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London's cosiest pubs

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Let’s face it: it’s going to be a wet one this weekend. But instead of braving the elements only to get washed out, why not kick off those wellies and nip into a cosy pub?

London’s definitely not short of them, but where to go is always the question. Not to fret, we’ve rounded up some of our personal favourites so you won’t need to go sloshing about on a wild goose-chase.

From the toasty log fireplace at The Albion in Islington, to the galore of candles at The Crown Tavern in Clerkenwell, take your pick below...

Just get ready to snuggle up.

Words: Esther Hong & Hayley Kadrou

  • The Wells, Hampstead

    Saunter just around five minutes from Hampstead Heath and you’ll come across an elegant, Georgian building that houses The Wells. With its sinking sofas, low tables and an award-winning menu to boot, this gastropub will keep you snuggled up - and your tummy happy, too - this weekend.

    thewellshampstead.london

  • The Builder's Arms, Chelsea

    Colourful cushions and stacks of books galore, The Builder's Arm will make you feel like you're drinking in the comfort of your own home - except it's a three storey Georgian building instead. This gastro pub is a fine place to dine while relaxing and soaking in the quirky artwork.

    geronimo-inns.co.uk/london-the-builders-arms

  • The Albion, Islington

    Just a stone’s throw away from Angel’s Upper Street, The Albion has become something of an Islington institution. Boasting a wisteria covered exterior, nostalgic wood-panelled walls and log fires during the colder months, it’s the perfect place to cheer you up on a rather deary day.

    the-albion.co.uk

  • The White Swan, Richmond

    Just hidden minutes away from from the other riverside pubs, The White Swan is Richmond's hidden treasure. Built in 1777, it retains the amicable atmosphere of an old public house, but offers a delicious food for the perfect family dining experience. And the greenery surrounding the beer garden gives it an idyllic suburbia feel. 

    whiteswanrichmond.co.uk

  • The Royal Oak, Bethnal Green

    Columbia Road may be best known for all the hustle and bustle that is the Columbia Road flower market. But locals know that the real gem on the street is The Royal Oak. Sitcom enthusiasts may recognise this pub from the small screen - it was featured in a Nicholas Lyndhurst’s Good Night Sweetheart. And we can see why - it’s comfortable and stylish all wrapped into one.

    royaloaklondon.com

  • The Gun, Canary Wharf

    Warm up next to the fire in a setting reminiscent of a Victorian study in The Gun, named after the foundries that produced the guns for the Royal Naval fleets in the 18th and 19th centuries that used to surround it. On brighter days, you can also enjoy a meal on the deck overlooking the Thames.

  • The Rookery, Clapham

    If it’s not the candles, the open fire at The Rookery will be sure to lure you into this Clapham gem of a pub. Exposed brick, velvet curtains and white tiles add to the lush, but modern ambiance. It also serves up comforting grub: slow-cooked Hampshire pork shoulder, macaroni and cheese, steak and fries.

    therookeryclapham.co.uk

  • The Surprise, Chelsea

    If eccentric and quirky is more your thing, head on over to The Surprise, a little haven in the heart of Chelsea. Settle down and prop up your feet on one its many plush sofas, all while nibbling on the pub’s small tapas-style plates. The intimate venue also finds space for multiple fireplaces, guaranteeing warmth throughout.

    geronimo-inns.co.uk/london-the-surprise

  • The North Star, Ealing

    Just a twist and turn from Ealing Broadway station, this cosy joint resembles a hybrid of a traditional English pub and an American-style diner, from the furnishing to the food. And with £1 off all tap, cask of keg drinks on Monday, it's the best place to beat the back-to-work-blues. 

    thenorthstarealing.co.uk

  • The Water Poet, Spitalfields

    Near to Spitalfields market but slightly hidden away, this deluxe pub has everything from quizzes, a cinema and a pool parlour to keep guests entertained, although the rustic feel and craft beer selection alone is enough. 

    waterpoet.co.uk

  • The Spaniard's Inn, Hampstead

    One of London's oldest pubs featured in the works of Dickens himself, The Spaniard's Inn is as aesthetically pleasing inside as it is out, giving it a country pub feel. The authentic fireplace is the perfect finishing touch to make this the ideal spot to curl up and unwind of a winter's evening.

    thespaniardshampstead.co.uk

  • The Old Red Lion, Kennington

    Tudor-esque in feel, this Kennington pub is filled with character, described by locals as an "oasis of a pub".  You'll feel at home thanks to the relaxed atmosphere, and sipping a glass of wine under the skyline roof is the ideal way to unwind after a hard day in the office.

    theoldredlion.com

  • The Morgan Arms, Bow

    If food and real ales are your thing, head on over to this East London gastropub. Situated close to Mile End Tube and a short stroll from Victoria park, this quirky pub has an inviting country-kitchen vibe. Best for Sunday lunch where portions are not only generous, but wholesome and warming. Mmm...

    morganarmsbow.com

  • The Dove, Hammersmith

    Set right on the riverside, The Dove is a beautiful spot whether you're enjoying a drink in the sunshine on the balcony looking over the water or warming up with a freshly prepared meal by the fire inside. A site for drinking since the 17th century, a small space to the right of the bar made it's way into the Guinness Book of World Records as the smallest bar room in the world.

     

    dovehammersmith.co.uk

  • The Montpelier, Peckham

    Spacious if you're with a big party, yet still furnished and laid out so you feel snug wherever you sit, The Montpelier is a favourite among locals around Peckham rye. And you can also catch a spot of culture there too, thanks to the regular exhibitions, performances and film screenings it hosts.

    themontpelier.net

  • The Joker, Angel

    Inspired by Joseph Grimaldi, the creator of the clown as we know it today, this Angel-based pub is the home of comedy evenings as well as an impressive range of craft beers. It's doesn't take itself too seriously, making for a cosy spot for a drink and a laugh in North London. 

     

    joker.pub

  • The Old Bank Of England, City of London

    In the heart of the City of London, The Old Bank Of England is the definition of grandeur in appearance, but find the perfect corner to set up camp, and you're in for a cosy treat. Built in the late 1800s and placed within the former Law Courts branch of the Bank of England, this splendid spot pulls off being grand without feeling cold. 

    oldbankofengland.co.uk

  • Cross Keys, Covent Garden

    In the thick of Covent Garden, the Cross Keys is a pleasant relief from the hectic surroundings, offering a low-key, local vibe. If you love antique clutter, you'll love this narrow bric-a-brac filled pub that makes you feel more like you're at your Gran's house than in the tourist hub of London.

     

    crosskeyscoventgarden.com

  • The Orange Tree, Totteridge

    Although spacious and essentially modern in feel, old-fashion wooden paneling and the odd antique touches add charisma to this large, stylish pub and eatery, perfect for a enjoying a lengthy wine and dine with friends or family.

     

    theorangetreetotteridge.co.uk

     

  • The Bull's Head, Barnes

    The soothing sounds of jazz alongside a roaring fire is enough alone to entice us into The Bull's Head, let alone the menu build on pub classic with a twist. A great spot for an all-round evening away from the busy city.

    geronimo-inns.co.uk/london-the-bulls-head