As the days get shorter in the UK, the snow starts to fall, and the air is biting cold, there’s nothing better than settling into a cozy pub for a pint or two. A pint down the pub is about as British as fish and chips, and when there’s a real fire crackling in the grate it’s the perfect winter warmer. From pubs that are hundreds of years old to modern city bars, the UK has a vibrant and varied pub culture that often includes bar food and cozy rooms for staying over. There are so many beautiful cozy pubs in the UK, it’s tough to choose, but here are 9 of the best to grab a pint in.
1. The Freemasons, Clitheroe, Lancashire
There is a loyal local following and genuine home-from-home atmosphere here at The Freemasons. Flagstone floors, walls in muted heritage colors, antique rugs, and furniture, period paintings, and prints, all unite to create a stylish and comfortable setting. The bar has an excellent selection of traditional cask-conditioned ales from independent breweries and is complemented by a superb cellar with over 250 wines from around the world, meaning you can grab a pint and enjoy the cozy atmosphere, or open a good bottle of wine.
In nearby Clitheroe, you can walk the Tolkien Trail, a 5.5-mile circular trail inspired by J.R.R Tolkien, who loved spending time writing in the Ribble Valley. There are charming historic market towns, scenic nature spots, and the Forest of Bowland and Yorkshire Dales are just a short drive away.
2. The Gannett, St. Ives, Cornwall
The Gannett sits snugly on the hillside above Carbis Bay, with views to the lights of St. Ives to the left, and Godrevy Lighthouse on the right, and the surf below. With 16 cozy and newly refurbished rooms, The Gannet is the ideal place to hunker down this winter, with glorious British food in front of one of its fireplaces. Rooms vary from ‘Cozy,’ ‘Quirky,’ ‘Family’ or the ‘Spot the Gannet’ rooms with stunning sea views. With unusual prints and cool coastal hues, the rooms are designed to give you a unique Gannet experience, where sleepy Gannets can relax and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep after a busy day exploring Cornwall.
A drink by the fire here is very atmospheric, but don’t miss out on the food. The menu has been created by the Rosette winning chef and each dish is made and developed to fit with the kitchen’s home-cooking style which is brimming with locally sourced ingredients from the finest Cornish producers. Consistent with The Gannet Inn’s quirky yet stylish room interiors, guests can cozy up in leather armchairs and soft velvet sofas before moving into the main dining room.
3. The One O’Clock Gun, Liverpool, Merseyside
The One O’Clock Gun is an independent pub nestled in the heart of Liverpool at the Royal Albert Dock. It was named in honor of the dockside gun which was fired at 1 p.m. every day, signaling the start of lunch for city workers. Bringing together all that’s best about old-fashioned hospitality, a great drink offering, and the perfect pub grub, The One O’Clock Gun is on a mission to be the most welcoming and inclusive pub in the city. A collaboration with Liverpool’s Carnival Brewery has created a house Pale Ale, served alongside draught Guinness, wine on tap, and an imaginative cocktail list. It also specializes in simple, honest food, including pies, snacks, and sandwiches.
If you like it a bit more lively, there’s live music at The Gun 4 days a week. Or you can relax and enjoy a range of newspapers and magazines while you sit back and bathe in the warm welcome.
4. Fish Inn, Ringwood, Hampshire
Sitting on the banks of the River Avon, the Fish Inn is a traditional 16th-century inn, complete with an old thatched roof. You can settle in for a pint beneath the warped wooden beams, cozying up by the log burners, and just soak in the atmosphere in this rustic old pub. This is an authentic English country pub and you’ll find a wide selection of good beers behind the bar, including real ales, craft beers, and lagers, making it the perfect place for a pint in the warmth. The kitchen also serves locally sourced and seasonal dishes, mainly pub food classics, which are comforting and warming.
5. The Swan Inn, Rowberrow, Somerset
This 17th-century, Grade II-listed pub is much loved by walkers in the area, locals, and visitors. You can take your dog in and enjoy a pint by the log burner, admire the exposed brick of these old walls, try an award-winning Butcombe beer and sample some of the food from the bar menu. Don’t miss the flatbread pizzas cooking in the bar’s pizza oven. You can also stay over for the night. The Swan Inn has converted the barns into dog-friendly rooms, or you can stay in one of the five rooms above the pub.
This is a very old inn and, as such, parts of the building aren’t accessible for anyone with mobility issues. If you can’t get upstairs but want to stay over, ask for the accessible barn room.
6. The White Hart, Wroughton, Wiltshire
The White Hart is a Grade II listed pub, originally built in the 19th century, and boasting rustic features like its stunning sloping thatched roof and its large exposed stone fireplace, now has a modern log burner installed to keep everyone warm and cozy. There’s a traditional local pub atmosphere here and you’ll find the locals sitting at the bar next to visitors from all corners of the country. Locals love this pub, but it also has 10 rooms, so you can stay over and make a longer trip of your visit.
Take a trip out to Highclere Castle, better known as Downton Abbey. Feel like aristocracy as you take a wander through the rooms you’ve seen on TV in the popular period show. You can spend the day here, there’s so much to see, and it’s an amazing feeling to be inside the building where the show was filmed.
7. The Jolly Cricketers, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
This cozy old pub has been here since 1850 and it’s still a favorite with locals and visitors. The Jolly Cricketers is a traditional old pub with a good selection of beers and hearty bar food, but you can also call in earlier in the day for a coffee, brunch, and even for breakfast. The Jolly Cricketers is cozy and welcoming no matter what time it is.
8. Fox And Hounds, Ainthorpe, North Yorkshire Moors
The Fox & Hounds Inn at Ainthorpe near Danby is a 16th-century inn that sticks to its pub roots with a great bar area complete with log fires and traditional cask-conditioned Yorkshire real ale. The pub’s location makes it a great place to savor a pint while stepping outside to look up at the stars in the pristine night sky. The sky is so clear here at night, the pub owners will provide guests with binoculars, special night torches, and a map of the night sky to help with some impromptu stargazing.
9. The Felin Fach Griffin, Felin Fach, Wales
There’s something quite seductive about The Felin Fach Griffin. It’s relaxing and offers delicious food, cozy bedrooms, and affordable prices. It also benefits from limited mobile-phone reception, Wi-Fi in the bar only, and no televisions in the bedrooms, so you can really get away from it all. In the restaurant, diners can choose to eat either in the cozy Library Room, the quirky Tack Room, or at the larger tables in the Aga Room, before enjoying a drink in The Griffin pub where it’s extra cozy. The seasonal menu emphasizes locally sourced produce, and the daily cooked “Borders” breakfast includes fruit from the kitchen garden, apple juice from the nearby Usk Valley, and homemade soda bread.
The hotel is located in the heart of the Brecon Beacons National Park, which was granted the prestigious status of an International Dark Sky Reserve, so plenty of time for a little stargazing on a good crisp evening. The Griffin is also an ideal base for walkers wanting to explore this spectacular region as well as for enjoying the nature and wildlife of the area.
The UK has some cozy pubs and some quaint inns to add some romance to your holidays: