Get cozy and warm with the best places to drink mulled wine, cloudy cider, festive cocktails and hot toddies in west London, including Kensington and Chelsea
1 The Windsor Castle, Kensington
A traditional neighbourhood boozer, The Windsor Castle’s cozy wooden interior takes you back to quainter times. You’ll need to duck the beams to find a seat in one of the sectioned-off areas but this merely adds to the pub’s charm. Known for its homemade house tipples, you’ve come to the right place for a selection of devilishly good winter warmers. Choose from mulled wine, a hot toddy or spiced cider – made with a cloudy cider, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and honey, it will give you an all-over winter glow.
114 Campden Hill Road, Kensington W8 7AR; 020 7243 8797; thewindsorcastlekensington.co.uk
2 The Prince Bonaparte, Westbourne Park
Located five minutes from Portobello Market, this listed 19th century pub is a wonderful haven for festive tipples. Its recent refurbishment sees a 1920s style steel bar as its centrepiece, while the new booths with plush seating are the place to get a little merry with a few mulled wines. Each one is made with red wine, sweet orange zest and warm spices like cinnamon, cloves and vanilla.
80 Chepstow Road, Westbourne Park W2 5BE; 020 7313 9491; metropolitanpubcompany.com
3 Natural History Museum, Kensington
As picturesque backdrops go, the Natural History Museum’s ice rink takes some beating. A majestic Christmas tree that is resplendent with fairy lights makes for a romantic setting, while wafts of spiced mulled wine will tempt you away to the warm interior of the adjacent café. Here you can enjoy a glass or two with a perfect birdseye view of the rink from the café’s balcony.
For tickets visit nhm.ac.uk
4 The Jam Tree, Chelsea
Already revered for its eclectic and bespoke cocktail list, it’s little surprise that The Jam Tree has created a special winter ‘hot-tail’ menu of seven delicious-sounding hot cocktails. Try the Coco Shake: a creamy concoction of Bacardi rum, banana liquor, double cream and apricot jam combined with a shot of espresso coffee and a generous helping of melted Nutella spread. Alternatively the Black Moonshine – Disaronno Amaretto, Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum and cloudy apple juice, heated and mixed with a spoon of blackcurrant jam – sounds like the perfect tonic for night-owls. £8.50-£9.50.
541 King’s Road SW6 2EB; 020 3397 3739; thejamtree.com
5 Hakkasan, Hanway Place, Fitzrovia
Hakkasan’s original Hanway Place location now offers an indulgent Sunday dim sum afternoon starting at £58 per person (including alcohol) for a six-course menu that encompasses a range of delights including Chilean sea bass, jasmine tea smoked ribs and baked venison. Order it with a Ruby Warmer: a woozy blend of brandy, port, cinnamon, nutmeg and liquorice bitters.
8 Hanway Place, W1; hakkasan.com
6 The Waterway, Maida Vale
The Waterway’s Winter Warmers menu is generous. Not only does the restaurant boast a secret recipe for its mulled wine (red wine, spice, winter fruits plus other ingredients), there are four other equally enticing drinks for adventurous drinkers to try. In addition to a Warm Cider Calvados, there is the Grand Symphony (Mozart, Martell, Muscat, sugar syrup and milk), Hansel & Gretal (Bacardi Oakheart, gingerbread, milk and honey) and the sweet-sounding Ginger Butter (Tuaca, butterscotch, milk, nuts, coconut and vanilla). £6-£8.50 per drink.
The Waterway, 54 Formosa Street W9 2JU; 020 7266 3557; thewaterway.co.uk
7 Scandi-Bird bar at Bluebird Chelsea, Chelsea
Once again Chelsea’s Bluebird Café is turning its courtyard into a small quarter of Scandinavia with its winter pop-up bar, Scandi-Bird. Enjoy a relaxed and super pretty setting that features tealights and candles, reindeer skins and Christmas trees. Traditional mulled wine and Belvedere cocktails are available. If this gets you in the mood for further festivities, the main bar inside has a more elaborate menu of Christmas cocktails. We love the sound of the Festive Frangel-Ice, £12.50, which comprises Absolute Orient vodka, Solerno blood orange liqueur, Frangelico, muddled frozen cranberry and fresh clementine, caramel syrup and chocolate bitters served in a chocolate cup floating on a bed of ice – yum!
Now until 27 December. 350 King’s Road SW3 5UU; 020 7559 1000; bluebird-restaurant.co.uk
8 The Churchill Arms, Kensington
This pub is known for its especially good mulled wine. Combined with the ubiquitous fairy lights, the fireplaces and small snug quarters, you’ll soon find yourself unable to leave and sampling an equally delicious Irish coffee or hot toddy for good measure too. Winston Churchill’s grandparents were regulars, hence its name, and it’s fun to peruse the memorabilia dotted around the rooms.
The Churchill Arms, 119 Kensington Church Street W8 7LN; 020 7792 1246; churchillarmskensington.co.uk
9 Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but there’s no denying that Winter Wonderland serves an excellent glass of spiced mulled wine for those in the know. Head to the Alpine Lodge for a cosy fireside setting with a broader selection of drinks to help you get merry before hitting the Christmas markets.
Hyde Park W2 2ET; hydeparkwinterwonderland.com