The 100 cosiest pubs in Britain—
What makes a cosy pub? For us, it’s one with a roaring fire, comfy nooks to dwell in, ideally dogs welcome, great grub and a carefully chosen gathering of ales and wines. We’ve collected 100 of our favourites, places that fill us with delight – and we hope you enjoy these gems too. Cheers!
London and the South East
1. The Dove, Hammersmith, London (19 Upper Mall, Hammersmith, London W6)
This riverside beauty is in Guinness World Records for having the smallest bar room in the world. It’s a Fuller’s pub, so has the usual well-kept Pride and ESB on tap, and decent food too.
What I’m eating: South Coast lamb shepherd’s pie, £14.50.
2. Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, Farringdon, London (1 Ely Court, Ely Pl, London EC1)
Hidden away down a tiny Hatton Garden alleyway, Ye Olde Mitre was established in 1546. Queen Elizabeth I was said to have danced around the cherry tree at the front with Sir Christopher Hatton. The bars are wood-panelled, the whole pub infused with the froth-topped spirit of a few centuries of serious toping.
What I’m eating Honey-glazed ham and cheese toastie, £2.10.
3. The Anglesea Arms, Hammersmith, London (35 Wingate Road, Hammersmith, London W6)
A London stalwart, with roaring fires in winter, a terrace for warmer months and a love of dogs. The food is cracking – modern European with the lightest of touches. Damned good Sunday roast too. Perfect for a swift half or a long Saturday session.
What I’m eating Fresh pappardelle with beef ragu, £9.
4. The Golden Heart, Spitalfields, London (110 Commercial St, London E1)
There may be Tracey Emin artworks scattered about, but this pub is all about Sandra Esquilent, the magnificent landlady who was in charge for nearly 40 years. Beautiful wooden bar? Yup. Wonderful back room with a jukebox? Hell, yeah. And all manner of regulars, from chefs and artists to City types and tourists. Don’t expect cocktails or sharing plates, just good beers and well-priced wines.
What I’m eating It’s not that kind of pub. I’m sticking to crisps!
5. The King’s Arms, Oxford (40 Holywell St, Oxford OX1 3SP)
Lots of well-kept cask ales, good pies, plus wooden beams, bar and floor at the oldest pub in Oxford, which even has a resident ghost.
What I’m eating Chicken pie, £14.50.
6. The Trout Inn, Wolvercote, Oxford
A beautiful 17th-century pub sitting on the Thames, a ten-minute drive outside Oxford. There’s a terrace that looks over the river, with heaters in winter, plus a large selection of decent ales and food. One of those pubs that is as cosy in winter as it is bucolic in summer.
195 Godstow Road, Wolvercote, Oxford OX2 8PN
What I’m eating Salt and Szechuan pepper squid, £6.95.
7. The Blackbird, Newbury, Berkshire (Bagnor, Newbury RG20 8AQ)
It may look like an old-fashioned pub, but since it was taken over by chef Tom Robinson the food has gone up a few notches – it now has a Michelin star. Nothing silly or fancy, just assured modern, seasonal cookery.
What I’m eating Wild sea bass with Bombay potatoes, £30.
8. The Bell Inn, Aldworth, Berkshire (3 Ambury Rd, Aldworth RG8 9TL)
This no-nonsense pub sits in a Grade II-listed building, a former manor house. There’s a wood-burning stove, Arkell’s on tap and generously filled sandwiches and baps. Mobile phones are banned and they don’t take credit cards. And that’s just the way the locals like it.
What I’m eating Crusty bap filled with crab terrine, £3.30.
9. The Dove, Dargate, Kent
The Dove Inn was built in 1872, to replace a much older pub on the same site. It’s a neat, pretty boozer, with a wood-fired stove and a wooden bar serving up various decent Kentish ales. And it has recently had a facelift, as well as a menu revamp.
What I’m eating Rack of Kentish lamb, £34.50 for a two-course dinner.
10. The Three Chimneys, Biddenden, Kent (Hareplain Rd, Biddenden, Ashford TN27 8LW)
A half-timbered boozer that is all low eaves, flagstone floors, hidden nooks and blazing fires. The ales are a mix of local and well known, and the restaurant is garlanded with awards. Serious pub grub.
What I’m eating Cheddar rarebit on toast, £7.95.
11. The Grenadier, Belgravia, London (18 Wilton Row, London SW1)
The pub was originally built as an officers’ mess in 1720. The beer’s great, bar sausages tasty and it’s perhaps most infamous for hosting my stag party in 2002 – a blue plaque is surely due?
What I’m drinking Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, £5.
12. The White Horse, Parsons Green, London (1-3 Parsons Green, London SW6)
Offering beautiful beers with seasonal tap takeovers from cask to craft, this London institution is a must-visit. Long nicknamed The Sloaney Pony, it was a favourite haunt of the Eighties Sloane Ranger.
What I’m drinking Pilsner Urquell, £5.50
13. The Guinea Grill, Mayfair, London (30 Bruton Pl, London W1)
Chef Nathan Richardson has made this iconic London pub the cosy capital for beef. Godfreys butchers has a dry-ageing room dedicated solely to The Guinea Grill, which has been slaking London’s hunger for steaks since 1952. Expect old-school charm with wood panelling as the backdrop to your hearty feast.
