Cosy pubs for chilly days
Order some comfort food, grab glass of red and relax in front of the fire - it's time to hunker down.
Crackling fires and comfy seats. Fish pie and a large glass of red. Long days or cosy nights. Luckily I spend half my life zipping around finding and reviewing the very best pubs in Surrey, so here’s my insider pick of the ones to put at the top of your pint and pie list. I’ve tried to select the best from around the county, but if you feel that I’ve made a horrific error in omitting your totally awesome local, pop a comment on the bottom and I’ll go and check it out!
The Retreat, Staines-upon-Thames
Having recently undergone a major spruce up, The Retreat is stylish gastropub with a versatile menu – so it’s brilliant if you want to take the whole family or a big group of fussy eaters. The update has resulted in a striking mix of old and new, quirky and contemporary. It’s a substantial pub, mostly open plan, with zoned dining spaces that create cosy nooks. The centre piece is this stunning fireplace in the centre. It’s very much a local vibe in here – not pretentious, definitely friendly and also welcoming to kids. Read our full review here.
■ The Retreat, Staines Road, Staines, TW18 2RT. Tel: 01784 464839. theretreatstaines.co.uk
The Fox and Hounds, Englefield Green
A country pub right by the Bishopsgate entrance of Windsor Great Park, The Fox and Hounds is perfectly positioned for a post-winter walk lunch or tipple. It’s a cosy and unpretentious pub, with a warm and earthy vibe. There’s a relaxed bar at the front – where dogs are welcome – with tables nestled in the bay windows, and nooks and crannies with comfy armchairs. The food is fab, so whether it’s for lunch, dinner or just a drink you won’t go wrong. Read our full review here.
■ The Fox and Hound Restaurant and Bar, Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, TW20 0XU. Tel: 01784 433098. thefoxandhoundsrestaurant.com
The Stag on the River, Lower Eashing
A bit of a hidden gem tucked away down pretty country lanes and across a medieval bridge spanning the River Wey, The Stag is in the quaint village of Lower Eashing. It’s a pretty red-brick 18-century riverside pub with a gorgeous garden and terrace overlooking the Wey. There’s a distinct and relaxed feel to the place – and dog’s are welcome. But the best bit, it’s just a two minute walk upstairs to bed, if you want to make a night or weekend of it. Read our full review here.
■ The Stag on the River, Lower Eashing Lane, Eashing, GU7 2QG stagontherivereashing.co.uk
The Anchor, Ripley
The Anchor is a gastropub that walks the line between being a local boozer cum village centre point and a gourmet destination restaurant. The building – in the centre of the pretty village of Ripley – is brimming with character – low ceilings, exposed beams, log fires and lots of cosy nooks and cubbyholes – reflecting the pub’s early 16th century heritage. It’s cosy and intimate, and the food is fantastic. Read our full review here.
■ The Anchor, High Street, Ripley GU23 6AE. 01483 211866. ripleyanchor.co.uk
The March Hare, Guildford
In the centre of Guildford overlooking Guildford Castle, from the outside, this French brasserie looks like a traditional urban pub. But beyond the charming bar area, it’s a chic restaurant with its polished dark timber flooring and stylish colour palette of cool blues and greys, with nooks of deep aubergine. The food stays close to its French influences, and includes the traditional French classics as well as British favourites. Read our full review here.
■ The March Hare, 2-4 South Hill, Guildford GU1 3SY. marchhareguildford.com
The Running Horses, Mickleham
This is a traditional country inn oozing history and charm, in the small village of Mickleham, at the foot of Box Hill, between Dorking and Leatherhead. It’s a favourite among locals and day-trippers from further afield. Exposed beams, timber wall panelling, warm parquet flooring and tartan carpets, plus a log fire, make this a cosy and relaxed place to spend an afternoon. Try for a table by the fire, or book one of these cosy booths. The food is great too; quality traditional rustic fare made from locally sourced produce as much as possible. Read our full review here.
■ The Running Horses, Old London Road, Mickleham, near Dorking, RH5 6DU. Tel: 01372 372279. therunninghorses.co.uk
The Plough Inn, Coldharbour
This traditional English country inn has a warm, buzzy vibe, and with the log fire (see if you can’t nab one of those Queen Anne Chesterfields by the log burner) and bright decor, it’s just the place to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. Leith Hill is not far, so you could work up an appetite with a wander up there first. The food is excellent, and – as there’s also a microbrewery on site – there’s a selection of real ales, as well as craft beers, plus wines and spirits. Read our full review here.
■ The Plough Inn, Coldharbour, nr Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6HD. Tel: 01306711 793. ploughinn.com
The Onslow Arms, Clandon
The Onslow Arms in Clandon is a one that just keeps coming up as one of Surrey’s top notch pubs. It’s a decent sized pub, but there’s a warren of cosy spaces, as well as a larger dining room. There’s plenty of character. And the kitchen turns out consistently good good, so you can’t go far wrong. Read our full review here.
■ The Onslow Arms, The St, West Clandon, Guildford GU4 7TF. Tel: 01483 222447. onslowarmsclandon.co.uk
The Percy Arms, Chilworth
A good friend of mine has been raving about the Percy Arms for some time, and as she is the epitome of elegance and good taste, you can be sure this will be a superb place to cosy up. The food is modern British with a South African twist – think wild boar terrine and juicy ribs. The South African theme spills over to the decor, with authentic artefacts in abundance to help create the style of a colonial hunting lodge. Oversized cushions, animals skin rugs, comfy chairs and cosy fireplaces make this a lovely place to relax.
■ The Percy Arms, 75 Dorking Rd, Chilworth, Guildford GU4 8NP. Tel: 01483 561765. thepercyarms.net
The White Hart, Chipstead
If it’s character and charm you’re after, then this pub has it in spades. It’s in the pretty little village of Chipstead surrounded by countryside, and with log fires, soft glow lighting and a rustic decor that includes panelled walls and cosy rugs, it’s a comfy place to be. Food is served every day from noon until 10pm (9.30pm on Sundays) and there’s a good selection of cask ales. What’s not to like?
■ The White Hart, Hazelwood Ln, Chipstead, CR5 3QW. Tel: 01737 554455. whitehartchipstead
The Withies Inn, Compton
This 16th century pub in the tiny village of Compton is cosiness personified with dramatic low timber beams and a wonderfully eclectic interior. It’s just a stone’s throw from Loseley Park, as well as Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, so you could easily combine a trip to one or both with a pub lunch. It’s open every day serving food from noon-6pm. The kitchen takes Sunday evenings off.
■ The Withies Inn, Compton, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1JA. Tel: 01483 421158. thewithiesinn.com
The Richard Onslow, Cranleigh
You’ll find The Richard Onslow in the centre of Cranleigh, surrounded by lots of lovely independent shops. The pub is elegant and modern, but has still kept its period charm. The kitchen prides itself on serving top quality food – if you love a steak, you won’t go wrong. And the bar is well stocked, with real ales on tap, and a huge choice of wines and spirits.
■ The Richard Onslow, 113 – 117 High Street, Cranleigh, GU6 8AU. Tel: 01483 274922. therichardonslow.co.uk
The White Horse, Hascombe
Top quality nosh, an extensive wine list and a great selection of ales – just add a crackling fire and you can’t go wrong. The White Horse at Hascombe wasn’t the winner of the Best Restaurant and the Best Pub in the 2017 Muddy Awards for nothing. There’s no cosier pub on a grim winter’s day!
■ The White Horse, The Street, Hascombe, Surrey, GU8 4JA. Tel: 01483 208 258. whitehorsepub.net