10 cosy pubs in Hertfordshire

The Holly Bush, Potters Crouch (photo: Tomas Svenka)

The Holly Bush, Potters Crouch (photo: Tomas Svenka) - Credit: Archant

Open fires, hearty food, local ales and a welcoming 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 Bricklayers Arms

Hogpits Bottom, Flaunden, Hemel Hempstead

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.

With Michelin trained Chef Claude Paillet and his team in the kitchen, it may be hard to resist ordering some food as well. After all, it has been awarded 'Hertfordshire Dining Pub of the Year' by the 2020 Good Pub Guide.

- The Alford Arms

Frithsden, Hemel Hempstead

Nestled in the secluded wooded 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 boast 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 named Hertfordshire Dining Pub of the Year 2015.

- The Rising Sun

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George Street, 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 during the week and you'll usually 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

Potters Crouch Lane, 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

Brickwall Close, Ayot Green, 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

1 Brickendon Lane, Brickendon, Hertford

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 over during the colder months for plenty of quizzes, live music performances and Christmas activities.

- Old Cross Tavern

8 St Andrews Street, Hertford

With the aim of creating a pub as they 'used to be', the Old Cross Tavern in Hertford encourages conversation as it's devoid of televisions and games machines. This is particularly welcoming when you're huddling together during the colder months.

Real ale features heavily at the Old Cross, with up to eight different ales at any one time. There's even an onsite brewery with beers often found on taps. So order something new and settle in for the evening.

- The White Hart

2 Prospect Place, Welwyn

With a long history spanning all the way back to the late 17th century, The White Hart is the former coaching inn that serves a varied menu of dishes which include lots of wintry offerings at this time of year.

Enjoy your food alongside real ales or handpicked wines in the cosy pub with period features such as traditional cast iron windows, timber frames and a red brick fireplace.

- Dylans at Kings Arms

7 George Street, St Albans

Although its interior design is stylish, Dylans at the Kings Arms in St Albans remains a cosy spot to enjoy a drink alongside creative pub fare. The seasonally changing menus are augmented in the autumn and winter months to reflect the freshest bounty from local producers. Try the Tomahawk sharing steak for two which is garnished with festive trimmings at this time of year.

The "beer wall" is the daily changing selection of beers, real ales and ciders on offer, heavily representing local breweries but also introducing new faces to try out.

- Rose and Crown

24 High Street, Sandridge, St Albans

This friendly village pub has stood in Sandridge for over 400 years, serving ales to thirsty patrons. Nowadays, well kept cask ales and beers from all over the world are available alongside tempting menus including the festive menu with delicious-sounding dishes such as a maple sugar and ginger roast loin of pork with seasonal vegetables, dauphinois potatoes and plum gravy.

There are three open fires so find a spot close to one after exploring the village, before ordering plates of tasty food and rounds of ale.


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