What I’m drinking Château de Parenchère Bordeaux Supérieur, £9.95 (175ml).
14. The Spread Eagle, Homerton, London (22 4 Homerton High St, London E9)
The Spread Eagle delivers an entirely vegan offering, from cosy bar to kitchen, fixtures and fittings, creating a modern take on a classic East End boozer.
What I’m drinking Arndorfer Grüner Veltliner, £6.90 (175ml).
15. The Wykeham Arms, Winchester (75 Kingsgate St, Winchester SO23 9PE)
My dad’s old haunt when he was a teacher in the town several centuries ago. Seventy wines, five ales on tap, tasty food and lovely rooms to stay in.
What I’m drinking A pint of Seafarers English ale, £4.
16. The Withies Inn, Compton, Surrey (Withies Ln, Compton, Guildford GU3 1JB)
This pub has the dubious honour of serving me my first (legal) pint on turning 18. In the colder months it feels like stepping into a 16th-century hot-water bottle – warming and historic.
What I’m drinking A pint of Hazy Hog cider, £4.50
17. Lion & Lobster, Hove, East Sussex (24 Sillwood St, Brighton BN1 2PS)
Within striking distance of the seaside, the food is grand with a late-night menu. With the fire flickering, warm yourself from spine to your soul.
What I’m drinking Spanish Ailala-Ailalelo, £28 (bottle).
18. The Ram Inn, Firle, East Sussex (29 The Street, West Firle, Lewes BN8 6NS)
The Ram has been faithfully feeding and watering the village of Firle for 500 years, and with one of Britain’s finest breweries, Burning Sky, a stone’s throw away, you can’t ask for more.
What I’m drinking A pint of Burning Sky Plateau, £4.50.
19. The Jolly Sportsman, East Chiltington, East Sussex (Chapel Ln, East Chiltington, Lewes BN7 3BA)
Probably my favourite pub in Sussex for its cosy sections, excellent cooking and dreamy list of beer, whisky, cider – the whole caboodle. In winter beside the bar’s fire is the place to be, but when the weather is warmer the garden is a gem.
What I’m drinking Lilley’s rhubarb cider, £4.95
20. The Swan, Lewes, East Sussex (30A Southover High St, Lewes BN7 1HU)
Simple, hearty and affordable pub food with good veggie options: a local boozer with soul. Expect the fire to be roaring, games available to be played, dogs welcome and me to be propping up the bar.
What I’m drinking Harvey’s Best Bitter, £3.90.
South west and Wales
21. The Golden Lion, Newport (East St, Newport SA42 0SY)
Crackling fires, local ales, Welsh ciders and whiskies, home-made pork pies, Scotch eggs and soups… The Golden Lion is the perfect base from which to explore this stunning part of the world. They allow dogs too.
What I’m eating Welsh farmer’s platter, £12.95.
22. The King’s Arms, Pentyrch, Cardiff (Church Rd, Pentyrch, Cardiff CF15 9QF)
A traditional longhouse pub in a pretty village on the outskirts of Cardiff. There’s local ale from Brains, a flag-stoned snug, open fires, lime-washed walls and beautiful gardens. Welsh seasonal produce is at the heart of an ever-changing menu. A cosy cracker.
What I’m eating Welsh rarebit, £5.50.
23. The Bell Inn, Selsley, Gloucs (Enderly House, Bell Ln, Selsley, Stroud GL5 5JY)
A classic 16th-century Cotswold boozer with local ales and nearly 100 different kinds of gin. The food ranges from pub classics right through to a decent Sunday roast. If you’re staying, the breakfast is pretty splendid too.
What I’m eating Citrus cake with marmalade ice cream, £6.50.
24. The Red Lion, Cricklade, Wilts (74 High St, Cricklade, Swindon SN6 6DD)
A 16th-century pub with a flower-strewn façade that brews its own beer. You can’t get much more local than that. And they’re good beers too, served up in the sort of pub made to linger in all afternoon. Snack on homemade Scotch eggs and pasties, or get stuck into Wiltshire ham and free-range fried eggs.
What I’m eating Fifteen-hour cider-braised pork belly, £17.
25. The Compasses Inn, Chicksgrove, Wilts (Lower Chicksgrove, Salisbury SP3 6NB)
The Compasses is everything you’d expect from a traditional Wiltshire pub: flagstone walls, wooden beams, inglenook fireplaces… and excellent local ale on tap. The food is far more than a mere afterthought, with good fish and chips, Welsh rarebit, fish pie and whole lemon sole. There’s a good wine list too.
What I’m eating Rare-grilled ox heart with sautéed potatoes, £10.
26. Tucker’s Grave, Faulkland, Somerset (Faulkland, Somerset BA3 5XF)
The ciders (and beers) at this 200-year-old cider house are served straight from the barrel. There’s not even a proper bar. But don’t worry. It’s a magnificent boozer, with Georgian wooden panelling, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and its own skittle alley.
What I’m eating Cheese sandwich, £2.
27. The Elephant’s Nest, Horndon, Devon (Horndon, Mary Tavy, Tavistock PL19 9NQ)
A 16th-century free house with the most wonderful gardens, The Elephant’s Nest sits within Dartmoor National Park, with thick stone walls, two resident dogs, open log fires and the feeling that in here, all is well with the world. There are also local ales on tap, chargrilled South Devon steaks and proper puddings. Oh, and charming rooms in which to sleep off any merry excess.
