As the days get colder and the nights draw in, what could be more cheering than a bracing country walk followed by a hearty meal in a pub with a blazing open fire? The Chiltern Hills and surrounding areas offer those things aplenty, and all within easy reach of London. If you fancy a warming tipple too or want to make a weekend of it, many of the pubs offer cosy overnight accommodation and a proper full English the next morning. Browse our choice of Chilterns pubs with fires for inspiration.
For a walk and a meal
The Crown is a true country pub, located down a quiet country lane in the picturesque hamlet of Aston End. Some of the most beautiful countryside in Hertfordshire is right on the doorstep, with lots of lovely walks to be enjoyed. The Crown offers a welcoming place to warm up and relax, with candles lit in the evening, magazines and newspapers, and a real log fire.
This delightful pub and restaurant near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire is full of charm and character. Everyone, including the dog, is welcome in the relaxed and informal bar area, where a roaring log fire blazes. The stylish but cosy two-level dining room serves seasonal dishes freshly made in the kitchen from the best local produce available. Nearby, there are great trails in the beech woodlands of The Common and Penn Woods – perfect for walking off one of the indulgent puds or a Sunday roast.
At The Rusty Gun in St Ippolyts, Bedfordshire, the focus is very much on the food, but as well as being a destination for sophisticated evening dining, The Rusty Gun is the perfect place for a spot of lunch after a country walk and offers a weekday Rambler’s Menu of two courses for £10.95 or three for £13.95. In the colder months, food and drinks can be enjoyed by the warmth of the open fire surrounded by cosy sheepskins. Booking is recommended for The Rusty Gun’s hugely popular Sunday roast.
The Cricketers in Sarratt, Hertfordshire, is the picture-postcard image of the perfect country pub, with open fires, a jumble of cosy, intimate dining areas and a great atmosphere. It is on the edge of the Chiltern Hills with lovely walks to be had in the beautiful Chess Valley. The bar is well stocked with real ales, you can enjoy brunch from 9am until 11.30am at weekends and there is a varied lunch and dinner menu throughout the week, with everything freshly prepared.
For an overnight stay as well
A stylish 18th-century coaching inn at the heart of Potton in Bedfordshire, The Coach House has 11 guest bedrooms, all of which have been individually decorated with thought and creativity. Walkers, friends, couples and families congregate in the cosy bar, where a cheery fire burns in winter. At the bar you can pick up a leaflet of local walks, and there are plenty of other things to do nearby, including cycling, fishing, golf and Shuttleworth museum of flight.
In the secluded little hamlet of Winchmore Hill, Buckinghamshire, The Potters Arms is a pub well worth the effort of finding, with its cosy traditional bar, oak beams, log fires and inviting restaurant. Everything here is beautifully home-cooked and lovingly presented, and the four bed and breakfast rooms are cosy and peaceful. Being in the heart of the Chilterns, it’s perfect for country walks, and if you’re up for a laugh, you’ll love the comedy nights on the last Thursday of every month.
The Old Hunters Lodge, set on the edge of Whipsnade Common, is one of the oldest thatched houses in the village and has been in the same hands since 1981. The surrounding countryside is delightful and Whipsnade Zoo is a nearby attraction. As well as offering rooms and a restaurant, the venue is fully licensed, and has a cosy log fire in the bar.