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6 of the cosiest pubs in Berkshire

PUBLISHED: 12:02 06 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:45 23 February 2018

A warm welcome awaits in the new look Henry VI

A warm welcome awaits in the new look Henry VI


There really is nothing more welcoming than a Berkshire bar with fires to keep you cosy

Henry VI, Eton

At first glance, a pub in the historic high street called after Eton College’s most prestigious alumni society and England’s youngest ever King having a new menu built around pizza might seem incongruous. But that’s what you’ll find here after a refurb which makes the most of original wooden beams and the original brick hearth, filled with a roaring fire. And we’re not taking any old pizza, as the stone-baked bases feature toppings such as sirloin steak, smoked salmon or porchetta and apple, all under £10, with delicious garlic bread choices and desserts if you have room, available until 10pm each day.

The cosy and comforting new look offers plenty of nooks and crannies to kick back in, whether you’re popping in for a pint or taking it easy on a Sunday afternoon. Take your pick from a variety of wood-topped tables or head to the secret pub garden on warmer days. Come summertime, the garden will come to life with weekly barbecues. Gin fans will be delighted with the premium choices and there’s a decent list of worldly wines. Or choose from a wide range of cask and craft beers available on tap or from the fridge including local brews from Windsor and Eton Brewery or opt for a creative cocktail concoction.

37 High Street, Eton, SL4 6BD

Hinds Head, Bray

Heston Blumenthal’s 15th century pub in the heart of the village is full of cosy corners and a spot close to an open fire on a cold day will warm you up alongside a menu built around British cuisine since Tudor times. So you’ll find mains such as oxtail and kidney pudding or free range Jimmy Butler pork with pearl barley and wheat beer. Steaks come from Hereford prime beef herds and the sides pay homage to tradition with choices like curried parsnips with chestnuts and bacon.

Save space for a tremendous cheeseboard or desserts such as Quaking pudding (a classic Elizabethan sweet that shakes like a jelly), treacle tart or caramelised butter loaf with apple. Wash it down with a beer from one of the local micro-breweries or enjoy one of the rare spirits they hunt down from around the world. There’s also an excellent cocktail menu which keeps with the traditional theme, courtesy of choices featuring the likes of rhubarb, elderflower, bramble and raspberry.

High Street, Bray SL6 2AB

The Swan, Pangbourne

With three open fires and oak beams, frosty winter nights are swiftly forgotten at this 17th century listed pub overlooking the Thames.

Dishes such as game pie, pork belly or steak ensure there’s a warming feast to have here and the cheeseboard often includes award-winning favourites such as our local Barkham Blue and creamy extra mature Cheddar in the form of Black Bomber from The Snowdonia Cheese Company.

Shooters Hill, Pangbourne RG8 7DU

Royal Oak, Paley Street

Find a spot beside the hearth here at this cosy 17th century pub restaurant and any frost outside will be swiftly forgotten. The Michelin star menu is also an obvious attraction with its emphasis on satisfying British food. Lunch, available Monday to Saturday, offers two courses for £25, three courses for £30, and Sunday lunch can be a ‘push the boat out’ experience, coming in at around £50 a person for some fabulous choices.

It’s a great option if you have gluten-free guests in your party as many dishes are, or can be made, gluten free and it’s not used in any of their sauces or gravy.

Littlefield Green, near Maidenhead SL6 3JN

The Bladebone Inn, Chapel Row

Another Sunday lunch special in the countryside with open fires and a sunny conservatory. As well as traditional roasts with all the trimmings (including a veggie option) there are choices for smaller appetites. Try the cheeseboard of Barkham Blue, Cornish Yarg, Oxford Blue and Smoked Applewood.

Sunday lunch runs until 4.30pm and on the first Sunday of every month it is followed by live acoustic music from 5 to 7pm.

Chapel Row, Bucklebury RG7 6PD 

The Shoulder of Mutton, Playhatch

There’s a welcoming open fire here as well as conservatory to dine in on sunny days. It’s a good choice for family outings as the menu is varied and there’s a large walled cottage garden. Sunday lunch is exceptionally popular, so make sure you book.

This could well be down to superb roasts being very good value at £11.50, additional options (specials and vegetarian) plus delicious desserts for £5.95.

Playhatch, Reading RG4 9QU


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