Most of us love a tipple at Christmas and we’re fortunate to have a whole host of pubs to choose from across Herts. Whether it’s a traditional local tavern or a trendy bar, we like to think our county caters for all.
Given the last couple of years we’ve all endured, and the hardships our best-loved pubs have faced, we thought it’s time we shouted about a few. We boast plenty of award-winning pubs, landlords who do some outstanding work within the local community and many who are ready to welcome us with open arms at one of the happiest times of the year.
In the true spirit of this festive season, here’s a selection of 12 pubs for 12 days of Christmas. Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any other great pubs in mind or love these!
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The Boot, St Albans
The Boot in St Albans is set at the heart of the Cathedral Quarter. It’s popular for its real ales, craft beers and homemade food that’s all prepared and cooked by its head chef.
Run by the Hughes Family for over 12 years, it was the winner of best pub in St Albans back in 2015 at The St Albans Food and Drink Awards and awarded a place in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for the 11th year running in 2016. All its food is locally sourced using local butchers and local Hedge’s Farm.
It’s well worth a visit and you can find out more information here.
The Bell Inn, Bovingdon
The Bell Inn in Bovingdon is a traditional 18th century country dining pub that serves freshly prepared food and chefs specials. Over the Christmas period, there will be a festive menu with all the classic holiday dishes – and of course a festive tipple for you to enjoy.
Booking is advised for meals as there’s only a small kitchen and all food is cooked fresh to order. Find out more information here.
Prae Wood Arms, St Albans
The Prae Wood Arms in St Albans is set inside a spectacular manor house, providing the perfect spot to sip on its wide range of cask ales, wines and gins – there are 80 to choose from. That’ll see you through the festive season for sure.
The house was built in 1838 for Lady Frances Cooke Grimston who referred to it as a ‘little cottage’, but there’s nothing little about this pub. There’s a stone terrace overlooking the grass lawns which slope down to the River Ver for a true taste of Hertfordshire.
The Prae Wood Arms was also awarded a Good Pub Guide Beer and Wine Awards this year and isn’t one to miss this Christmas. Find out more information here.
Two Brewers, Potters Bar
The Two Brewers is a traditional country pub located between Potters Bar and Cuffley. The well-loved pub is currently serving a festive menu until December 23 with roast beef, turkey and salmon with all the trimmings – including honey roasted parsnips, carrots and goose fat roasties to really get your taste buds tingling.
They also offer a good selection of vegetarian options too. It’s also in the top 10 of Hertfordshire’s best pubs and restaurants to order a Sunday roast dinner according to TripAdvisor, so the reviews speak for themselves. Find out more information here.
The Fox & Hounds, Hunsdon
The Fox & Hounds in Hunsdon is another beautiful pub in our county. It offers award-winning seasonal food from chef James Rix.
Imaginative food with rustic Italian and French influences is served from this family-run pub, and it’s received a Michelin BIB Gourmand every year since 2012 – an acknowledgement by the Michelin guide of good quality, good value cooking.
Find out more here.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans
A Herts pub guide wouldn’t be complete without Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, would it? The St Albans pub is believed to be Britain’s oldest – and you can’t get grander than that this Christmas season.
It’s running a festive menu which includes an award-winning turkey crown, slow-cooked shin of beef or mushroom pithivier, among other Christmas delights. Find out more information here.
Alford Armsy, Frithsden
Located in Frithsden, this multi-award-winning country beer house offers diners the chance to enjoy high-quality food and beverages. The pub is close to Ashridge Forest which is stunning all year round.
Its website says: “With open log fires, smart decorations, mulled wine and a warm hint of spice in the air, you can’t doubt how much we enjoy celebrating the Festive season. In fact, from seasonal robust cooking through to Carols on Christmas Eve, it’s not only Good King Wenceslas who has cornered the market in hospitality!”
It’ll be a fine place to relax and unwind with family or friends. Find out more information here.
The Old Barge, Hertford
Another great pub where you can sit and watch the boats and ducks go by is at The Old Barge in Hertford. Their website states that they are currently only taking bookings for up to eight guests due to staff shortages and stock issues.
However, with a Full English, Eggs Benedict and waffles, its Christmas brunch menu looks a real treat. Find out more information here.
The Paper Mill, Apsley
Now, this pub is a true delight. Situated in Apsley, it’s right near the marina and is popular with people across the county.
There’s plenty of space, and there’s an impressive terrace overlooking the canal too. That’s not to mention the warm log fires inside as well.
It’s known for excellent pub food, great ales and friendly service. Find out more information here.
The Cricketers, Rickmansworth
This quintessentially British pub can be found in Rickmansworth, overlooking a green in the heart of Sarratt village. It’s interlinked, well-decorated rooms give The Cricketers a homely feel with memorabilia hangs on the walls and there’s not one but two open fires.
As well as local bitters and guests from local breweries, there’s also a large selection of malt whiskies and gins. Perfect for a festive tipple. Find out more information here.
Cock O’ the North, Hatfield
Cock O’ the North in Hatfield is a proper English pub with a large beer garden and is beautiful at this time of year. According to McMullen, the name is of unknown origin.
“Since the building’s deeds bear a covenant from 1936 demanding that the Cock O’ the North ‘be not built as an asylum’ there is clearly some colourful history attached to the place! What we can be sure of, though, is delivering Seriously Relaxed Dining,” the website says.
Sounds fine with us! Find out more information here.
The Fisherman, Stevenage
The Fisherman is on the outskirts of Stevenage and can be found just in front of a conservation area. It’s a great walking spot before coming to the pub for food and drinks.
Its festive menu is served Monday-Sunday throughout December, and more information can be found here.
Is there another pub not on this list that you love visiting at this time of year? Sign up here and let us know in the comments below.