Crackling fires, seats you can sink into and plenty of comfort food - this is what a good cosy pub is all about.
There are lots of cosy pubs in London but here are just some of our favourites. So grab a drink, order the pie and mash and settle in.
The Holly Bush
Find a cosy bolthole at The Holly Bush, which fits perfectly into the quaint Hampstead village it calls home: an open fire, stripped wood floors, excellent ales and amazing Sunday roast lunches. Lose yourself for a long afternoon, and don’t be shy about saying hello. Or reward yourself with a cool tipple after a walk on nearby Hampstead Heath.
The Star Tavern
Get toasty by the open fire, play board games and tuck into a steak and kidney pie. Those are just some of the attractions in this warm and welcoming Belgravia landmark. Said to be the haunt where the great train robbers planned their heist; nowadays it’s better known for Fullers beers and excellent food.
Ye Olde Mitre Tavern
Brush up on your history at this pub once frequented by Queen Elizabeth I. It’s a bit tricky to find this Holborn Circus spot, which has housed a pub for more than 500 years, but it's well worth the effort for its winding maze of intimate rooms to hole up in with friends. It's location in Ely Court means it's technically part of the Diocese of Ely, in Cambridgeshire, but it's very much a London institution.
The Nags Head
Snuggle up at this Knightsbridge pub that has been the favourite drinking spot of celebrities and locals for a few generations. It maintains its reputation of a friendly welcome and – unusually for a London pub – here’s a ban on using a mobile phone, which helps to keep things quiet so you can focus on the Adnam’s beers on tap.
The Angelsea Arms
Fight the urge to head straight for the riverside pubs in Hammersmith and you will be rewarded with The Anglesea Arms, a cosy pub tucked away just outside the green space of Ravenscourt Park. The wood-panelled bar gives it the requisite cosy feel, as well as a warming fire, a traditional menu and six rotating Real Ale pumps.
Find all the traditional must-haves of a cosy pub at the William IV. This Hoxton spot offers everything from a real fire, real ales, board games and newspapers, to Sunday roasts and comfy chairs. But, this being the East End, you can also get a craft beer and brunch at the weekends.
The Spaniards Inn
Shake the dew off your boots after a walk in Hampstead Heath at this perfect pit stop. A well-known name in an area with plenty of gastropubs, The Spaniards Inn counts literary royalty as ex-locals, including Dickens and Keats. Sunday lunches are well regarded here and beer matching is taken seriously.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Step back in time at Fleet Street institution, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Dating back to the 16th century, it's welcomed Charles Dickens, Dr Johnson, Alfred Tennyson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who have each raised a glass under its roof. As you would expect for a pub this old it's small and cosy, with an open fire making it something of a time warp. The added bonus is that the prices are nice and old-fashioned, as the pub is run by the independent Samuel Smith brewery.
The Southampton Arms
Spot the sign outside reading "ale, cider, meat" and you'll quickly get an idea of what this cosy pub is about. The Southampton Arms is a truly old fashioned pub, with a wood-burning fire, cash-only policy, 18 hand-pulled ales and ciders, and even a pub dog and two pub cats.
Get here early to grab a coveted fireside sofa spot at this mainstay of Tooting in south London, The Antelope. There are eight hand pumps with a rotating selection of regional and locally sourced real ales and the food has a European twist (but they still serve a mean Sunday roast). The interior is an eclectic mix of church-pew seating, wood panelling and stained glass windows, all while still attracting a young, trendy crowd.
The White Horse
Mix with the "in" crowd at this favourite of the well-to-do Chelsea and Fulham set. This cosy pub is the whole package with an always impressive selection of real ales, good food, roaring fires and Chesterfield sofas. Expect a posh crowd in a pub that has earned the nickname “The Sloaney Pony” over the years.
Beat the winter boredom at The Dove on Broadway Market, where board games, British micro-brews and Belgian beers are the order of the day. Food covers all the classics, from fish and chips to British-sourced burgers and legendary Sunday roasts.
The George Inn
Former coaching house The George Inn is the only National Trust-owned pub, and it’s a good one to have. Tucked away down an alley near London Bridge, this sprawling pub maintains its rustic beams, beautiful gallery and cosy interior. The courtyard area also has heaters and old-fashioned lamps to cater for the often heaving crowd of drinkers.
The Lass O' Richmond Hill
Warm up after a walk through Richmond Park with a beer or plate of warming food in front of The Lass O’ Richmond Hill’s roaring fire. What could be better? Snuggle up in this locals’ favourite perched at the top of the hill, moments from the park and sweeping views of the Thames that were famously captured by JMW Turner.
The Leather Bottle
Cosy up in the winter terrace of this west London pub, where in the winter, the BBQ is retired and the massive beer garden is kept nicely heated. The food at The Leather Bottle is well sourced and Youngs provide the ales.
Take a walk among the deer in Richmond Park, then stop for lunch in this gorgeous East Sheen pub - you won’t feel like you are in London at all. The Plough maintains its traditional 18th-century inn look and there are open fires and British ales to enjoy inside.