There’s nothing quite like taking shelter from the cold with a pint or large glass of wine and a plate of hearty pub food in front of a roaring fire. Luckily London has many pubs in which you can do just this.
The vast riverside terrace at this Wandsworth boozer, which has been standing since 1786, means it’s pretty much packed all summer long but it’s also a haven for drinkers in the winter as it’s also home to a massive wood burning stove. Their range of Young’s cask ales, London craft beers and seasonal gastropub fare – clam chowder, ribeye steak and chips, dark chocolate tart – keep the crowds warm and happy.
The White Horse is another pub that’s extremely popular both in summer thanks to its large front beer garden and once the temperature drops thanks to expansive interiors, roaring fires and comfy Chesterfields. Though they serve a variety of wines and spirits, this is a pub for beer fans to hole up in – eight cask ale and six draught lines are regularly rotated with a ton more in the fridge.
Established when Highgate was still a village on the edge of London, The Flask is brimming with history; it’s home to a ghost or two, Dick Turpin allegedly stopped by whilst on the run and Keats, Shelley and Bryon all drank here. As lots of period features remain, there are plenty of snugs and alcoves to nestle into with a pint of ale and a plate of warming pub grub.
This Grade II listed building in Docklands can be a bit tricky to find but that only makes The Gun feel even more like a hidden gem. As well as a flagstone floor, dark wood and a fire in the bar area, the pub also has a separate brighter dining area complete with great views of the river and the o2 Arena. The Gun is a Fuller’s pub so many of their brews, including London Pride and Oliver’s Island, are on tap and their Sunday roast is a real hit with punters too.
Though it doesn’t look like it from the interior, the Jerusalem Tavern has only been operating as a pub since the 1990s. It’s on the snug side and has a coal burning fire just inside the entrance, so you’ll have no trouble getting cosy. It also boasts the full range of beers and ales from Suffolk brewery St Peters, so you won’t have any problem in getting a strong brew to keep that warm feeling going all evening long.
The Angelsea Arms is a real neighbourhood pub that’s quietly and confidently gone about its business, re-opening in 2014 with a new seasonal food offering. The pub is definitely now more food-focused, with the menu ranging from burrata and figs to braised ox cheeks, polenta and chanterelles to sticky toffee pudding, but it’s still a great place to grab a drink and sit in front of the fire.
Thanks to its location on the edge of Hampstead Heath, the Spaniards Inn really does feel like a traditional country pub and with a log fire on the go, it’s the perfect place to settle in after a bracing winter walk. Historically it’s always been a popular place to drink with both Dickens and Keats amongst the clientele, and the rotating selection of cask ales, regular tap takeovers and hearty gastropub fare keeps people coming back.
Tucked in between Morning Lane and Homerton High Street, The Chesham Arms was saved from the fate of becoming another block of Hackney flats, going on to be named CAMRA East London Pub of the Year in 2016. As well as having two fires, the deep red wall colour only enhances the sense of warmth and it’s a dog friendly pub too, so you can bring your pooch in to curl up in front of the fire.
With three fires – one in the bar, one in the dining area and one in the lounge – you’ll have no problem getting cosy in The Antelope. The pub has been a part of the Tooting community for decades and it remains charmingly traditional, with church pews, bunting and taxidermied animals amongst the décor. With locally sourced brews and regular events, including quiz nights, banjo lessons and drawing classes, you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away.
Rebuilt after the Great Fire of London, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is one of the oldest pubs in the city and as you’d expect from a building that’s been standing for over three centuries, it’s full of history – lots of famous writer patrons and lots of nooks and crannies over four levels to nestle in. Now that it’s run by Sam Smith’s, the pints are decently priced too.