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The Holly Bush

Bars and pubs, Pubs Hampstead
3 out of 5 stars
(31user reviews)
HollyBush  663edit.jpg
© Rob Greig

Time Out says

As the trend for gutting old pubs claims yet more Hampstead boozers, this place’s cachet increases. Located on a quiet hilltop backstreet, this Grade II-listed building was originally built as a house in the 1790s and used as the Assembly Rooms in the 1800s, before becoming a pub in 1928. A higgledy-piggledy air remains, with three low-ceilinged bar areas and one bar counter at which decent pints are poured. Sound food and a good choice of wines by the glass are further draws.

See more pubs with open fires in the capital



Address: 22
Holly Mount
Transport: Tube: Hampstead
Opening hours: Open Mon-Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-10.30pm; (Kitchen open Mon-Thurs noon-3.30pm, 6pm-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-4.30pm, 6pm-10pm; Sun noon-8pm)
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Users say (31)

3 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:10
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:8
  • 1 star:4
3 people listening
1 of 1 found helpful

This hidden quaint little pub is just off the beaten track but still only 5 minutes away from Hampstead Heath. It's certainly picturesque with pretty hanging baskets filled with flowers adding a pop of colour to the white walls. Inside its cosy and perfect for a Sunday roast piled high with gigantic Yorkshire pudding and generous helping of vegetables (served in a side dish). All polished off with a nice summer cider - ahh bliss.

1 of 1 found helpful

Located in some quirky back roads in Hampstead, the walk to find it will make you think ‘this better be worth it…’

And don’t worry, I’ll quite happily reassure you – it is.

If you like a good old pub atmosphere and a cracking fish and chips, you won’t be disappointed.

1 of 1 found helpful

If you're having one of those London days and feel the need to escape the city but actually can't, then head here. It is a world away from the modern busy city we live in. Book for a winter's sunday lunch with either a walk on Hampstead Heath before or after to really feel like you've gotten away from it all. It epitomises cosy with an atmosphere to match.

1 of 1 found helpful
Staff WriterStaff Comp

The Holly Bush is the perfect winter pub, it is so authentic, you feel you are in a time warp (in a good way). I have spent many winter weekend days sitting by the fires with a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir and enjoying a light lunch.

1 of 1 found helpful

Having walked for 8km around Hampsteah Heath, we were in need a refreshments, our local guide recommended Holly Bush, so 6 of us came in for a late Sunday lunch, after grabing drinks at the bar, we were seated at the back in the restaurant and ordered mains, I have the Sea Trout, most of the others had roast, and after sharing, wow the meat on the roast is to die for! Then one of our group went on to wine, which when it came and tasted he said wow taste this, so after the wine, we also ordered as well several glasses!! Perfect end to a great walk, recommended!

1 of 1 found helpful

Went there for lunch with my partner. Lovely to find Butcombe bitter in London. A really good pint. I shared a starter of ham hock terrine with quail egg, black pudding with a crumbly coating and homemade piccalilli sauce. Good taste and well presented. I had a small (but not too small) fillet of cod to follow, beautifully moist and cooked to perfection. Can't now remember the "trimmings" but the whole meal was quite delicious. Surprisingly the pub was not full. Probably a combination of temperatures near 30C and the Wimbledon final kept people away. A pub with real character.

1 of 1 found helpful

A little warm and crowded on the weekend but can't beat the atmosphere, food or vibe

1 of 1 found helpful

Holly Bush is a nice little pub with brilliant atmosphere. I have only been there a couple of times, but I would highly recommend it as my experience has always been very good. Last time I came on Saturday, I had not booked a table, which was a mistake as it can be very busy there around weekend, it were three of us and there were no free tables, but the staff was very nice and helpful and they promised to find us a table as soon as possible, so fifteen minutes later we got a table. The food took a bit long, but it was worth waiting and the staff was very attentive. Forgot to rate!