What I’m eating Fish and chips fried in beef dripping, £16.95.
28. The Woolpack, Slad, Gloucestershire (Slad Road, Stroud GL6 7QA)
This pub has one of the prettiest views in Britain, looking over the luscious Gloucestershire valley made famous by Laurie Lee in Cider With Rosie. This was his boozer too, and it’s a classic. There’s a piano that springs into action most nights, as well as a small bar, a fire and really excellent food.
What I’m eating Cheeseburger, £15.
29. Cornish Arms, Padstow, Cornwall (St Merryn, Padstow PL28 8ND)
A classic Cornish pub, owned by Rick and Jill Stein. The upmarket menu features pies, steaks and scampi, as well as a few classic Stein fish dishes. As you’d expect.
What I’m eating Goan fish curry, £14.95.
30. The Pilchard Inn, Burgh Island, Devon (Burgh Island Hotel, Bigbury-on-Sea, South Devon TQ7 4BG)
If you can devour a view, then this is a 16-course feast. As The Pilchard Inn gazes out over the beach, and the sea beyond. It’s been around for more than 700 years, feeding and watering sailors, scallies and smugglers alike. The beers are good, and the food simple but satisfying.
What I’m eating Pirates pilchards on toast, £5.50.
31. The Felin Fach Griffin, Felinfach, Brecon (Felinfach, Brecon LD3 0UB)
Always book ahead! This is a peach of a pub where fab food is a fanfare for local producers. Beer is impeccably kept and the excellent wines are carefully picked from beyond the beaten track – you can even buy them to take away at retail price. Feast to the brink before being subsumed by the ample sofas.
What I’m drinking Local Welsh fizz from Ancre Hill, £9 (175ml).
32. Warwicks, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire (Tal-y-coed, Abergavenny NP7 8TL)
The blazing fire is glorious in the colder seasons in this traditional country pub. There’s a decent list of beer and cider with several local options from the stunning countryside around. If the beef and Otter Ale pie is on, don’t hesitate – it’s as warming as swallowing a duvet.
What I’m drinking Foncalieu Picpoul de Pinet, £18 (bottle).
33. The Ebrington Arms, Ebrington, Gloucs (May Lane, Ebrington, Chipping Campden GL55 6NH)
With its own Yubby beer, snug luxuriant rooms to stay in and dishes that deliver endless satisfaction, it’s hard to leave this country gem once you step through the door. Beams, firelight, food that celebrates local glory and brilliantly brewed beer – this is among the very best of British pubs.
What I’m drinking Yubby Cotswold Bitter – the beer that belongs here, £3.80
34. Harbourmaster, Aberaeron, Ceredigion (1 Quay Parade, Aberaeron SA46 0BT)
I stayed here while filming The Secret Supper Club for Channel 4, and its enduring charm as an oasis of good taste with a warm welcome has not been forgotten. A decent wine list as well as excellent local seaside produce cooked superbly secures its ongoing reputation.
What I’m drinking Château Lynch Bages 2008, which might seem steep at £120, but it’s worth splashing out for.
35. Highbury Vaults, Bristol (164 St Michael’s Hill, Bristol BS2 8DE)
The atmospheric conditions lie somewhere between Withnail & I and Great Expectations. There are good guest beers dotted around the Young’s range, but my steer is to head for the all £18-a-bottle wine list and sip a glass of glory on Slow Roasted Sunday. The beef brisket is usually marvellous.
What I’m drinking Norton Porteño Malbec, £18 (bottle).
36. Old Green Tree, Bath (12 Green St, Bath BA1 2JZ)
Get to this tiny beer paradise early to grab a seat by the fire – it’s small but perfectly formed. Expect wood panelling and a beer selection to thrill. Try the roast beef sandwich and enjoy conversing with whoever you sit nearest. Blissfully free of distractions, this place is magic in miniature.
What I’m drinking Cask beers are great here – but take advice from the bottle selection too.
37. The Square And Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset (Worth Matravers, Swanage BH19 3LF)
My favourite cider pub in the world. Landlord Charlie Newman’s own cider is absolutely epic and the place itself is magical. The whole snug and mellow vibe feels from another realm. Gorgeous views as well, but go easy on the cider – more than a couple and I have to listen to George Harrison to calm down.
What I’m drinking A pint of Eve’s Idea, Charlie’s medium cider. And then another, £3.60.
38. The Lazy Toad, Brampford Speke, Devon (Brampford Speke, Exeter EX5 5DP)
This Grade II-listed 18th-century inn is all about freshly prepared local food and drink and the menu is delicious. I love feasting here with my mum and dad, a stone’s throw from charming walks down the River Exe. There’s also a splendidly handsome resident dog who seems to have his own portrait on the wall.
What I’m drinking Exeter Brewery Fraid Not, £3.90.
39. Ferry Boat Inn, Helford Passage, Cornwall (Helford Passage, Falmouth TR11 5LB)
Perched on the shore of the North Helford passage, this charming pub entranced me during a stay on the river. Great views beyond the fireside, a farm-to-table approach on food and decent kids’ menu options make this an absolute beauty for a cosy winter session.
