Leipzig. Rationally speaking this is much smaller than a modern skyscraper but its stone construction makes it look utterly colossal. The first time we went one of us caught sight of it from the train and said "what the hell is that?"
  • The Stasi museum, if you read reasonable German and are interested in that sort of thing. One year they displayed all their paperwork on the Gruftis, the oddball pre-unification DDR goths, who the Stasi appear to have concluded were weird but basically harmless.
  • The historic tram museum, if you are a giant nerd. However, it's only open one weekend in six or so, and is quite small, so don't plan a day around it.
  • Colditz Castle is about 90 minutes' bus ride away; they do a tour which IIIRC lasts 2-3 hours.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2019, 10:15:36 am »
I've only used the ferry in the opposite direction, but they played annoying cheerful music over the PA at audax o'clock to ensure everyone was awake in good time for an overpriced breakfast before arrival.

And at frequent intervals thereafter, so you can't even set the alarm for another hour's kip and get your head down. A friend who takes it regularly tells me the speaker in the cabin is easily sabotaged (and repaired, if you must) with ordinary screwdrivers, which I might try on this year's trip to Leipzig.

Totally off topic, but tell us about your Leipzig trip, Damarell! I have plans to go there this year or next but not yet sorted out the details. No only was it the main place for Johann Sebastian Bach, but also, my piano, being a Blüthner, was made there. The Blüthner showroom staff in Baker Street offered to get in touch with their Head Office to give me a tour of the factory when we go (I had told them something they didn't know about Blüthner shipping refugees' pianos out of Germany at the company's cost during the Nazi era).

Dunno what info you want about Leipzig, but I cycled there (well all bar about 100km of it), from Amsterdam for my Festive 500 attempt. My route basically drew as straight a line as I could from Amsterdam to Leipzig. Which in hindsight was a bloody stupid idea. Some moron put the Harz mountains in the middle. Sure they aren't big, but when you did 260km the day before, in temps floating just above zero, it was way more lumpy than I needed it to be. If you're planning to cycle, take the northern route, Enschede, Osnabruck, Hanover, Brunswick, and onto Leipzig. That's the route I'm planning for this years festive 500 attempt. Considerably flatter,

If you work on the assumption every driver is trying to kill you, and ride accordingly, riding in Germany isn't too bad... Certainly better than Belgium...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Hoek -> Harwich
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2019, 10:46:47 am »
I'd heard dreadful things about Belgium but I found the drivers there very good (aside from often not indicating at roundabouts).

Perhaps you're all just spoiled as I'm a London cyclist and used to literally fighting for my life every day.
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