1 of 1 found helpful

I have been in the Holly Bush quite a few times in the past but I must say I was not too happy most of the times so I gave it a rest for some times. A friend of mine however, really pushed me to go there a Sunday a few weeks ago, mmm I did it reluctantly. We turned up with no booking (I was sure no problem to get a table, how wrong I was) were asked to wait about 40 minutes because it was packed. We did not mined it regardless we were quite hungry but what the heck we order a few beers. The Manager (black hair, could have been the GM) very politely came over in 15 minutes and escorted us to our table as you would expect it in a high-end restaurant. Wow, what a change?!! The improvement is unbelievable. The roast pork belly was heavenly good however may be a bit pricey, we still felt it was good value. Service was fast and friendly (unlike some other places in the area like the Horseshoe where I feel ignored frequently). Holly Bush has a great wine selection seemed to be improved as well. We had a bottle of Picpoul at a price only £20. What a bargain! I definitely changed my mind and the Holly Bush is my new old favorite. We will be back soon with other friends. Thank you for the great time. Well done!

1 of 1 found helpful

I came here in the beginning of the year, to be honest with you the food wasn't great and the service was slow. But my friends came back and wanted to go there, so we went there to eat about a week ago and oh my god it has improved so much! The service was friendly and efficient, chatty waitress, I had welsh rarebit for a starter and baked salmon for my main and it was absolutely delicious, I didn't think I had room for desert but I just couldn't help myself. i chose the sticky toffee pudding and that was also very tasty, unfortunately I couldn't finish it.... of course I tried! The only reason I had to gave 4 stars is because the table was a bit wobbly and small, but I suppose what can you expect from a pub that old. They were also very busy and we didn't book a table but the waitress went out of her way to find us a table.

This pub use to be one of the best ever. Not any more. The food and pub menu is a farce because the results are just disgusting. Over cooked roast lunches which comprises of dried out bedraggled chicken,Vegetables like golf balls and what has coleslaw plonked onto the plate next to the roast potatoes which haven't even been cooked at all. ABSOLUTELY pathetic. Locals and visitors are realising now that the HOLLY Bush is nothing but incompetent and food service UNFIT FOR PURPOSE.

We recently spent a sunny October afternoon wandering around Hampstead and we stumbled upon the Holly Bush almost by accident. It is a picture perfect pub, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of London, up some steps in Hampstead. You could easily spend hours here on a sunny day, or on a cold day as the inside is very cosy too.

We didn't eat there, but the food looked tasty, and we'll definitely be back to try it. This is the sort of place you should bring any visitors to London, I can't imagine anyone not loving it! 


This really is a lovely and cosy pub in one of the most beautiful areas of London.  It is tucked away up some uneven steps but it is worth the climb.  Nestled in in a picturesque street, it is just as pretty inside as it is on the outside.  When you are inside there are lots of nooks where you can spend a whole Sunday afternoon and evening with friends.  When I visited I went for dinner which was nice but not amazing.  They offer very typical pub fare but it does come in large portions so you won't leave hungry at least!  This was my first visit but I heard they host different nights with themes in a gorgeous dining room upstairs so I am sure I will be back for a game night or christmas dinner in the coming months! 

You have to get here early on a Sunday (in winter) to find a table, but it is worth getting up for. Bring the paper, some friends and maybe a board game and camp out for the whole day. Blissful

Lovely place, especially for a rainy or wintery afternoon, evening. Atmosphere is great although too busy. My rating is mostly on the food. I had the corn fed chicken roast. Mediocre to say the best and very expensive at £18.50. Best thing was the Yorkshire pudding!


I think this would have to be one of my favourite pubs in London. It feels like an old cottage, tucked in a side street up some steps close to Hampstead Heath. The front room to the left with a wood fire is a delight if you can get a seat in there, but all the other rooms are also lovely. We popped in here for a drink on Christmas day around lunchtime and had a lovely spot on some stools in the front bar with a few other locals and their dogs. The food here is generally very good, although it is on the pricey side. However, the roasts are some of the best in London I think. This pub is a fantastic place to visit if you live in the area, and it's certainly worth a trip when coupled with a walk in the Heath even if you don't live nearby.

food not up to much, staff did their best but stress showed ?

I went last night with a group of friends. Food was disappointing. Pies were dry, steak was poor quality and lukewarm. It used to be better

Great pub, good selection of beers and fantastic meals and service.Glad FTP call it my local....

