Whether you are after a traditional establishment to sup a pint after work or an all-out glamorous venue to dance the night away we have rounded up our top pick of the best pubs in Essex to see in the festive season...


The Blue Boar

No one does 'festive' like The Blue Boar, Abridge. This boutique venue with that 'local pub restaurant' feel, has a warm welcome as you arrive, a wide range of real ales and fine wines, stunning seasonal dishes cooked to perfection using locally sourced produce as well as a special festive menu. 

Throughout Christmas, The Blue Boar also plays host to a series of live music and tribute nights - a brilliant night out of good food, great service, with great entertainment.

In December you can really get in the festive mood with 'Bottomless Prosecco' for just £10 per person when dining from the festive menu.

Market Place, Abridge RM4 1UA  

Tel: 01992 812110 www.theblueboarabridge.co.uk


The Three Colts

The Three Colts is a family run pub in Buckhurst Hill serving great food and a relaxed feel. The inside of the pub has been beautifully renovated to include a bar area, separate dining room and also a cosy snug, the perfect hideaway for the coming winter months.

They place an emphasis on having no DJs or entertainment and simply strive to provide a great place to eat, drink and socialise – exactly how a great local pub should be.

Children are welcomed until 8pm and also four legged friends are welcome if well behaved and kept on a lead. 

There is also a nice sized beer garden and patio for the warmer months which includes a toddlers’ play area.

It is advisable to book ahead for dining at weekends, especially on Sundays when they serve their famous Sunday Roasts!

54 Princes Rd, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5EE

Tel: 0208 504 0407 www.thethreecolts.com  0208 504 0407


The Garnon Bushes

Set just outside Epping, in the forest village of Coopersale, The Garnon Bushes is a lovely independently managed pub serving delicious homemade food and entertaining the locals with various themed nights throughout each month.

Mark and Polly took over just a couple of years back but have transformed the venue into a beautiful retreat to unwind in if you’re looking for a warm atmosphere and a great service.

 On the first Wednesday of each month they have a themed food night, whether it be Thai, Chinese, Irish or American (just a few recent examples) and they also have lots of live music to create a great evening out.

The pub itself is over 100 years old and beautifully decorated with flowers, with both a front a rear garden for customers to enjoy. Inside there’s a broad selection of beers and ales, along with wines and spirits.

The venue has a rustic homely feel with a fireplace and exposed brick, yet also has modern benefits such as Wi-Fi, so it’s the best of both worlds. The next time you’re travelling by Epping, take a slight detour and make sure you pop in!

13 Coopersale Common, Epping CM16 7QS

Tel: 01992 560 211 www.garnonbushes.co.uk


The Cricketers

Nestled just outside town, in the leafy suburb of Woodford Green. This hidden gem has been part of the McMullen family of inns since 1898.

Sit inside and enjoy the ambience of this traditional two bar pub with its Winston Churchill memorabilia or relax outside and people-watch when the weather permits – perhaps after a stroll in the beautiful Epping Forest. You’ll be pleased to hear that well-behaved dogs are every bit as welcome as their owners! They hold regular Music nights, with a variety of musical styles. Magic Monday is held on the first Monday of the month and is up close and personal. Sunday night is Quiz night, for a fun, relaxed way to finish off the weekend! Weekly in-pub games include, ‘Win-A-Bar-Tab’ and the ‘Football Predictor’.

There is a a traditional Pub menu, with Roasts on Sunday and a great Senior Citizen deal Monday-Thursday. In the run up to Christmas they also have a great Christmas menu, which can be booked now. Perfect for a bite to eat or supping one of McMullens finest hand-crafted real ales, the Cricketers has one of the highest sales per square foot of McMullen ale in the country – so expect nothing less than perfection!

299-301 High Road, Woodford Green IG8 9HQ

Tel: 020 8504 2734 www.facebook.com/thecricketerswoodford


Theydon Oak

A warm welcome awaits you from the great team at the Theydon Oak, there's something for everyone on their extensive home cooked menu. Food is served seven days a week, with the chef's daily specials using the amazing local produce they have at their disposal - you won't be disappointed. Sunday lunch is a must, four courses for £18.95 and there will also be a delicious festive menu available throughout December.

Theydon Oak is an ideal place to visit, relax and eat with family or friends.

They are currently building a fantastic brand new modern all weather fully enclosed children's playground with a grand opening planned for November 2015.

As a member of Cask Marque, they permanently have 6 real ales on the pumps, fabulous wine list and some rare malt whiskies.

They recently won the Guardian Newspaper's Pub Food Award for 2015 and Epping In Bloom 2015for their stunning floral displays and lovely gardens.

Enjoyable entertainment evenings and truly memorable live music nights are regularly provided and they can also cater for weddings, christenings and much more.

Keep up to date with news and what's on via the website, Twitter and Facebook and give them a call to book your table.

9 Coopersale Street, Epping CM16 7QJ

Tel: 01992 572618 www.thetheydonoak.co.uk   


Kings Oak

The Kings Oak is now firmly back on the map as one of Essex’s top venues for a glamorous night out. It’s regular once a month Glamour over 30’s club night started by DJ Maxim, from the Charlie Chans and Country Club days, and now well into its second sell out year attracts a regular party crowd who love an excuse to glam it up. The next Glamour night is Friday 20th November and the Christmas special on Boxing Day, tickets on sale now.

Last month’s annual Ladies Night was hosted by local singer Joe Fryd with special guest Simon Webbe, ‘Blue’ and ‘Strictly’, and gorgeous butlers from ‘At your Service’ raising money on the night for MACS children’s charity… fun was had by all the lovely ladies!

A special treat guaranteed with a soul night on Thursday 26th November, with Ray Lewis and the Drifters and Gwen Dickey from Rose Royce.

Their legendary Christmas party night season runs throughout December on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Hosting many local company Christmas celebrations and friends nights out, with Peach Bellini cocktail, fabulous Christmas Fayre dinner and DJ and dancing through to 1am. The Kings Oak has a special party night on 18th December with Martin Bell and his all-star band, a special mix of party classics ensures a packed dancefloor!

For details on all Kings Oak events emailinfo@kingsoakhotel.com

Paul's Nursery Road, Loughton IG10 4AE

Tel: 0208 508 5000 www.kingsoakhotel.com


The King’s Head

The results of the enormous building work on Ongar’s High Street were revealed this summer as the doors opened at The King’s Head and customers were able to see the beautiful covered courtyard, the new café restaurant, three small bars, a panelled lounge, the restored function room and the newly extended landscaped garden terrace.

The designers also discovered hidden Inglenook fireplaces, which have been covered up for over a century and are now restored. Also, new panelled wainscoting has been installed much in the manner of the late 18th century plus a 30 seat double-height dining room has been created with its original brickwork and timber framed roof.

Outside with views across the countryside a newly created dining terrace seats 30 guests with seating for a further 30 in the delightful walled garden. This terraced al fresco dining area, leads off the light and spacious Café dining area where a full length open kitchen allows guests to watch fresh handmade pizzas being baked to order in the wood-fired brick pizza oven or mouth-watering, flavoured meats and fish being grilled on the unique charcoal grill.

Head Chef, Neil Papley who moved from the George & Dragon in Epping, commented: “Our beef comes from suckler herds throughout England and Scotland, our pork is outdoor reared along the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts, our lamb comes from Cornwall and our fish is all sustainably sourced from the east and south coasts.”

177 High Street, Chipping Ongar CM5 9JG

Tel: 01442 332603 www.kingsheadongar.co.uk