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Autumn in London's Pubs

 

As the luxuriant green of an English summer fades into rich chocolate, coffee and auburn mounds of leaves, and the days hastily shorten, the doors of London's pubs open welcomingly to summon you inwards. Visiting London and not allocating some time to get acquainted with the city’s hostelries would be like visiting Egypt and avoiding the Pyramids. Squeeze up by the bar to natter with the locals or find a snug alcove to take over with your friends. This is an autumn pursuit that nowhere else in the world can quite compete with.

 
Never short on atmosphere, Britain’s pubs have, however, been roundly – and deservedly - criticised for serving up inedible food. Thankfully, this is now a thing of the past; the rise and rise of the gastropub has introduced restaurant quality dining in a more informal setting. Pubs are no longer the reserve of men, smoke and darts (though they haven’t been eradicated completely). Nowadays you can sip a white wine spritzer, your friend a sturdy pint of ale, watch the football, soak in a tastefully decorated interior and eat a delicious meal all under one roof.
 
Not only that, multicultural London serves up such a varied menu. You’ll see typical British standards sitting at ease alongside world cuisine; hearty steak and kidney pies now compete comfortably for table space with sizzling bowls of Pad Thai.
 
You’ll love spending some autumn time inside these cosy, historic strongholds of British culture especially now they’ve evolved; jazzed up, welcoming to all, serving some great food.

 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

The George Inn

Borough High Street, Southwark, SE1
Once upon a time, Borough High Street - leading up to London Bridge from Canterbury - had gangs of coaching inns crowded on either side. The George Inn is all that remains of these traditional stop-offs for pilgrims, merchants and travellers. It nearly disappeared too when the Great Northern Railway demolished part of it to make way for a depot around the turn of last century.
 
Now in the safe hands of the National Trust, a small slice of history has been salvaged. The current building dates back to 1676 when it was rebuilt following a fire. Safe from the chilly autumn air, you’ll feel snug tucked away under the mass of oak beams, peering out of the latticed windows. From outside in the cobbled courtyard, look up at the charming olde-worlde galleries.
 
The traditional food they serve tallies perfectly with the setting. You’ll not be disappointed with their battered cod and chips or the succulent steak and kidney pies.  It’s surrounded by plenty of office buildings, so it’s often packed out which means there’s always a cheery, busy mood. If you want to get a table, the best time to visit is during the afternoon. Sip yourself back in time over a pint of traditional ale at this islet of history.
 
 
The George Inn - Information  | Hotels near The George Inn
 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

The Flask

77 Highgate West Hill, N6
One of the villages lost to London’s urban sprawl, Highgate does at least retain a modicum of rustic charm, community atmosphere and a fine local pub. The beautiful building is one of the village’s oldest and dates back to the early 18th century. Through the low doorway, over the ancient wooden floorboards, into the various interconnected bars; the Flask is as cosy as they get. It might not be as antiquated as it once was – sturdy wooden tables and chairs have given way to more contemporary low tables, leather sofas and poufs – but it still has a pleasant, age-old air about it.
 
The menu has a tasty gastro stab at all the time-honoured classics – be it a Sunday roast, a full English breakfast (available on Saturday mornings) or their hugely popular barbeques. There’s a generous selection of real ale and Belgian beer on offer from the bar. The wild expanse of Hampstead Heathand the curious graves of Highgate Cemeteryare both just a short walk away. So, if you fancy a bit of village ambience but don’t want to travel miles to get it, why not jump on the tube to north London’s next best thing?
 

 
The Flask - Information  | Hotels near The Flask
 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

The Cove

1 The Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E
Overlooking Covent Garden Piazza, The Cove is a world away from the crowds outside. Tucked up in a worn, leather armchair under the pub’s low, beamed ceiling you’ll feel like you might be relaxing in a country pub. And that’s exactly the idea: this Cornish theme pub wants to whisk you away to the depths of the South West. Vitally - as well as importing the décor - they seem to have created that authentic, stress-free ambience slap-bang in the middle of London.
 
Finding the pub can be a little tricky - you have to walk through the Cornish pasty shop below - but the advantages are two-fold. It doesn’t get as crowded as other nearby watering holes and you can order up a hearty pasty from down below whenever you want. The bar is stocked with all the usual fare, not to mention a fine wine list and an appetising selection of Cornish ales. The Cove – as its name suggests - is a sheltered haven, a perfect place to unwind after a hectic day’s shopping in Covent Garden.
 