Not worth the visit, and very disappointed with the food quality overall. Booked in for a Sunday roast and ordered the Pork Belly, which was delivered to the table as a congealed gelatinous mass - the crackling was uncooked and wobbled like a jelly on the plate, and was almost raw. Speaking to other diners in the place, they also remakred on the very poor food - with most leaving theirs uneaten. I couldn't eat the pork, it was so undercooked, and on asking, it's "the way they cook it". An absolute waste of food and strongly recommended to avoid the place. The Freemasons Arms down the road is much nicer !

0 of 1 found helpful

Very sadly, this place used to be our favorite Sunday hideaway after a brisk walk with the dog. A year ago the menu changed and the food went sideways; we complained to Fullers, received a nice letter saying 'many people enjoyed the food'; we did revised but its not the same - why mend something that isn't broken? Two stars is about right because the building's the same

0 of 1 found helpful

Went here for Sunday lunch and was very disappointed. Absolutely packed and they were obviously struggling with too many covers. Expensive roast beef (£17.50) and only served one slice. Think they were running out of food. Service slow. Had to ask for drinks three times. Nice atmosphere but below parr on all other fronts.

0 of 1 found helpful

Been to this lovely pub for drinks many of times, it's very quant and has a good atmosphere. Went yesterday with family for a special fathers day meal and it was really disappointing. I had scallops which were expensive at £9 and I got 2! We waited well over an hour for our mains (which were roasts) and when they came they were cold. Meat was dry, potatoes soggy, not good. The service was generally poor, no one took our empty glasses and we were asked to keep our cutley from the starters saying that it takes too long to wash them up. We complained to a very helpful man behind the bar who was very appologetic unlike the waitress who was not interested. It was very busy when we sat down to eat but then soon emptied out so there really should be no excuse for poor service and cold food.

0 of 2 found helpful

The Hollybush is one of the most atmospheric pub in London set in a gorgeous area of London and I have been going there from time to time for at least 2 decennies. But together with the Spaniards Inn nearby the quality of its food and service has terribly gone down. I was there yesterday and ate: as some posts mentioned below mine best to stick to the drinks until they go back to the splendid food and service these 2 pubs used to have. I would put 5 stars for the pub itself but only 0 stars for the food and service alas.

0 of 2 found helpful

The Hollybush is one of the most atmospheric pub in London set in a gorgeous area of London and I have been going there from time to time for at least 2 decennies. But together with the Spaniards Inn nearby the quality of its food and service has terribly gone down unlike the prices. As some posts mentioned below mine best to stick to the drinks only until they go back to the splendid food and service these 2 pubs used to have. I would put 5 stars for the pub itself but 0 stars for its food and service.

0 of 2 found helpful

I received very good recommendation from my friend about this pub. As I had guests visiting me I decided to take them out for a pub lunch on Saturday ( yesterday ). My guests and I were very disappointed with the food. The carrot soup was very nice but unfortunately had a taste of burn food at the bottom of the pan. The pies ( I was told are the best pies in London) were just average. The pastry was overlooked and in places burned, the cabbage that came with it was undercooked, the mash was not creamy and the gravy was very salty. The salt in the gravy (which was poured over the whole food ) ruined the taste of the meal. Too much!!! The rule is simple really - add enough salt in the food to bring out the taste of the food and if the customer wants more salt s/he can add it. On the positive side the food was served hot, service was good and the online booked was super easy. I would only recommend the pub for the atmosphere ( only downstairs! ) and nice drinks. Food needs a lot of improvement.

0 of 2 found helpful

Food used to be really good, but has gone massively downhill recently. A few months ago, I ordered a very rare steak and received a cold, medium steak. Asked for a replacement (it was very expensive, so I felt I was within my rights to complain) and it too was cold and over-cooked. I had hoped this was a one-off, but when I returned for Sunday lunch a couple of weeks ago, the food was very poor. The potatoes were soggy, the beef was over-done, tasteless and tough, and the gravy was strangely sweet. I didn't finish it. I was still hungry, so ordered a dessert, only to be told a few minutes later that they were out of the apple crumble. This was a Sunday at 3pm, and the pub was dead (should have been enough of a warning sign in itself). How could they possibly be out of apple crumble unless it had been lurking around for a few days and was down to the dregs before Sunday lunch service even started? Overall, avoid the food here. It's really not worth the money. Or any money, for that matter. The Holly Bush is still a great pub in a beautiful location, just stick to the booze.

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