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16 cosy pubs for chilly days

Order something stodgy, pour a large glass of red and relax in front of a pub fire - it's time to hunker down.

Hey you Autumn, enough already. The trees are bald, the temperature has dropped, and it’s dark at midday (well, nearly). There’s only one warm thing on the local horizon? The roaring fire of the cosiest, cutest, loveliest pubs in Oxon and Bucks. Luckily I spend half my life zipping around finding and reviewing the very best, 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 counties, 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 Falkland Arms, Great Tew


One of the cosiest, prettiest pub on the planet, The Falkland Arms in Great Tew feels like it’s been lifted straight out of a Richard Curtis movie with its thatched roof, warm Cotswold stone and low beams.So close to Soho Farmhouse you can almost smell the money, this North Oxfordshire pub nevertheless has a strong local vibe, with pub classics and a dog-friendly ethos firmly on the menu.

The Crown, Woodstock


Bang in the centre of Woodstock, you’ll love the relaxed, scandi-meets-cottage feel of this stylish gastro-inn. There’s a ‘cafe/restaurant’ orangerie area, but also a more chilled-out pubby section with lovely log fires, wide bar and great food. Read my review.

The Queens Head, Little Marlow


This 16th century pub labels itself ‘Marlow’s little secret’  tucked away just outside the town. It’s in a pretty position, in lovely walking country, and has that unmistakeable feel of a well-loved, slightly lived-in local. Pint-and-pub style food and a welcome for your dog.

The Killingworth Castle, Wootton

oak floor wooden beams brick fireplace oak chairs

This pub recently won a Bib Gourmand but it also manages that unusual double of also being a cosy, welcoming local. It’s a small pub, so a lovely warm atmosphere is created quickly. There are well-appointed bedrooms if the afternoon overwhelms you and you need a little lie-down! Read my review

The White Horse, Kings Sutton

bronwn leather sofa with matching arm chai Union Jack cushion pink chequered cube stools around wooden coffee table brick wall black chalkboard hanging on wall

A pretty rural pub in North Oxfordshire with a large, welcoming bar area, log fire and a gin collection that will keep you busy all night.

The Turf Tavern, Oxford

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

I used to come here all the time as a student –  a bit rough and ready, it’s a real Oxford institution, a low-beamed, higgledy piggledy pub that was the inspiration for The Lamb and Flag, the fictional pub in Jude the Obscure, a favourite of Morse and where, local legend says Bill Clinton famously didn’t ‘inhale’. But, you know, let’s not bring that one up now with Hillary so close to the finish line. One to visit for a warming ale and pie if you happen to be in central Oxford rather than a gastrofest.

The Plowden Arms


Quirky, welcoming and with excellent food, I really loved this Shiplake pub (just outside Henley) when I reviewed last year. Super-relaxed, with an open fire and plenty of character, these guys are famed for their Sunday lunches. Read my review

The Chequers, Churchill

Really I could choose a dozen lovely pubs in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, but The Chequers in Churchill has an excellent local reputation for its food and atmosphere and it has a really lovely vibe. You’re just outside Chipping Norton here, so plenty to do in the area, and Churchill itself has some lovely walks plus a gorgeous church whose spire is a small replica of the one at Oxford’s Magdalen College.

The Perch, Binsey


One of my favourite pubs in terms of position, this lovely thatched pub sits right on Port Meadow in central Oxford, and is ideal for walkers looking for a warm stop. There’s a massive stone fire with leather Chesterfield sofas for a relaxed drinkie, or you can eat in a small pubby section or a more restauranty area. Read my review

The Chequers, Berrick Salome

I recently reviewed this rural pub in South Oxfordshire and enjoyed its attractive, quirky decor and that whopper inglenook fire in the bar area. The food is excellent too. Read my review.

The Crown, Bray

Just hopping over the border into Berkshire – so sue me! – but I absolutely love this Heston pub. Food is Bib Gourmand as you’d expect, but what I really loved was the buzz. Always busy, this place nails it on atmosphere, helped along immeasurably by the numerous small eating areas, and the feeling of history that pervades the gnarly old oak beams and open fires. Read my review

The Royal Oak, Bovingdon Green

A no-brainer for a cosy pub day, with open fires, settles, bar snacks and the kind of food that is way superior to the norm. It’s a 5 minute drive outside of Marlow.

