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Bloomsbury club bar

The cosiest places to visit in London

Winter is coming, so snuggle up in one of London’s cosiest spots

By Anna Bonet

Yes, the temperature in London is dropping and, yes, alfresco evening drinks might feel as distant as the turn of the century, but winter in the capital is also the perfect opportunity to curl up at one of these warming indoor spots. 

We’re swapping bustling rooftop bars for intimate, wood-clad, pubs, and beer gardens for the low hum of underground whisky bars, and we couldn't be happier about it. We’re continually surprised and delighted by how many quiet places there are to curl up and get cosy, and these are a selection of our favourites. 

Think squishy sofas, open fires, blankets and so fairy lights aplenty. Feeling more positive about winter yet? We certainly are. 

RECOMMENDED: London’s most cosy pubs 

The cosiest places to visit in London

The Holly Bush

Bars and pubs Pubs Hampstead

With crackling log fires and a higgedly-piggedly maze of rooms, this eighteenth-century wood-panelled pub is the very definition of snug. After a crisp walk on Hampstead Heath, this local favourite will give you a warm and cosy welcome, complete with cask ales and hearty comfort food. With comfy corners everywhere you look, there’s really no better place for you and your chilly toes.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥


Sport and fitness Yoga and Pilates Shoreditch

Who knew an exercise class could be kind of cosy? This yoga studio helps you find your zen by matching your standard stretching session with light, sound and scent. This immersive, multi-sensory approach to finding your flow means each class is bathed in a different shade of a rich colour. For peak cosiness, we’d nudge you in the direction of the red, orange or chromatic sunset-themed classes. See you in Shavasana.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥

C0108490 Reading Room
C0108490 Reading Room
Wellcome Images

Wellcome Library Reading Room

Museums Science and technology Euston

The armchairs and sofas here would be begging you to sink into them even if they weren’t surrounded by rugs, low-hanging lights and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. The Wellcome Collection’s gallery/library/events space is filled with paintings, manuscripts and fascinating artefacts to peruse, but make sure you do as the Reading Room’s name implies and choose a good page-turner to curl up with too.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥

V&A Cafe

Restaurants Cafés South Kensington

Newsflash: museums aren’t just for gazing at arty artefacts on rainy days. The V&A Café is proof. High ceilings, arched stained-glass windows, marble pillars... we’d say it was showing off if we weren’t too busy Instagramming its magnificence. Obviously, you can do the exhibition bit too (in fact, seek out examples of world-class and super-cosy knitted garms for added points), but just make sure your slow day at the V&A ends with you wandering into the café, finding a seat under a window and getting stuck into a steaming hot chocolate.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥



Things to do Games and hobbies Haggerston

Inside this den-like hangout there are over 500 board games stacked in a whole wall’s worth of bookshelves. Pay your £5 entry fee and they’re yours to play with for hours on end. Crucially, there are also very helpful ‘game gurus’ on hand to give you guidance on the more complex of board games (Settlers of Catan, anyone?). They serve alcohol in here, too, so the longer you stay and the more relaxed you get the more you might need that guru’s help. Who said board games were just for Boxing Day?

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥

Rob Greig

Happiness Forgets

4 out of 5 stars

This basement bar in Hoxton is probably London's worst-kept secret, but don't let that put you off - just make sure to book first. 

Staff are friendly, standing is not allowed, and much of the light comes from candles. 

The intimate space lends itself to long conversations with friend, sipping on inventive cocktails, and setting the world to rights while the rains pounds the pavement several stories up.


Daunt Books

Shopping Bookshops Marylebone

A good pile of books can make any corner cosy. Imagine the snugness, then, inside what is perhaps London’s most beautiful bookshop. Gloriously Edwardian, complete with oak balconies and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves stuffed with literary jewels from around the world, this place is a true gem. Proceed with caution, though – once you’re wrapped up warm and let loose inside this Marylebone store, you can lose hours of your weekend.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Gordon’s Wine Bar

Restaurants British Charing Cross

Underground, lit by candles and centuries old – the cosy factor of Gordon’s is off the scale. Established in 1890 and still family-run, it’s thought to be the oldest wine bar in London. The wine list spans across continents and includes winter warmers such as sherry and port. Being a London classic, it gets busy in here (you might have to stand rather than lounge), but it all adds to that cosy atmosphere.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥


Discount Suit Company

5 out of 5 stars

Watch your head on the incredibly low ceilings as you descend the stairs to this subterranean bar. What marks this neighbourhood cocktail bar out as special is the profound and polished skill behind the bar. The atmosphere is also the perfect antidote to chilly winter temperatures. 

