Traditional comforts of the public house – Sunday roasts, furniture to sink into, board games, and especially an open fire – make them the ideal refuge for a wintery afternoon in London.
Anglesea Arms, South Kensington
A few doors down from Dickens’ old digs, the Anglesea Arms is charmingly Dickensian in itself, with its wood-panelled walls, vintage clocks, and creaky furniture. Grab a table – by the fire, if possible – and tuck into winter warmers like baked Camembert, chicken pie, and sticky toffee pudding.
The Andover Arms, Hammersmith
Andover Arms’ villagey feel does a lot to endear itself to the area’s visitors. Look closer and once you’ve found the hearty food, a friendly pub dog called Albi, and a log fire, it makes the welcome even warmer.
The Old Queen’s Head, Angel
The OQH features a pretty unique 17th century wood-carved fireplace – part of what has earned the building its Grade II status. Should you be less interested in the architecture, note that the kitchen specialises in burgers, brunch, and Sunday roasts from Lucky Chip’s enduringly popular pop-up.
The Southampton Arms, Kentish Town
The Southampton Arms is a perfect example of an old watering hole brought up to speed with modern tastes. Only serving beer from indie breweries like Brew by Numbers, The Kernel, and Wiper & True, this remains one of the best craft beer pubs in London.
Ealing Park Tavern, Ealing
With a spacious beer garden for summer drinking and a roaring fire for chilly winter days, the EPT is truly a pub for all seasons. Pop in for live music on Thursdays or treat the family to a Sunday roast – there’s a kids menu for little foodies and dogs are welcome in the bar area.
The Grapes, Limehouse
One of the city’s oldest pubs is also one of its tiniest (or, if you prefer, ‘cosiest’). Over the years, the open fire towards the back of the pub has likely warmed many famous toes, including those of Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens, and Oscar Wilde.
The Rose, Fulham
The Rose is Fulham’s place to be on any given Sunday. The pub is proud of their Sunday lunches, which have been known to attract the odd few Chelsea FC fans before a home game (Stamford Bridge being a few minutes down the road).
The Duke of Hamilton, Hampstead
At almost 300 years old, The Duke is looking pretty good for its age. Find yourself a fireside spot for a mid-week supper – menu highlights include braised brisket with Cheddar mash, mussels in creamy cider sauce, and plum crumble.
The Gun, Docklands
At this Docklands pub, servers will tell you to keep your eye on the adjacent Thames for a glimpse of Sammy the seal. Sunday roasts here are some of the best in the city, but there are plenty of leather wingbacks to melt into if you’re not in the mind to eat.
Blythe Hill Tavern, Forest Hill
At the foot of Blythe Hill Fields is the CAMRA award-winning Blythe Hill Tavern. A proper lounge pub, cask beer is proudly kept in top condition here. Go on Thursdays and Fridays and find Van Dough’s Citroen H parked up outside, dishing out sourdough pizzas.
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This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.