 
The Cove - Information  | Hotels near The Cove
 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

Hemingford Arms

158 Hemingford Road, Islington, N1
Tucked away in the sleepy back streets, the Hemingford isn’t screaming at customers “come, drink here!” - it doesn’t need to. This place already has a shining reputation with locals and knowledgeable visitors alike.
 
Dangling from the ceiling, draped across the walls, in just about every conceivable location, is an endless menagerie of oddities; the antiquated instruments, old oak chests, and film posters spark an interest in all who visit. This is a long-established pub which tries to maintain that friendly, community atmosphere.
 
Music can be heard seeping out of the doors and windows on a regular basis - the Monday night Bluegrass sessions are particularly popular. Your thirst can be quenched with the usual range of generic beverages as well as a reasonable assortment of bitters. At lunchtime they offer an assortment of traditional British food, but we recommend waiting till the evening to sample their delicious Thai menu.
 


Hemingford Arms - Information  | Hotels near Hemingford Arms
 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

The White Swan

26 Old Palace Lane, Richmond, TW9
Emulating its flesh and blood namesakes, The White Swan sits perched on the north bank of the Thames. Built in the 17th century, it’s seen a great deal of history float past, be it on royal barges or merchants' vessels. The river regularly bursts its banks at this point which is why the pub is raised up, although it’s suffered flooding on many occasions in the past.
 
It’s got plenty of neat antique touches; pace across the bare wooden floors and tuck yourself into the shelter of the deeply recessed bay windows after you’ve bought a drink from the diminutive L-shaped bar. If tummies are rumbling you can mount the stairs to the small restaurant, serving a deliciously varied menu which changes from day to day.
 
After an exhausting wander around the leafy tracts of Richmond Park replenish yourself at this conveniently placed and consistently excellent public house.
 
 
The White Swan - Information  | Hotels near The White Swan
 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

The Windsor Castle

114 Campden Hill Road, Notting Hill, W8
Tradition, tradition, tradition! As the colder months draw in The Windsor Castle prepares in the most time-honoured of ways. Pull up a stool next to the open fire and sip from a piping glass of mulled wine. Folk have been warming up around the fireplaces here since 1835 and this year will be no exception.
 
The view has long been obscured, but when the pub was built you could reputedly see Windsor Castle on the horizon, 20 miles distant. The tiny doors chopped into the wooden panelling separating the three bars, add to the cosy, warm ambience of the place. They also make manoeuvring around the pub armed with pints of lager an amusing and entertaining past-time. 
 
The menu is diverse but the focus is on British cuisine. Their selection of sausages (served with mash and gravy) is particularly noteworthy; the venison and wild boar and apple varieties taste like they’ve just wiggled out of one of the capital’s finest butchers. They do a good line in oysters too.
 
 
The Windsor Castle - Information  | Hotels near The Windsor Castle
 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

The Elk in the Woods

39 Camden Passage, Islington, N1
This is more of a restaurant than a pubs, but there’s no problem if you fancy stopping by for just a drink. It’s certainly off the beaten track but just not very far. Duck down an alley away from the humming milieu of Upper Street and you’ll suddenly be in the calm of Camden Passage and its delightful book and antique shops.
 
The Elk maintains a subtle Scandinavian theme throughout, offering a compendium of Nordic liquors and cooking up some excellent meat balls, but it is by no means a theme pub. With such attentive staff you can’t go wrong with a meal here in the warm. The interior is done out in a fashionable retro-chic design with beaten up leather, wooden panels and a cast concrete bar. One thing’s certain; it won’t remain one of Islington’s best kept secrets for long.
 
   

The Elk in the Woods - Information  | Hotels near The Elk in the Woods
 
 
Autumn in London's Pubs

The Black Lion

274 Kilburn High Road, Kilburn, NW6
Once a grubby, nicotine-stained, Guinness-soaked boozer, a tidy refit has breathed new life into the attractive Victorian frame we all thought had been abandoned to decay. Kilburn has been jealous of trendy, next-door West Hampstead for sometime but now, finally, it has been dosed with an injection of style and this looks to be just the beginning. 
 
Located directly opposite the renowned Tricycle Cinema, The Black Lion offers a range of relaxing potential. Spread out on one of the numerous, large, spacious tables or curl up like a purring pussy in front of the fire in one of the strangely-shaped armchairs.
 
Like most newly renovated pubs in London a ‘gastro’ menu is available which means they pay a bit more attention to the food. They serve a selection of upgraded traditional standards with a twist.
 
 
The Black Lion - Information  | Hotels near The Black Lion

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