Britain's most beautiful pubs

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Stylist Team

Raise a glass to the most picturesque pubs the country has to offer, from Victorian gems in London to John Lennon's old haunt in Liverpool.

These are exclusive extracts derived from Herb Lester Associates. Their new pocket size book A London Pub For Every Occasion is out now on hardback for £9.99.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    Crown Posada, 31 The Side, NE1 3JE

    Historic and romantic, the Posada part of the pub's name (it means inn) was said to have been added in the 19th century by a landlord who installed his Spanish mistress.

    Choose from the larger rear bar or the cosy snug at the front, where you can admire the beautiful stained glass windows.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Blackfriar, 174 Queen Victoria Street EC4V 4EG

    The interior has an almost ecclesiastical atmosphere, with elaborate tile work, copper and plaster friezes, and jolly monks looming everywhere.

    Best visited in the morning or afternoon to avoid the lunch and after-work crowds.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Salisbury, 90 St Martin’s Lane WC2N 4AP

    A pub that’s as opulent and showy as the theatres that surround it, with carved mahogany bar and pillars, candelabras, decorative mirrors, engraved glass and deep, padded seating in semi-circular arrangements.

    A small area at one side of the bar has its own entrance from St Martin’s Court and is shielded from public view.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Morfa Nefyn, Gwynedd, LL53 6DB

    In any other location the Ty Coch would be nothing other than a perfectly nice place for a quiet drink, hardly worth the 20-minute walk across a golf course to get there.

    But it’s the only pub we know of that sits right on a beach with unrestricted views straight out to sea, complete with bobbing vessels.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Marble Arch, 73 Rochdale Road M4 4HY

    Though not particularly large, this has the feeling of a grand and proud establishment with its high ceilings and truly spectacular interior.

    There are glazed tiles floor to ceiling, mosaic floor, and a tempting selection of ale, porter, whiskies, gin, brandies, cordials, wines and rum. Manchester’s own Marble Brewery is in charge here, assuring excellent ales and modern, but hearty, food.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Princess Louise, 208 High Holborn, WC1V 7EP

    A few years ago the Princess Louise was refurbished by its owner Samuel Smith’s, which restored the magnificent tile work, plaster ceilings, mirrors and carved wood and reinstated its original 1870s floorplan.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    Philharmonic Dining Rooms, 36 Hope Street, L1 9BX

    Lavish and lovely with two big rooms, one of them huge, and numerous nooks ideal for huddling.

    Local lore has it that John Lennon complained that “the price of fame is not being able to go to the Phil for a quiet pint.”

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Viaduct Tavern, 126 Newgate Street EC1A 7AA

    This stately semi-circular Victorian pub, constructed at the eastern end of Holborn Viaduct, has etched glass, gilded mirrors, three paintings of sorrowful maidens and abundant carved woodwork.

    The pub’s original separate drinking areas are long gone, but one rare surviving feature is an elegant booth of etched glass and carved wood at the back of the bar.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Victoria, 10A Strathearn Place W2 2NH

    Writing in 1966, architecture critic Ian Nairn described this as "one of the best London pub rooms, dark and plushy and glowing."

    And so it remains today, as ornate, gleaming and comfortable as it must have been 150 years ago. Five globe lights rise from the mahogany bar on brass posts, reflected in extravagantly decorated mirrors.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Warrington Hotel, 93 Warrington Crescent W9 1EH

    This grand old Edwardian hotel-turned-pub is divided into two large rooms with art nouveau stained glass, marble columns and acres of space.

    It’s no surprise that it feels more like a hotel lobby than a pub, although the left-hand bar is a little more intimate.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Tabard, 2 Bath Road W4 1LW

    In Bedford Park, a late Victorian Arts and Crafts suburb, this pub may just be its jewel.

    It has wonderful decorative tiles, carved-wood panelling and brass door furniture.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    Bartons Arms, 144 High Street, B6 4UP

    Rescued from demolition in the 1960s, and now in the tender care of the Oakham Brewery, the Bartons Arms is three storeys high, with its own clock tower.

    There are vivid stained glass windows, vast swathes of decorative tiles, gleaming woodwork, decorative etched glass, and two of its bars have their original snob screens.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Red Lion, 2 Duke of York Street SW1Y 6JP

    On a good day sun’s rays filter through The Red Lion's windows, catching the array of polished mirrors, bevelled glass and rich wood that decorates this diminutive but immaculate Victorian jewel.

    It's another London pub rebuilt in the 1870s, with little changed since.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Windsor Castle, 114 Campden Hill Road W8 7AR

    People come from far and wide for the Windsor Castle’s garden, while inside its three discrete bars - Private, Campden and Sherry - offer a calm, country feel.

    In 1966 The New London Spy took an amusing pot-shot at its customers, noting: "it is almost, but not quite, made totally impossible by the clientele who like to be seen there."

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Canny Man’s, 237 Morningside Road, EH10 4QU

    Under the ownership of the Kerr family since 1871, the pub has accumulated a vast array of oddities in its many rooms. A mannequin hangs from the ceiling, there’s a sabre once used to cut the top off a champagne bottle that instead took off a portion of thumb, and a room papered with copies of The Illustrated London News.

    The Kerrs take as unorthodox an approach to hospitality as they do decoration, but follow the rules listed on a discreet sign outside (“no smoking, no credit cards, no cameras, no mobile phones, no backpackers”) and all should be fine.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    The Prince Alfred, 5A Formosa Street W9 1EE

    Amid the iced-cake streets of Maida Vale stands this stately and graceful pub with light ironwork and large curved windows. It’s less heavy than many Victorian pubs, with an elegant, airy, atmosphere.

    There are five separate spaces around a central bar, each with its own street entrance and separated from its neighbour by a screen of carved wood and etched glass with low connecting doorways and snob screens.

  • The UK's most beautiful pubs


    Whitelock’s Ale House, Turks Head Yard, LS1 6HB

    All but hidden down an alleyway, it’s long and narrow, almost cosy, but with grand flourishes: there are decorative mirrors, dark wood, and the long main bar is topped in gleaming copper.

    Considerably adapted throughout its 300-year history, the kitchen is happily adjusted to 2014, serving tasty food including mint, broad bean and pearl barley salad, “rare breed hotdog” and smoked haddock rarebit.

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