What I’m drinking Portuguese house white, £18 (bottle).
40. The Gurnards Head, Near Zennor, Cornwall (Near Zennor, St Ives TR26 3DE)
Jack Stein – son of Rick – recommended this characterful yet cosy pub to me. Well worth the trip to Cornwall’s deep west near Zennor, especially when the wind over the promontory is belching from deep in the Atlantic’s salty belly. The refuge of sheer cosiness and unbeatable cooking is the perfect foil. With locals singing on a Monday, food that chefs love and an intelligently surprising wine list, make the trip to this parallel universe where pleasure rules supreme.
What I’m drinking Klima red wine from Crete, £28.50 (bottle).
Midlands and East Anglia
41. The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham (176 Edmund St, Birmingham B3 2HB)
Named in honour of the British Expeditionary Force of 1914. It’s a worthy tribute, as this grand old city pub has the grandeur of a proper gin palace, with endless gleaming wood and high windows. There are usually half a dozen or more cask ales, as well as a serious selection of sausages and chops.
What I’m eating Barnsley lamb chop, £15.95.
42. The Royal Oak, Whatcote, Warwickshire (2 Upper Farm Barn, Whatcote, Shipston-on-Stour CV36 5EF)
Very much a local pub, albeit a rather smart one. But chef owner Richard Craven is one hell of a chef. Expect game in season, from roe deer tartare to pheasant with snails. Home-made bread comes with dripping butter, and there’s excellent fish too.
What I’m eating Pig’s head and black pudding lasagne, £8.50
43. The Vine Inn, Brierley Hill, West Midlands (10 Delph Rd, Brierley Hill DY5 2TN)
Better known as the Bull and Bladder, this is a proper Black Country pub. Better still, it’s bang next door to Batham’s Brewery, which makes a mild and bitter, two of my favourite beers on Earth. Food, served only in the day, includes pasties, cob rolls, faggots and about half a dozen varieties of scratching.
What I’m eating Homemade pork pie, £1.25 (small)
44. The Crown Inn, Weston, Northamptonshire (2 Helmdon Rd, Weston NN12 8PX)
They say that The Crown was the last place Lord Lucan was ever seen. The inn has been here since the 16th century, and there are good ales, fires and beams, while the decoration is comfortably modern. The food likewise.
What I’m eating Poached fillet of Cornish hake, £21.50.
45. The White Horse, King’s Sutton, South Northamptonshire (2 The Square, King’s Sutton, Banbury OX17 3RF)
Dog-friendly pub with a solid oak bar, blazing fires in winter, good draught ale and even its own gin bar. The food is tip-top too, with the likes of crisp pig’s head with pancetta, local duck breast with duck faggot and a good Sunday roast.
What I’m eating Smoked mackerel Scotch egg, £7.10.
46. The Talbot, Knightwick, Worcestershire (Bromyard Rd, Knightwick, Worcester WR6 5PH)
The Talbot has been looking after punters since the 14th century, and good cheer is soaked deep into its soul. It has all the usual traditional pub charms, plus its own in-house brewery and bakery. Food includes cottage pie, free-range egg and chips and respectable Ploughman’s.
What I’m eating Confit goose millefeuille, £18.
47. The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market, Norfolk (Cromer Rd, Thorpe Market, Norwich NR11 8TZ)
The Gunton Arms sits within a 1,000-acre Norfolk deer park and features a very serious art collection on its walls inluding ing works by Freud, Emin, Hirst and Auerbach. Fire is at the heart of this pub, with the pub’s venison cooked over a vast open hearth, as well as beef from a local herd.
What I’m eating Gunton red deer rump, £20.
48. The Ship, Dunwich, Suffolk (St James’s St, Dunwich, Saxmundham IP17 3DT)
Adnams on tap, a beautiful beer garden, wood-burning stoves and, according to some, the best fish and chips in the country. Don’t miss the local smoked mackerel too, fish pie and the homemade Scotch eggs.
What I’m eating Those famous fish and chips, £13.50.
49. The Black Horse, Thorndon, Suffolk (The Street, Thorndon Eye, Suffolk IP23 7JR)
A classic 17th-century village pub. The type we all dream of having down the road. The village is lovely, dogs are welcome at the bar, draught beer and ales are well kept, and there’s a huge beer garden.
What I’m eating The local steak and kidney pie, £12.95.
50. Duncombe Arms, Ellastone, Staffordshire (Ellastone, Ashbourne DE6 2GZ)
An 1850s inn that has been lovingly restored and is now the warm, beating heart of the village. There are fires and flagstone floors and handsome gardens. The food is a cut above the usual pub grub, while not being overly pretentious. Celeriac soup, chicken, ham and mustard pie and peach melba soufflé. Nice.
What I’m eating Nutmeg custard tart, £7.50.
51. The Wellington, Birmingham (37 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham B2 5SN)
Beer fans! Twenty-seven hand-pulls with eight regular beers, nine guests, six kegs, five traditional ciders and more. I’m a huge fan of Oakham Citra on tap, which was one of the first modern craft hoppy beers to shoot sheer flavour into my face.
What I’m drinking Oakham Citra (£3.90).
