London inns: The Big Six

From London's original gin palace to Clapham's Windmill
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The Independent Travel

The Pilot, Greenwich

A short stroll from the O2 Arena and Emirates Air Line cable car, sits this recently-refurbished pub with rooms. Housed within a building that dates back to the 1800s (which appeared in Blur's 'Parklife' video), it features an all-new bar and open-plan restaurant that serves upmarket dishes such as venison loin carpaccio from the New Forest and rock oysters from the Essex coast. The eclectic downstairs space displays mismatched mirrors, terracotta lamps, an antique globe and a paved outdoor space with covered seating booths. Up top, there's also a roof terrace for summer months. Check in for the night to find quirky, comfortable rooms, with contrasting fabrics and contemporary art prints.

The Pilot, 68 River Way, Greenwich SE10 0BE (020 8858 5910; Doubles from £70, B&B.

The Windmill, Clapham

This locals' favourite on the south side of Clapham Common has recently added some rather smart rooms. Warm, wood-panelled walls blend with thick blankets and stacked bed cushions, with free-standing tubs in some of the larger suites and four-posters in others. Downstairs, the pub's beamed roof is wrapped with tangled plants, which reach down to worn leather sofas. Book a table to sample beef from the Quantock Hills and free-range chicken from the West Country.

The Windmill, Clapham Common, Clapham SW4 9DE (020 8673 4578; Doubles from £129, B&B.

The Dog & Fox, Wimbledon

In the heart of Wimbledon Village, the area's oldest pub has recently added 17 rooms. Converted from former staff quarters, the new additions follow the same country-house theme as the pub downstairs. Tartan headboards, fur throws and oak-panelled walls mix with the requisite dogs and foxes peeking out from picture frames or side tables. Cocktails liven up the bar menu, where white Russians appear alongside Dorset lamb and Cumberland sausages.

The Dog & Fox, Wimbledon SW19 5EA (020 8946 6565; Doubles from £119, room only.

The Fox & Anchor, Smithfield

Dating back to the Victorian era, London's original gin palace is on fighting form. Tucked away behind Smithfield Market, it features restored mahogany doors, etched glass and heavy brass that hints at the pub's past. At the back is The Fox's Den – three cosy wooden booths, which can be reserved or nabbed if they happen to be free. Upstairs, six sumptuous rooms nod to local landmarks, including nearby Charterhouse, one of London's longest-serving almshouses.

The Fox & Anchor, Smithfield EC1M 6AA (020 7250 1300; Doubles from £123, room only.

The Bull and The Hide, Bishopsgate

Opposite Liverpool Street station, you'll find two pubs for the price of one. Walk through the doors of The Bull, for British lunches and Sunday roasts, or head upstairs to The Hide, for its formal 36-seat restaurant and newly-added rooms. Both are operated by the Hush Heath winery in Kent, meaning that wine – rather than beer – tops the drinks menu. Bedrooms feature Miller Harris toiletries, while suites have access to a complimentary pantry, stocked with daily treats.

The Bull and The Hide, Bishopsgate EC2M 4RH (020 7655 4805; Doubles from £150, B&B.

The Tommyfield, Kennington

Provenance plays an important role at The Tommyfield. Named after Oldham's Tommyfield Market – site of Britain's first fish-and-chip shop – it features a fish-focused menu, sourced from sustainable suppliers around the English coast. The pub has also teamed up with Locks Drove Farm in Hampshire to rear free-range chickens, lambs and old-spot pigs. Upstairs, six newly-styled rooms come with roll-top baths and Nespresso machines.

The Tommyfield, Kennington SE11 4EZ (020 7735 1061; Doubles from £119, B&B.