The Swan Inn, Denham

The landlord makes The Swan Inn – Mark is almost as much an institution as the pub. Denham is a picturepostcard village in South Bucks and this pub hits the sweet spot of excellent food and local clientele. There’s a bar for perching on, settles, fireplaces and a whole load of bonhomie.

The Angel, Burford

A 500 year old pub in one of the prettiest towns in the Cotswolds – what more do you want? Well if you’re being fussy about it, I’ll throw in log fires, window seating and lots of pub favourites amid the AA rosette food.

The Rickety Press, Oxford

light blue corner pub tree shadow

In the chi-chi area of Jericho, this place fizzes with cool students and trendy locals, eating great quality pizzas and burgers. Very cool interior too, a fab city centre option.

Jacob’s Inn, Wolvercote

pub interior with roaring fire and exposed brickwork

Sitting at the top of Oxford’s Port Meadow, this stylish, buzzing pub is ideal for families, friends or walkers. Its warm stone and log fires are well suited to this time of year. Like its sister eateries in Bicester, Woodstock and Headington, the food is locally sourced and crowd-pleasing.

You want more pubs? Oh, be my guest! Check out the Eating Out guide for my latest reviews or choose via location with the map search

Find more ideas here

GastropubsPubs & Inns

10 comments on “16 cosy pubs for chilly days”

  • Sue November 9, 2017

    What about pubs and attractions in North Bucks ? Aren’t there any around Buckingham ? Your website is brilliant but very Oxfordshire, South Bucks centric.

    • muddystiletto December 11, 2017

      Hi Sue, thanks for your feedback. I do find pubs a bit thinner on the ground on North Bucks, perhaps because it’s so rural. Where would you suggest and I’ll go check them out. Hero x

  • Colin George November 12, 2017

    I would commend two very local pubs – the Community owned Seven Stars at Marsh Baldon – a nice corner with an open fire and good beers, and The Mole Inn, at Toot Baldon – perhaps more restaurant than pub, but always cosy. Excellent food at both.

    • muddystiletto December 11, 2017

      Thanks Colin, I’ll check them out x

  • robert bullard December 11, 2017

    Great post, thank you so much… It might be useful to have a map of them all, so that people know at a glance which one might suit where they are etc.

    • muddystiletto December 11, 2017

      Hi Robert, we do have maps on all our Eat Out pubs – if you go down the drop down menu on Eat Out, choose Pubs and then all the pubs I’ve ever reviewed will pop up on the map. Hope that helps x

  • Andy B January 5, 2018

    Hi Hero,

    Thanks for the advice. Can’t beat a cozy pub all year round tbh and I’ve been to many of the pubs you’ve mentioned in this article. You actually came to review the school in which I work just before Christmas but unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity to meet you as I really enjoy your website etc.

    Wondered if I could be cheeky and ask for a personal recommendation. My fiancé and I have a double celebration as it is our 2 year anniversary on Monday + we got engaged over the festive period. Can you suggest a cozy and romantic pub / restaurant. We both love a country pub but if you have a hidden gem that would be amazing.


    • muddystiletto February 2, 2019

      Hi Andy, OMG congratulations! I’d definitely suggest The Mash Inn (you can stay there too) – amazing food. Also The Nut Tree has a lovely vibe and it’s Michelin-starred food. In South Oxfordshire The Crooked Billet is a gorgeous, cosy, higgledy piggledy choice. I love Gees in Oxford, but it’s not cosy so much as beautiful inside – romantic though with fairy lights and lovely furnishings. None of those hit then come back to me!

  • Karon February 2, 2019

    Hi. I wonder if you could help I’m a wheelchair user staying in cowley, for a long overdue break with my hubby. Could you recomend any accessable pub with character and good food?

    Many thanks

    • muddystiletto February 2, 2019

      Hi Karon, how far would you be willing to travel? Into central Oxford? Let me know and I’ll get back to you with some options. x


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