52. The Bottle and Glass Inn, Dudley, West Midlands (Tipton Road, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4SQ)
Filming here for Saturday Kitchen felt more like appearing in Time Team. Amazing setting and a historic spit-and-sawdust pub that’s tucked in the Black Country Living Museum, which features in Peaky Blinders. Quite a range of gins here along with its very own beer.
What I’m drinking Black Country Real Ale, £4 (bottle).
53. Firefly, Hereford (16 King St, Hereford HR4 9BX)
This 17th-century pub emerged anew in 2016 serving vegan food and impeccably curated craft beer. A refreshingly modern take on the cosy boozer.
What I’m drinking Ask for a recommendation of their latest craft beer cans. Top selection.
54. Coopers Tavern, Burton-on-Trent, East Staffs (43 Cross St, Burton-on-Trent DE14 1EG)
My first stop filming How Beer Changed The World with Dom Joly. It’s historic and authentic, and the cosy back bar is irresistible. Bass brewers used to come here to taste in this snug pub that was once part of Burton’s mega brewing industry, serving the British Empire. Today the legacy lives on.
What I’m drinking Bass, for the memories, £3.30.
55. The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge, (85-87 Gwydir St, Cambridge CB1 2LG)
The pub I drink in when visiting Cambridge on my Three Wine Men tasting tours, as it lives up to its billing as a traditional pub with modern beer and a real-ale paradise.
What I’m drinking The cider is good but I go for real ale – Animal Brewing’s Hop Kitty is £3.60.
56. The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk (17 The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1BJ)
Britain’s smallest pub, with a bar that’s only 15ft x 7ft, which certainly makes it among the cosiest too. I stumbled on it while filming locally and it’s sobering to think thirst has been slaked here since 1867.
What I’m drinking Greene King Abbot, brewed around the corner.
57. The Golden Fleece, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk (18 The Quay, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1AH)
I come here for the fine food and the views over the harbour. Crabbing on the quay with the kids followed by a feast in this local bull’s-eye is essential. There is a good selection of gin – but rum is the surprise hit in the winter months.
What I’m drinking A glass of Diplomatico rum, £4.75.
58. The Fat Cat Brewery Tap, Norwich (98-100 Lawson Rd, Norwich NR3 4LF)
An excellent beer shrine run by Mark White and his wife Laura Hedley. The award-winning range is outstanding and the cheeseboards are ruddy epic. Make your pilgrimage.
What I’m drinking Dark beer – if it’s on, Titanic Brewery Plum Porter Grand Reserve, £4.
59. The Moon And Mushroom, Swilland, Suffolk (High Rd, Swilland IP6 9LR)
A tucked-away local near my friends Mark & Anna, this Suffolk hideaway is mysteriously alluring. I come here for the real ales – pretty sure it was the venue for my first pint of Wherry brewed over the border in Norfolk.
What I’m drinking Earl Soham’s Victoria Bitter, £3.80.
60. Low House, Laxfield, Suffolk (Gorams Mill Lane, Laxfield IP13 8DW)
Also goes by the name The King’s Head. This dog-friendly pub is as dreamy and mellow as the beers served from its tap room. Since May 2018 it’s been a free house and the beers couldn’t be better looked after.
What I’m drinking Adnams Best, £3.30.
North East and North West
61. The Broad Chare, Newcastle (25 Broad Chare, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3DQ)
Downstairs is a place for a decent pint. House ales are from Wylam Valley, and a local own-label brew. And with the great Terry Laybourne watching over the menu, the food is predictably good. Mince and dumplings, braised oxtail, steak and kidney pudding and chicken, mushroom and bacon pie… and that’s just the daily specials,
What I’m eating toasted Montgomery’s Cheddar and onion sandwich, £4.50
62. Free Trade Inn, Newcastle (12 St Lawrence Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1AP)
The pub may have a wonderful view over the Tyne, but beer is the star here. Mainly local keg and cask ales, with a few guests in too. And some good cider. The jukebox is possibly the best in the country, while there are two beer gardens. The food stretches to good sandwiches and pies, but not much else besides. A true Newcastle gem.
What I’m eating Amble butcher’s pie, £3.50
63. Royal George, Staithes (Cleveland Corner, High St, Staithes, Saltburn-by-the-Sea TS13 5BH)
The Royal George is small but perfectly formed with coal fires, real ales and decent food. And only 100 yards from the sea too. You’ll also find local crab sandwiches, steak and ale pie and decent fish and chips.
What I’m eating crab sandwiches
64. Whitelock’s Ale House, Leeds (Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds LS1 6HB)
Built in 1715, Whitelock’s is the oldest public house in Leeds. And it’s handsome as hell, brimming with late Victorian and Edwardian charm, all stained-glass windows, coal fires, polished wood and pretty mosaics. Twelve cask ales, and two kegs, plus proper pub food.
What I’m eating pork and black pudding Scotch duck egg, £5.50
65. The White Horse Inn (aka ‘Nellies’), Beverley, Yorks (22 Hengate, Beverley HU17 8BN)
The White Horse, better known as ‘Nellies’, was originally a 17th-century coaching inn, it still has gas lights, chandeliers, snugs, stone flagged corridors and open fires. Tables are marble topped, the chairs ancient but padded, and there’s a feeling of a place stuck in a time warp. A good one. The food is nothing to write home about but the Samuel Smith’s draught Old Brewery bitter is cheap and decent.
