If running around on a pub crawl dressed as Santa isn’t your thing, why not keep things classic at one of the many toasty pubs in London? You can roast your chestnuts and pickle your walnuts and do various other nut-related activities that no one actually ever does at Christmas time.
1. The Churchill Arms, Kensington
The mother of all Christmas pubs (or the Father – if we’re making festive puns), the Churchill Arms is by far the best-decorated building in the whole of West London. During the summer months, the pub looks like it’s been dragged through a Garden Centre backwards (in the best kind of way). And at Christmas? It gets a full festive makeover, of course, with over 50 Christmas trees, 11,500 lights and 90 hanging flower baskets adorning the exterior of the pub on Kensington Church Street.
119 Kensington Church St, W8 7LN
2. The Gorringe Park, Tooting
Perched just above Tooting rail station, this eclectic little gastro pub has just about everything you need for a perfect Christmas evening. With a cinema in the basement, a secret garden with a vegetable patch (!!) and a wonderful upstairs library, this isn’t just a pub, this is Sunday afternoon perfection. Oh winter, we love you.
29 London Road, SW17 9HW
3. The Lord of Palmerston, Tufnell Park
It’s not Christmas without a slightly-too-hot room, an open fireplace and a snoozing grandma in a big armchair. At this award-winning gastro pub you get all that (minus the sleeping pensioner) and with its rustic feel and wooden tables, it seems more like an extension of your living room than a North London pub. (Yummy, yummy food too). Full, warm, and happy – isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
33 Dartmouth Park Hill, NW5 1HU
4. The Spaniards Inn
Need a pitstop after your boxing day walk on Hampstead Heath? Try one of the oldest pubs in London. A prominent feature of Hampstead since 1585, The Spaniards Inn was Keats and Dickens’ favourite watering hole back in the day. With dark panels and low beams stretching throughout the bar area, it’s certainly retained a touch of that 16th Century charm (even if the prices have suffered a bit of inflation). We’re not sure what the food was like back when the literary greats used to frequent it but we can safely say that by 2015, these guys know how to do a damn good Christmas menu. It’s open on Christmas Day too. (Check out our guide to the oldest pubs in London.)
Spaniards Road, NW3 7JJ
5. The Old Red Lion, Kennington
This south London pub is a favourite with the locals and has got the winter appeal down to a tee. With a crackling fire, the smell of spicy mulled wine in the air and blankets outside in the beer garden, it’s the perfect spot to cosy up on Christmas Eve. Drink, eat and be merry, folks!
42 Kennington Park Road, SE11 4RS
Featured Image Credit: Flickr Neko Joe