Advice Words : Wanderlust team | 01 December

8 cosy (and quirky) British pubs, from horse carriage inns to seaside escapes

With open fireplaces, locally-brewed beer and room at the inn for pets (including ponies), these eight British pubs offer a warm welcome this winter

1: The Yard of Ale, Kent

A stone's throw away from the coast, this renovated stable has been transformed from a crumbling stone relic into an award-winning micro-pub. Grab a spot at the wooden bar and enjoy the community atmosphere under the ceiling of overgrown vines and beer mats, or head outside to the hay bales for a friendly encounter with pet ponies.

Best of all, the Yard serves a mean homemade pork pie and cheese board, accompanied by locally-brewed cask ale.

Inside the bar area (Yard of Ale)

Don't be surprised to meet a customer in the garden with their pony who pulled them to the pub for a Sunday afternoon pork pie and pint (Becky)

2: The New Forest Inn, Lyndhurst

Located in the heart of the New Forest, this characterful pub attracts an array of visitors - from ponies to pigs and even the occasional cow. But it's safe to say they don't come for the locally-sourced menu, or for their fish friends that headline the Specials board from Friday to Saturday.

If you've just finished a countryside stroll or shopping at Lyndhurst's independent boutiques, a stop-off at The New Forest Inn is a must. It's even dog-friendly, so the whole family is welcome. 

The bar and seating area (The New Forest Inn)

An 18th-century inn with wood panelled décor. We spent three snowy days here in the winter and even had hot soup and crusty bread waiting for us on our arrival (Nandini)

3: The Highwayman Inn, Dartmoor

Tucked away on the edges of north Dartmoor, this unique pub is stuffed with weird and wonderful objects - and the exterior is just as quirky, with a horse and carriage at the front entrance and a gigantic black boot at the back. As if first impressions weren't intriguing enough, the bar is crammed with dusty curios, artworks and historical oddities - so it feels more like sitting in an antiques emporium rather than a mere pub. Pull up a stool to become acquainted with the area's legendary smugglers and highwaymen...

Horse and carriage entrance (TripAdvisor)

A cosy, if not eerie, traditional pub that brings an Arthur Conan Doyle novel to life (Ellie)

4: Red Lion, Clovelly

Set right on the North Devon coast, the Red Lion is a charming spot to feast on fine seafood. Wander down the traffic-free alleyways of Clovelly for a stroll along the pebble beach, before heading to the Red Lion's Harbour Bar for freshly-caught fish or a seafood platter to share. Once you've filled up on food, get cosy by the fire at the Snug Bar with a pint of Devon cider.

Red Lion, Clovelly (Dreamstime)

It's particularly good at Christmas when the RNLI deliver presents to the old and young residents, whilst carol singing down the narrow cobbled street (Alison)

5: Ty Coch Inn, North Wales

Ty Coch Inn is a gem hidden in the treasure of Porthdinllaen, wedged between towering mountains and coastal shores. Its bar may be small, but it's well-stocked and convivial - so grab yourself a gin and tonic and head out front to enjoy views of those Welsh peaks and ocean waves.

Ty Coch Inn (Dreamstime)

Following a brisk walk and seal spotting along the Llŷn Peninsula, it's the perfect beachside hideaway to warm the cockles (Jess)

6: The Greyhound Inn, Longford

Take a stroll along Coventry's canals and peek through the doors of this traditional inn. With wooden barrel chairs by the open fire, colourful 1940s posters and a collection of vintage beer bottles for decoration, The Greyhound Inn is as characterful as it is cosy.

It even has an area dedicated to four-legged companions: The Whippet Bar. No wonder it has been voted the best pub in Coventry and Warwickshire four times.

By the fire in December (The Greyhound Inn)

Always a warm welcome from staff and a real fire burning. There is a good selection of traditional cask beers, so every visit is like the first time at the pub (Dave)

7: The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

With its stained glass windows, Italian hand-crafted woodwork and dazzling mosaic floor, The Crown Liquor Saloon certainly creates an impression. Though it was first founded in 1826, the new National Trust owners have recreated the same warm welcome and atmosphere that customers enjoyed centuries ago - with mahogany booths, Belfast lager served from wooden barrels, and original features from its gin palace past.

Entrance to the Liquor Saloon (Dreamstime)

It was renovated as a Victorian interior design with a banquet of fine ceramic woodwork (Rain)

8: The Two Brewers, Windsor

Neighbour to Windsor Castle and located on Park Street - one of the oldest streets in Windsor - The Two Brewers boasts English heritage in a prime location. While it is lovely in summer too, it is in winter that the Brewers really comes into its own, with candles and fires adding to the atmosphere.Take a stroll down the Long Walk to see the King George III statue (a deceptibe two and a half miles from the castle) and spot herds of deer roaming in the Great Park, before marching back to the Brewers for a well-earned pub lunch and pint. We recommend the ham, egg and chips - a simple dish done well. Well behaved dogs are welcome, but no children.

The Two Brewers pub, Windsor (Ellie Kinsella)

It's hidden in the shadow of the castle and right by the gates to the Long Walk and Great Park, so brilliant for a drink or meal after a walk (Lyn)
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