Magic Garden Pub

Bars and pubs Pubs Battersea

Who said you needed to be indoors to be cosy? This quirky Battersea beer garden is bathed in fairy lights and filled with sofas that look as though they’re from your grandma’s front room. When the nights are long and a little nippy, head outside wrapped in scarves and blankets, to enjoy cocktails and live music. They’ll even provide hot water bottles on especially icy evenings. Toasty.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥


ArtHouse Crouch End

Cinemas Independent Crouch End

Tucked away in leafy north London, this Salvation Army hall turned independent cinema and live performance space is next-level inviting. An ideal retreat for a rainy day, the creative hub hosts live music, workshops and discussion groups, as well as film screenings. Think squishy leather sofas, friendly staff serving hot frothy drinks and cinema screens in intimate, warm and dimly lit rooms. There are even piles of blankets on hand for extra warmth while the films are playing.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥

100 best bars and pubs in london, 68 & Boston
100 best bars and pubs in london, 68 & Boston
© Yusuf Ozkizil

68 & Boston

Bars and pubs Wine bars Soho

Nestled on Greek Street, this split-level cocktail and wine bar has cosied up the joint with wood paneling, low-level lighting and flickering candles on every table. The burgundy-painted walls and velvet curtains have a bit of a boudoir vibe, but just go with it. The cocktail list is extensive but it’s the wines you should be eyeing up, the majority of bottles being priced at a cheap-for-London 20 quid. Ours is a restorative glass of red.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥


Bloomsbury Club Bar

Bars and pubs Cocktail bars Bloomsbury

The Bloomsbury Hotel is a bit of a beaut all round but it’s the twinkling grotto, tucked away beneath the hotel and hidden away from busy Tottenham Court Road, that we’re most interested in when London’s all cold, grey and dreary. Soft sofas, dripping candles, strings of fairy lights and exposed brickwork make for a cosy overload. The bar takes its inspiration from the hedonistic Bloomsbury Set, serving up an innovative array of warming cocktails. Sip fruity alcohol and hide from the outside world, you say? We’re sold.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Mirth, Marvel and Maud

Bars and pubs Walthamstow

It sounds like a pub that belongs in Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade, but butterbeer is not on the menu at this Walthamstow haunt. Instead, it serves up a whole host of other offerings like film screenings, gigs, spoken-word performances, hearty food and creative cocktails, as a pub, bar, arts and cultural centre all in one. The Grade II-listed building is a 1930s art deco dream that Alfred Hitchcock is said to have been an avid visitor of back in the day. Have a cocktail served to you from what used to be the box office, then settle in and soak up the atmosphere.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥


The Grapes

Bars and pubs Limehouse

This creaky Limehouse pub is a pocket of cosiness in the otherwise hustle and bustle of the Docklands. It’s all wood panels and narrow staircases, and, needless to say, there’s a roaring open fire that’s just waiting to be huddled around. Head in on a cold, wintery day and order mug after mug of mulled wine.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Waterstones Piccadilly
Waterstones Piccadilly
Photograph: Mike Massaro

Waterstone’s Piccadilly

Shopping High street Piccadilly

There’s something incredibly homely about each and every Waterstones, and the flagship store on Piccadilly is the best of the lot. The armchair-to-book ratio is pretty special – every corner you turn there’s another nook where you can curl up and thumb through the books you’ve been picking up from the shelves. On the top floor you’ll find a cafe serving, tea, coffee and cakes that you can enjoy with a view over London.

Cosy rating 🔥🔥🔥

More snug spots?


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