8 top Hertfordshire cosy pubs to visit this winter
PUBLISHED: 14:24 26 November 2015 | UPDATED: 09:30 10 February 2017
Warm fires, local ales and a warm atmosphere. These are the things that make for the cosiest times. Find out where you can find all these things and more this winter with our Hertfordshire pubs guide.
The Sun at Northaw, Northaw
This charming 16th century pub benefits from a beautiful setting, opposite a stunning Victorian Church on the village green in the picturesque Hertfordshire village of Northaw. The delightfully vintage sepia décor of antique mirrors, clocks and mismatched wooden tables and chairs are balanced off by big boxes of vibrant, fresh vegetables dotted around the main room, where you’ll also find the stunning stained glass decorated curved bar, which offers a wide selection of beers, ciders and real ales. Diners are spoilt for choice with two renovated dining rooms, and a menu that changes daily to reflect ingredients that are in season. Warm up in front of the fire place as head chef Oliver prepares your food cooked using only locally sourced ingredients.
The Cowper Arms, Hertford
According to records dating from the 18th century, the Cowper Arms was formally used as a den for bull-baiting; thankfully it’s a much more civil establishment now, but with a rich history as diverse as their exquisite menu, it’s the ideal place to taste some beautiful food this winter, as well as a bit of Hertforshire history.
The Bricklayers Arms, Flaunden
With its low oak beams, brick bar and real log fire, the Bricklayers Arms is the ideal antidote to a chilly winter’s evening. An establishment with a rich history, this 18th century, Grade II listed building lies on the doorstep of the stunning rolling hills of the Chess Valley, and is ideal for those seeking an alcoholic palliative to warm themselves in Hertfordshire’s beautiful countryside. However with Michelin trained Chef Claude Paillet and his team in the kitchen, it may be hard to resist the food.
The Alford Arms, Hemel Hempstead
Nestled in the secluded wooden valley of the Ashridge Forest estate, the Alford Arms is the perfect rest stop for weary winter ramblers to warm their cockles on a long winters walk, with dogs, children and muddy boots all welcome. The quaint, rustic charm of the place is completed by the tasteful Zoffany fabric decoration and antique furniture. To drink there’s a wide selection of classy European wines, a choice of classic cocktails and of course, beer; they run at least three real ales at all times including brews from the local award-winning Chiltern Brewery and Tring Brewer. If it’s food you’re after then count yourself lucky if you stumble upon the Alford Arms, the establishment won the prestigious Times ‘Gastropub of the Year 2013’ and was recently named Hertfordshire Dining Pub of the Year 2015.
The Rising Sun, Berkhamsted
Known affectionately by Berkhamstead locals as ‘The Riser’, and with the picture-perfect Grand Union Canal brooding on its doorstep, this historic boozer could well become your new favourite pub. If you’re looking for a fun activity now the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder, pop in on most nights of the week and you’ll find something on at the Riser. Whether its plays and poetry, the pub quiz, or their famous cheese nights you won’t be disappointed.
The Holly Bush, St Albans
Quietly tucked away from the hustle and bustle of central St Albans, The Holly Bush is a beautiful 17th century pub steeped in history and ancient charm. An establishment that has been family run for over a third of a century, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a Tolkien novel as you step inside and see the low ceiling, wooden beams and beautiful antique furniture. This is a pub with real character and charm: the perfect place to sit in front of the roaring log fire and enjoy a winter warmer.
The Waggoners, Welwyn
Nestled in the small hamlet of Ayot Green just outside of Welwyn lies The Waggoners, a pub steeped in rich history dating back to the 1600s. It was originally a coaching inn, however has always served food and drink and hasn’t changed its purpose since the 17th century. Fast forward 400 years and the Waggoners is owned and operated by French couple Aude and Laurent Brydniak, giving the place an incredibly dichotomous feel; a traditional English pub serving unique and beautiful French fusion food with influences from all over the world, ideal if you fancy a night away from the kitchen this winter.
The Farmers Boy, Brickendon
The Farmers Boy lays at the heart of the small village of Brickendon, and is the perfect location for a spot of respite on a winters stroll through Hertford’s ancient woodland walks, and is popular among families, walkers, cyclists and locals alike. A pub that runs events throughout the whole year, make sure you head there over the Christmas period with karaoke & fancy dress on December 4th, a Christmas market on the 12th and 13th, wine tasting on the 16th, and on December 18th, prepare to get your Handbags & Gladrags out as Rod Stewart tribute act Greg Dorell rocks the Farmers.