What I’m eating Decent pub pork pies and sausage rolls
66. Freemasons, Wiswell (8 Vicarage Fold, Wiswell, Clitheroe BB7 9DF)
A mix of country pub and shooting lodge, this Ribble Valley beauty is an award winning pub that melds local with some serious cooking. So there are summer barbecues, Sarsons on the table and ‘chippy teas’ alongside Chef proprietor Steven Smith’s resolutely modern menus. Good beers too, and great value. In the words of Smith, ‘an exceptional dining experience, but without the formality.’ Damned good bitter too.
What I’m eating Smoked wild hare
67. The Circus, Manchester (86 Portland St, Manchester M1 4GX)
The smallest pub in Manchester, with one of the smallest bars in the country. But small doesn’t mean second-rate. Hell no. It’s owned by Tetley’s brewery and there are fireplaces, wooden panelling and sash windows. But not enough room for queuing up at the bar. So it’s table service only for the 45 or so lucky punters who find their way inside.
What I’m eating No food, but a pint of Tetley’s. Obviously.
68. The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire (Main St, Harome, near Helmsley YO62 5JE)
With its thatched roof and timbered ceilings, The Star may seem like your average cosy British pub, but it’s more than that, as chef/patron Andrew Pern holds a Michelin star. It’s just one of pretty much every award going. Expect modern British food with a Yorkshire burr.
What I’m eating Partridge with truffle bread and butter pudding, £21.
69. City Arms, Manchester (46-48 Kennedy St, Manchester M2 4BQ)
Eight hand pulls, mainly local ales, at this cosy two-room pub. But there are leather banquettes, stained-glass windows and the feeling of an old-fashioned boozer. At lunch there’s a menu, but hot pies are available all day. Along with pickled eggs. In a world of chain pubs, The City Arms offers the real thing.
What I’m eating Gammon and egg, £6.75.
70. Philharmonic Dining Rooms, Liverpool (36 Hope St, Liverpool L1 9BX)
Better known as ‘The Phil’, this stunner of a Liverpool city-centre pub sits opposite the Philharmonic Hall. And it’s the most handsome of pubs, with high ceilings, repoussé copper panels, mosaics, mahogany and stained glass. And two smaller, snug rooms named Brahms and Liszt. Geddit?
What I’m eating Gloucester Old Spot sandwich, £6.95.
71. The Drunken Duck, Barngates, Ambleside (Barngates, Ambleside LA22 0NG)
Because of its superb reputation for splendid food, come early for brunch or lunch (which you can’t book for) or book in advance for dinner. This former farmhouse with its Barnsgate microbrewery that names its beers after former pets is known locally as The Duck and has a great sense of refined character. Check the website for tempting seasonal offers to stay.
What I’m drinking Barngates Cracker Ale, £4.
72. Tower Bank Arms, Near Sawrey, Lake District (Near Sawrey, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0LF)
Just in front of Hilltop, Beatrix Potter’s cottage, the sloping roof on this hidden gem is as relaxed as the atmosphere inside. With organic soft drinks and great local beers, your best bet is to grab a table beside the fire and settle in to sample the lot. The pub’s original slate floor is a reminder of its 17th-century roots – and it even features in the Beatrix Potter classic, Jemima Puddleduck!
What I’m drinking Windermere Pale Ale, £3.80.
73. Shoulder of Mutton, Middleton Tyas, North Yorks (Middleton Tyas, Richmond DL10 6QX)
Passing Scotch Corner Services? Dive in here to find a cosy, dog-friendly pub with a seriously tasty steak and ale pie. I spent several happy hours here during the wedding weekend of my mates James and Zoe, and the range of beers served us fabulously. Skip the services, bring the dog and warm up here.
What I’m drinking Black Sheep ale, £3.40.
74. Harrogate Tap, Harrogate, North Yorks (Harrogate Station, Station Parade, Harrogate HG1 1TE)
Leaving beautiful Harrogate is always tinged with sadness. But dropping in to the Harrogate Tap at the station makes it feel all right. You can get there via Platform 1 (or Station Parade) and you really should, for the discreet grandeur of the panelling, curvy leather banquets and huge range of world beers.
What I’m drinking Roosters Baby-Faced Assassin, £4.30.
75. The Blue Lion, East Witton, North Yorks (Main Road, East Witton, Nr Leyburn DL8 4SN)
Log fire, cosy settees, epic food? I’m in. The Blue Lion, a former shooting lodge, is down the road from Masham – home to the Black Sheep brewery, which is well worth a visit. The original sign is still carefully preserved on the front of the pub, which inside has a fun wine list with fairly priced house wines made by prestigious Mas de Daumas Gassac served by the bottle, glass, carafe or even magnum.
What I’m drinking The fine house red, £5.95 (175ml).
76. Fanny’s Ale House, Shipley, Bradford (63 Saltaire Rd, Shipley BD18 3JN)
The nooks and crannies of Fanny’s Ale House are rightly famous and the fires, together with gas lights, warm-coloured walls adorned with pub memorabilia and decent selection of drinks, is the recipe for a no-frills boozer that lifts the spirits. Real ales and cider are both brilliant, but don’t miss their growing selection of craft beers too.
What I’m drinking Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, £3.35.
