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8 Cosy pubs in West Essex

Traditional and welcoming pubs are thankfully not in short supply in West Essex. With roaring fires, period décor and inviting atmospheres, they bring some much-needed warmth over the chilly winter months. Here's our favourites...

The Plough, Waltham Abbey
Part of the McMullen chain, but this lovely local has all the looks and atmosphere of an independent. Just a short distance from the Royal Gunpowder Mills and surrounded by gardens (there's a play fort outside for the kids), this is a great place for relaxing with family and friends or simply reading the paper, with Fido by your side (yes, it's dog-friendly), next to the fire. Sundays are especially popular thanks to a delicious carvery offering, mcmullens.co.uk

The Victoria Tavern Loughton
The Victoria Tavern, Loughton
Landlords James and Emma Stuchfield really do pull out all the stops to ensure their customers' every need is met at this fabulous family-run boozer. As well as the usual beers, ales, wines and spirits, there's a special gin menu (the largest offering in the area evidently) as well as flights and Champagne, should you be looking to push the boat out. Food is hearty and generous, while the no music, no TV policy encourages conversation. thevictoriatavern.co.uk

The Theydon Oak Epping
The Theydon Oak, Epping
A regular recipient of the Epping Town Council's Rose Bowl award thanks to their gorgeous floral displays, this clapboarded pub cum restaurant has everything you would expect from a traditional tavern, including log fires, exposed ceiling beams and enough antiques to start their own roadshow. Food-wise, you can expect traditional British fare, but done with attention to detail and finesse, plus the service from Iain Moran and his team is always nothing short of exemplary. theydonoak.co.uk

The Owl High Beach
The Owl, High Beach
After a long, brisk dog walk, this woodland tavern, run by renown local publican Adam Brooks is located in the heart of Epping Forest and makes the perfect post-walk retreat. Warm open fires, freshly prepared British pub food and locally crafted ales and fine wines all await, while the friendly staff bend over backwards to ensure everyone walks out smiling and refreshed and all to the highest possible standard. theowlpubhighbeach.com

The Travellers Friend Woodford Green
The Travellers Friend, Woodford Green
Known locally as the 'Spivs' thanks to some dodgy, black market dealing that supposedly went on there at the time of the Second World War, this pub underwent an extensive yet sympathetic refurbishment a few years back, so that the traditional bar, open kitchen and dining area are now showcased to full effect. Enjoy excellent pub grub, including daily changing specials or simply prop up the bar and choose from a wide variety of ales, lagers and craft beers. thetravellersfriendwoodford.co.uk

The Three Colts Buckhurst Hill
The Three Colts, Buckhurst Hill
With its stripped floors and exposed beams and brickwork, this Adam Brooks pub is a stylish place with friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere. It might not have an open fire, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it, being warm and cosy. The Bistro-style menu is popular while the Sunday lunches always draw in the crowds. However, it's equally great for a Saturday night drink with the mates. What's more, dogs are most welcome here. thethreecolts.com

The Kings Head Chingford
Kings Head, Chingford
A lovely warm and welcoming pub with real fires for those cold winter nights (there's plenty of outdoor space, too, with two gardens and heated pergolas), this is a popular destination for old and young alike, as well as families and furry four legged friends. Serving a traditional range of ales, wines, craft beers and cocktails, and a menu with something to suit everyone, the pub is however, best known for its hearty Sunday roasts that include bottomless Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and gravy. classicinns.co.uk/thekingsgeadchingford

Bakers Arms Waltham Abbey
Bakers Arms, Sewardstone
You could be forgiven for thinking that this attractive stone-built pub has been sitting amid the glorious West Essex countryside for many, many years, when in fact it was only opened in 2002 and is part of the Chef & Brewer Collection. Once inside, the misconception continues, with the interior exuding a traditional feel with open fires and candlelit eating areas. The menu includes all the pub classic and them some, while the drinks list is equally extensive and even includes a gin parlour. Chefandbrewer.com/pubs/essex/bakersarms

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