9 cosy pubs in Devon to warm up in this winter
PUBLISHED: 09:42 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:58 08 March 2019
As the winter begins to close in, there's nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon's many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather
1) The Cott Inn, Dartington
Listed as one of Britain’s best 30 pubs by the Telegraph, The Cott has been licensed since 1320 and is possibly the quintessential image of what a sleepy country pub should look like.
If you’ve been exploring the south-eastern corner of Dartmoor National Park, the pub’s thatched roof, open fire and menu lead by pies and locally-caught fish will be an attractive remedy to the elements. It’s also just a 40-minute walk from Totnes, so bring the pooch along and rest up with a pint before making the return journey to the medieval market town.
2) Church House Inn, Rattery
Not far from The Cott is the Church House Inn, brimming with nearly 1000 years of character and history. Although much of the pub was built in the 16th century, the place has been a welcoming haunt for generations and remnants of the original 1028 building still remain.
After getting a pint at the gnarled wooden bar, get settled next to the open fire, peruse a carefully considered menu of staple dishes – you can’t go wrong with a ploughmans or pork bap – and simply soak up the warm, comforting atmosphere. It’s clearly so welcoming that even the resident ghost won’t leave!
3) The Poltimore Arms, Yarde Down
With no mains electricity, a small shop attached to the building and a famously eccentric, piano-playing landlord, this 13th century pub in Exmoor is a true throwback and one that has to be seen to be believed.
An enormous fireplace dominates the interior, providing considerable warmth for yourself, Fred the local cat and the collection of friendly locals populating the bar area. It’s also green in more than one sense of the word: not only does it have an unusually low energy consumption, the frontage is ivy-clad – a feature that will aid you in locating this relatively remote establishment.
4) The Flintlock Inn, Marsh
Just northeast of Honiton off the A303, this village pub is waiting to welcome you in and warm you up with both a wood burner and a gas fire. Once you’ve nestled into a bar where period stone features mix seamlessly with newer design touches, you may notice food coming out and the ensuing temptation will be hard to resist.
An extensive menu caters for a variety of needs – vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose intolerant options are on offer – so nobody need miss out on the hearty, consistently brilliant dining options. One reviewer even said the chicken and leek pie was the best they’ve ever had – high praise indeed.
5) Royal Oak Inn, Meavy
Facing out onto Meavy’s green and the ancient oak that was shortlisted to be England’s best tree for 2017, this 16th century pub is based within Dartmoor and a nice finishing point following a stroll around the beautiful Burrator reservoir.
Exposed beams, a log fire and original slate flooring provide the backdrop to the list of reliable pub favourites on offer and you may even end up sat on a former pew from the nearby church. You have to try a pint of Meavy Oak Ale, a tipple created specially for the pub.
6) The Oxenham Arms, South Zeal
This gorgeous, ivy-covered former monastery is over 840 years old and is packed with as much history as you might expect. The highlight of this rich past is the 5000-year-old Neolithic granite menhir, a standing stone within the snug area that alone makes this Dartmoor village pub a location of considerable historical intrigue.
It has also reportedly been visited by Charles Dickens and Sir Francis Drake and it’s not hard to envision those two figures warming up in front of the 1477 bar’s log fire with a refreshing pint of real ale or a roast rump of locally-sourced lamb.
7) The Hoops Inn, Clovelly
As you’re exploring the North Devon coast by the A39 Atlantic Highway, stop off at this welcoming grade-II listed village pub. The thatched roof, bright exterior and colourful hanging baskets immediately signal to you that this is a place where you will be able to find comfort or hide from the British weather.
The interior is just as inviting, with a variety of nooks and stone-walled rooms allowing you to be as public or private as you wish. Each corner of the building is oozing with history and warmed by log fires, providing you a cosy atmosphere to enjoy The Hoops’ locally-sourced menu.
8) Hole in the Wall, Torquay
As the seaside town’s oldest pub, its low ceilings, wooden beams and listed cobbled floors have no doubt seen some things since it became a pub in 1540. The pub is proud to have welcomed ‘smugglers, men of the sea, businessmen, locals and visitors alike’ over the years and you can certainly feel the history of the place.
A large range of regular ales on offer – Otter bitter, Butcombe and Jail Ale to name a few – are supported by a regularly changing roster of delicious real ales from the county. The menu is simple and free from frills but hearty enough for when you need to get away from the coastal weather.
9) Victoria Inn, Salcombe
It may well be its reputation as a dining pub that justifiably wins the awards and attention, but owners Tim and Liz – who’ve been running it since 2008 – recognise that it’s still a pub where a pint of Salcombe’s Best is just as important as the exquisite pan fried sea bass with crab butter.
Modern design elements are mixed in tastefully with older features like the stone fireplace and wooden beams, striking the balance that allows them to be a traditional local and a fine dining venue. Upstairs, comfier seating provides a nice contrast for tired travellers or dog-walkers when the downstairs pillowed benches just aren’t enough.