77. The Craven Arms, Appletreewick, North Yorks (Appletreewick, Wharfedale, Yorkshire Dales BD23 6DA)
Once seen, the heather-thatched cruck (curved timber) barn behind the pub, built in 2006, is never forgotten! Said to be the first cruck to be built since the reign of Henry VIII, it’s the event space for the Craven, and well worth a look. As for the pub itself, gas lighting, real fires and a cellar for cask-conditioning all make it worth the trip to Wharfedale.
What I’m drinking Theakstons Old Peculier, £5.
78. The Blues Bar, Harrogate, North Yorks (4 Montpellier Parade, Harrogate HG1 2TJ)
Not technically a cosy pub, but it’s brilliant so I’m sticking it in anyway. More of a music venue, it’s the warmth of this compact place, together with the decent drinks, that gets my vote. When I was there the band was brilliant, the beer tasted epic and I left grinning like I’d just swallowed summertime.
What I’m drinking Roosters Highway 51, £3.30.
79. Beermoth Café, Manchester (Brown St, Manchester M2 1DA)
Modern and magical, this is one of my favourite places to drink in Britain. Booths are snug, snacks are good, and setting cosiness aside, the beer is among the best-kept and the bottles list is epic. Sourced from around the world with some rare bottles as well as home-grown favourites, this place rightly gets busy – my tip is to head there mid-afternoon. Follow @CB_cellar on Twitter for instant updates of which beers are on and off.
What I’m drinking Crooked Stave St Bretta Pomelo. One of my favourite US breweries – sour, funky and fruity. And worth the hefty price of £14.15!
80. Marble Arch, Manchester (73 Rochdale Rd, Manchester M4 4HY)
I once spent a memorable evening with Oz Clarke drinking in this Grade II-listed Mancunian landmark and we both agreed the beer was special. The original home of the Marble Brewery with nine hand pulls, eight kegs and various ciders, it’s hard to fault the drinks in this characterful refuge. It’s stacked with period features such as the mosaic floor, which contrasts with the open kitchen serving bang-up-to-date cooking. A gem.
What I’m drinking Manchester Bitter, £3.40.
Scotland and Northern Ireland
81. Crosskeys Inn, County Antrim (40 Grange Rd, Toomebridge, Antrim BT41 3QB)
Both Ireland’s oldest thatched pub (it was built in 1654) and famed for its live traditional music, The Crosskeys is an hour from Belfast, and has peat burning fires, good Guinness, endless antiques, sandwiches, steak and even the occasional eel dinner (the critters are caught in nearby Lough Neagh). Settle in for a proper session.
What I’m eating Irish stew, £7.95
82. The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast (46 Great Victoria St, Belfast BT2 7BA)
A glorious Victorian gin palace, this Belfast classic has it all – elaborate tiling, stained glass, mosaic floor and masses of carved wood. But despite its size, The Crown somehow manages to remain cosy. You’ll find well-kept cask ales (Nicholson’s Pale Ale), and, like in all Nicholson’s pubs, decent chops and sausages. But go for the atmosphere, that is as intoxicating as it is inspiring.
What I’m eating Scampi and chips, £9.75
83. Kelly’s Cellar, Belfast (30-32 Bank St, Belfast BT1 1HL)
It might not be the most elegant of Belfast’s many pubs, but Kelly’s Cellars (often known as Smelly Kelly’s), is one of the oldest, built in 1720. The walls are whitewashed, the floors uneven, but there’s an open fire, good ale and usually a singalong or two. Plus it’s a famed music venue, with an ever-revolving cast of guest bands.
What I’m eating the beef stew, £3.95
84. The Copper Dog, Craigellachie, Speyside (Victoria Street, Craigellachie, Speyside, AB38 9SR)
Right in the centre of whisky country, this is the best pub in town, small, with low ceilings and a feeling of genuine hospitality. You’ll find two cask ales, an incredible selection of whisky, some decent cocktails and seriously impressive food. There’s a crackling fire in winter, a sun terrace for the warmer months and the option, if you feel the urge, to visit some of the most famous distilleries on Earth.
What I’m eating Fresh langoustines, £XX
85. The Boat Inn, Aboyne (Charlestown Rd, Aboyne AB34 5EL)
Perched on the banks of the River Dee, in the heart of Royal Deeside, The Bell Inn is an upmarket boozer with very good food. Wood-burning fires, real ales, endless whiskies, stuffed stags’ heads and wood burning stoves. This is Scotland in comfort, but you’re as welcome to stop by for a pint as you are to book in and stay for three days.
What I’m eating Beef and haggis pie, £10
86. The Clachaig Inn, Argyll (Ballachulish PH49 4LA)
Clachaig has been slaking thirsts for over 300 years, and is in the heart of Glencoe. There are three separate bars, with log fires, rough stone floors, cask conditioned ales and more Scotch that you can shake a Sporran at. It’s also famed for its live music, but for a bit of peace with your pint, escape to The Snug. Decent Scottish scran too.
What I’m eating Stornoway Black Pudding, £6.45
87. The Dreel Tavern, Anstruther (16 High St W, Anstruther KY10 3DL)
The Dreel Tavern has been serving Anstruther happily for many years, with its rough stone walls, large fire, cask beer on rotation and lots on draught. Throw in their beautiful beer garden, overlooking the Dreel burn and some decent food, and you have a pub in which you want to linger.
