Find shelter in colder weather in one of Essex’s wonderful cosy pubs. Warm up fireside with a pint of ale and a home-cooked meal and the dog curled up at your feet. Here are 10 places to do just that…

A post shared by Shelley (@tomandhenry) on

1. The Square and Compasses, Fairstead

This traditional countryside pub is believed to date back to 1652 and still retains many of its authentic features today.

With its original features and collection of antique and eclectic furniture it exudes an atmosphere that is homely and comfortable yet still tasteful and aesthetically pleasing.

Relax with a pint of real ale - they serve a wonderful variety from their tap room - and something delicious from the classic pub menu.

Address: Fuller Street, Fairstead, Chelmsford CM3 2BB


A post shared by Alaattin (@alaattin) on

2. The Hoop, Stock

The Hoop was originally three cottages that were used by weavers in 1460 and only became an ale house 450 years ago.

Today, The Hoop is a handsome timber framed pub complete with original brick fireplaces and a large timber bar stacked with a large variety of superb drinks.

To eat we recommend the Toad in the Hoop - the pub's take on the British classic that's cooked from scratch every single time.

With so much commitment to quality in the food and drink department, it's no wonder they regularly feature in many a good pub guide.

Address: 21 High Street, Stock, Ingatestone, CM4 9BD


3. The Bell Inn, Horndon-on-the-Hill

Set in the chocolate box village of Horndon-on-the-Hill, The Bell Inn is a 15th century coaching inn that has been in the same family for over 75 years.

With two bustling bars, an open fire and a traditional pub atmosphere there's no better place to kick back with a few pints of local ale and while away an evening.

The Bell is also a B&B with a range of rooms and deals for dinner and breakfast.

Address: High Road, Horndon on the Hill, Stanford-le-Hope, SS17 8LD


4. The Rose and Crown, Stansted Mountfitchet

The Rose and Crown has been a hub for the community since the 1800s and nestled comfortably on the village green of Bentfield Green, it's an ideal drinking spot for locals and visitors.

Find a comfy seat in front of the wood burning stove, or perch by the side of lively bar area and make the most of the friendly, jovial atmosphere.

The pub is dog-friendly and resident Jack Russell, JD, will always be on hand to give other canine guests a warm welcome.

Address: 31 Bentfield Road, Stansted CM24 8HX


5. The Fox Inn, Finchingfield

With its windmill, church, pond and tearooms, this north-west Essex village is a serene spot for a relaxing winter stroll. Once the legs begin to grow weary, your mind will inevitably turn to where you can sit down, warm up and refuel - that's where the Fox comes in.

Visitors often say it epitomises everything a country pub should be: set behind the village green, the exterior is adorned with alluring greenery and flowers while inside a small fire, well-kept real ales and original 16th century features confirm its status as a 'proper pub'.

Address: The Green, Finchingfield, Braintree CM7 4JX


6. King William IV, Braintree

King William IV is a traditional drinking pub with a huge selection of real cask ales and ciders.

After being closed for a couple of years, the pub reopened in 2009 with a focus on serving quality drinks in a comfortable, casual environment for its patrons.

Although they don't serve hot food you will find an impressive variety of nibbles and snacks served at the bar - the perfect accompaniment to a pint from the in-house Moody Goose Brewery.

Address: 114 London Road, Braintree CM77 7PU


A post shared by Neil Archer (@neilarcherpiano) on

7. The Ash Pub, Burton End Stansted

The Ash in Burton End is a 17th century friendly locals pub known for good beer, good food and an exceptionally warm welcome to all who visit.

It was said to be a favourite for visiting US Air Force pilots during WWII and due to its proximity to Stansted is still popular with pilots today.

Its thatched roof is an immediate sign to passersby that this is a place to warm up after a walk covering ancient tracks that allows you to discover the area's Saxon history.

Address: Bury Lodge Lane, Burton End, Stansted CM24 8UQ


A post shared by Eileen (@mammafamily) on

8 The Owl, Loughton

The Owl in Loughton is a traditional woodland pub found in the heart of Epping Forest.

It has been a McMullen pub since 1898 and serves a huge range of ales which taste even better when they're enjoyed by the side of one of the pub's open fires.

Sheltered by towering trees, you'll begin to be protected from the elements even before stepping foot in the pub after a long walk exploring the expanses of the forest.

As well as being well renowned for delivering consistently delicious roasts, their special doggy menu means the pooch will also be well taken care of.

Address: Lippitts Hill, Waltham Abbey, Loughton IG10 4AL


9. Huntsman & Hounds, Chelmsford

This 16th century countryside pub is the ideal spot for a relaxed weekend drink.

Set in stunning gardens amongst the gorgeous Essex countryside, guests can choose from a huge range of beers, wines and lagers as wells fresh, home cooked food, seven days a week.

Don't be surprised if you bump into a chicken as you enter this rural haunt for a pint of Wibbler's and an evening enjoying a classical, friendly atmosphere.

Address: Green Lane, Chelmsford CM3 6BJ


A post shared by Sue (@the_crown_little_walden) on

10. The Crown, Little Walden

Just two miles from Saffron Walden and only 10 minutes walk from the Home Farm fishing lake, you could quite easily take a stroll back to The Crown for a pint of Adnams after a long afternoon wrestling with your aquatic acquaintances.

With the blackboard menu positioned directly above the open fire, you can decide what freshly-prepared dish you'll indulge in as the bitter cold is gradually replaced by the unmistakable warmth of this cosy pub.

Address: Little Walden, Saffron Walden CB10 1XA


Like what you read? Why not subscribe to Essex Life?