As spirits turn towards the festive, there are few situations that would not be vastly improved by the presence of a roaring fire. Of them all, the pub edges out the competition as the cosiest fireside situation of them all. What’s not to adore about a cosy nook, a glass containing a warming tipple, good company or a book, and a spot by the hearth or wood burner? The only word of warning about the true exemplars of such winter sanctums must be the very real potential of developing an inability to emerge from them and back out into the cold once. This crop of excellent pubs with fireplaces are the ones that we are the most reluctant to leave at last orders.

Sign Of The Angel

Lacock, Wiltshire
Sign Of The Angel

This superbly named 15th-century pub with rooms sits in the picture-perfect village of Lacock, which is held to immaculate period standards by the National Trust. It has two AA rosettes, a menu which features pub classics as well as more ambitious fare, and has every original feature you could ever wish for in a legendarily atmospheric pub. But our favourite thing about it has to be its large open fires, which cry out to cosied up to while nursing a glass of good red. Book a pew here.

The Ram Inn

Firle, Sussex
Cosy Pubs Ram Inn Firle

A trip to the Ram Inn is always a good idea. Beautiful all year round, it comes into its own in the winter when its two fireplaces are permanently roaring and the dark, cosseting colours pull you in for hours at a time – if you can get a table, that is. In the exceptionally pretty village of Firle, those who chose to come by public transport have a half an hour walk from the station at Glynde. Yet the atmospheric rural roads, with Firle Beacon in the distance, make the walk worth doing – as well as appetite building. Many of the kitchen’s ingredients come from the neighbouring Firle Estate (which is open at various points in the year). And if you fancy walking off your lunch, there’s always the Beacon to tackle, for those who like a good uphill climb. Book a pew here and check out our full guide to East Sussex here.

Gunton Arms

North Norfolk

The Gunton Arms has been a legend among the good folk of north Norfolk since it opened in 2011, as well as among in-the-know circles from further afield. With interiors by the late, great Robert Kime, ingredient-led food by ex-Mark Hix chefs Stuart and Simone Tattersall (venison comes from the Gunton Estate and the famous Cromer crab and local seafood is made much of), and artworks by Tracey Emin, among others, it’s easy to understand the appeal. The enormous fireplace in the Elk Room is hard to beat; do try and bag a table close to it to bask it in its warmth and atmosphere. Book a pew here and check out our full guide to north Norfolk here.

The Suffield Arms

North Norfolk

Ivor Braka is the brains behind The Gunton Arms, and last year, he delighted its many devotees by opening a second pub, also in Gunton. The Suffield Arms features a saloon bar, which is all red, brooding and inviting, an airier tapas bar in which to sample the excellent food, and a main bar, where you can get snug with a good pint of local ale right by the fireplace. Just like its sister pub, it is also awash with a wonderfully eclectic collection of original artworks. The perfect new addition to this corner of the world. Book a pew here.

The Perch


The Perch is one of those pubs in the happy position of being both glorious in the summer – when its large, river-facing garden is a joy – and in the winter, when it feels like there’s no more heavenly place to sit in all the world than by the fire in its bar. It has the feel of a classic country pub, whilst only being a short stroll across Port Meadow (where wild horses roam) from the city. The food, too, happens to be sublime – especially when eaten next to the fire. Book a pew here and check out our full guide to Oxfordshire here.

The Jerusalem Tavern

Clerkenwell, London

This higgeldy-piggedly Clerkenwell boozer looks like it has been in-situ since Dickens’ day. In truth, it has only operated as a pub since the 1990s, under the auspices of the Suffolk-based St Peter’s Brewery. We love everything about it, and not least its fireside. Just the sort of place where one should gather in the snow to huddle with a drink in hand while delivering a rousing rendition of ‘God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.’ Book a pew here.

The Wykeham Arms

Winchester, Hampshire
Wykeham Arms - Winchester

The winner of The Good Pub Guide's Town Pub Of The Year in 2018, The Wykeham Arms is legend among pub dwellers. Full of cosy nooks and crannies, its pews are old school desks from the famous school opposite, while its food is excellent too, thanks to chef Luke Emmess, a 2022 Roux Scholarship semi-finalist. Do try the famous Wyk pie – and if you think you won’t be able to rouse yourself to leave at the end of the night, why not book a room upstairs? Book a pew here and check out our full guide to Hampshire here.

The Gurnard’s Head

Zennor, Cornwall

The Gurnard’s Head, on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast, is beautifully situated by the sea. Where better, then, to head after a bracing coastal walk than to its fireside, where you can refuel courtesy of its excellent daily-changing menu? Don’t want to leave? No problem. There are a handful of lovely rooms upstairs that guests can repair to. Book a pew here and check out our full guide to Devon and Cornwall here.

The Felin Fach Griffin

Brecon, Wales

‘The simple things in life done well.’ That is the shared motto of The Gurnard’s Head’s Welsh sister pub with rooms, The Felin Fach Griffin. It is an apt maxim for both places; for what could be simpler or better than excellent ingredients cooked well and served up by the fire? Book a pew here and check out our full guide to Wales here.

The York Tap


York abounds with exemplary watering holes, one of our favourites of which must be the wonderfully named House of Trembling Madness. And yet one of the most welcome propositions of all is the York Tap, which greets visitors as they disembark the train, beckoning them in for something fortifying after a long journey. Specialists in craft beer, we’re here as much for the lovingly restored Edwardian interior, complete with tiled fireplace and coal fire. Cosy central. Book a pew here and check out our full guide to York here.

The Holly Bush

Hampstead, London
The Holly Bush

This cosy warren of a pub in Hampstead is the place for a post Heath dram. In fact, it was made for winter. Come. Stare someone out until you get a fireside spot. Don’t leave until closing time. Book a pew here.

By Nancy Alsop
Updated November 2023