What I’m eating Haggis bon bons in peppercorn sauce, £5
88. The Ship Inn Elie, Fife (The Toft, Elie, Leven KY9 1DT)
A handsome pub with a cricket pitch on the beach in front. Fixtures are tide-dependent. There’s also a terrace overlooking the sand, with barbecues in summer and fires in winter. The bar is filled with real ale and Scottish malts, making this a comfortably upmarket seaside pub.
What I’m eating A bowl of Cullen Skink, £6.95.
89. The Oxford Bar, Edinburgh (8 Young Street, Edinburgh EH2 4JB)
Probably best known for being John Rebus’s favourite Edinburgh boozer, The Ox is a place where locals and Rankin fans drink happily together. It’s long attracted writers and artists, drawn to its small, compartmented rooms and its austere but warm charm. There’s real ale at this classic pub, one entirely unaffected by its international fame.
What I’m eating Nuts and crisps. This place is for boozing, not eating.
90. The Bridge Inn, Ratho, Midlothian (27 Baird Rd, Ratho, Newbridge EH28 8RA)
At The Bridge you’ll find lots of decent Scottish ales, endless whiskies, a crackling fire and homemade pork scratchings. Plus high-end pub grub, using their own pork and vegetables.
What I’m eating Trio of pork, £21.
91. Whites Tavern, Belfast (2-4 Winecellar Entry, Belfast BT1 1QN)
Since 1630 the booze is said to have flowed from this site. It wasn’t that long ago that I swung by after hosting a wine event locally and the range of bottles behind the bar is impressive – especially if whiskey is your thing.
What I’m drinking A large glass of Bushmills Irish whiskey, £3.70.
92. The Lounge, Lerwick, Shetland (4 Mounthooly St, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0BJ)
Top of my list to visit, in part due to my great-great-granny being a Shetlander, but also for the compact lively feel of this legendary lounge. With live music upstairs, the fire is burning and it’s a welcome refuge on a brisk wintry day.
What I’m drinking Lerwick 60 Degrees North beer, £3.80.
93. The Moulin Inn, Pitlochry, Perthshire (11-13 Kirkmichael Rd, Moulin, Pitlochry PH16 5EW)
The doors have been open since 1695, and since 1995 the nearby brewery has been pumping beer. I was struck by the sheer history of the place. It’s all wood and fireplaces with comfortably cushioned seats and the odd flourish of stained glass.
What I’m drinking Ale of Atholl, £3.60.
94. Auchterarder 70, Gleneagles, Perthshire (Auchterarder Perthshire PH3 1NF)
I’m lucky enough to have stayed at Gleneagles before. The Auchterarder 70 bar is a recent development that takes its name from the old phone number for Gleneagles. It overlooks the 18th hole, and inside, the dark wood and leather chairs are cosy and classy, as is the food.
What I’m drinking Auchterarder 70 craft beer, £5.
95. The Bow Bar, Edinburgh (80 West Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2HH)
A stroll down West Bow always makes me feel like celebrating. An essential stop is the Bow Bar with its cheery blue frontage. Inside, cosy and smart, its bar is impeccably laid out. Really interesting beer along with deep drams of whisky make it a must.
What I’m drinking Lagavulin Distillers Edition Pedro Ximénez 16yrs, £11.
96. The Sheep Heid Inn, Edinburgh (43-45 The Causeway, Edinburgh EH15 3QA)
When I was a student in Edinburgh, a stroll to this iconic pub was always a joy. These days the cocktails still look mighty tempting. The allure of the curved bar in the snug setting never fails to charm, and then there’s the old skittle alley…
What I’m drinking Old Fashioned, £9.50.
97. Kay’s Bar, Edinburgh
A tiny, convivial bar on Jamaica Street in Edinburgh’s New Town that specialises in whisky. Sports are on the box if you wish, or tuck into the back room and leaf through ancient copies of Spotlight. The old barrels and red velvet seating are as splendid as the service. 39 Jamaica St, Edinburgh EH3 6HF
What I’m drinking Malt of the Moment, £3.50.
98. The Ben Nevis, Glasgow (1147 Argyle St, Glasgow G3 8TB)
I come here for whisky and I never leave disappointed. Can get very busy but weekdays are calm and splendid for cutting into their excellent list. Stone around the place gives a craggy mountain vibe and the folk sessions are fun if you stumble into one.
What I’m drinking Any whisky bottlings they suggest.
99. The Belle, Glasgow (617 Great Western Rd, Glasgow G12 8HX)
My dear friends Tom and Cathy took me here when they were expecting their first child, and aside from our convivial and celebratory glow, the warm atmosphere of The Belle has stayed with me. A fire burning in winter with good craft beers and a homely feel are good reasons to pop in.
What I’m drinking Easy Trail IPA, £4.60.
100. The Bonnie Badger, Gullane, East Lothian (Main Street, Gullane EH31 2AB)
I’m picking out this Gullane makeover as a future winner. Just open, it’s been refurbished and designed by Tom Kitchin’s wife Michaela. I don’t feel I’m going out on a limb here when I say the food will be ruddy epic.
What I’m drinking Any beer by Harviestoun.