If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city then you don’t have to venture too far from west London to find a gorgeous country pub.
While we are in the middle of an almost unprecedented heatwave, why not relax in a pretty pub garden with a cool beer or a glass of wine.
Perhaps you might like to cosy up inside and have a drink with someone special.
Or maybe you want to meet up for a great lunch with the family before heading out to explore the nearby area.
Listed in no particular order, we have suggestions for seven cracking country pubs which you can get to within an hour of west London in good traffic.
The Crown at Bray
Just along the road from his famed restaurant The Fat Duck and his other Michelin starred restaurant, The Hind’s Head, is Heston Blumenthal’s pub, The Crown at Bray.
If you’re a little worried about what food you might get served here, don’t worry, because The Crown is a traditional country pub, serving traditional pub food.
Food is seasonal but you can always get favourites like beer battered fish and chips and Herford beefburger.
Inside, the 16th century building is olde worlde with beams and a roaring fire in the winter.
In the summer, though, you’ll probably want to be outside where there is a courtyard and a big garden which was extensively refurbished in 2017.
As you enter the garden there is the outdoor barbecue kitchen and bar with rattan furniture and large wooden tables that seat up to 10.
Outdoor diners can tuck into a separate garden menu with food cooked on the barbecue, including the signature spit-roasted pineapple basted in apple caramel sauce.
Address: High Street, Bray, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 2AH
The King's Arms, Cookham
There are several pubs in the Berkshire village of Cookham to choose from with a great reputation for food.
We’ve chosen to focus on The King's Arms, which scores four out of five on TripAdvisor and has the travel website's reviewers raving about its big back garden.
In the summer a marquee is put up, where this year it has been showing World Cup games.
The pub also hosts two parties each summer, starting at noon in the garden and going on until late.
The King’s Arms is child-friendly and there is plenty of car parking too.
You might call in for a light bite or a three-course meal, or maybe head there for Sunday lunch in the relaxed and stylish surroundings of the 17th century coaching inn.
Cookham isn’t far from the Thames so it’s a great place for a stroll after dinner.
Other pubs in Cookham to check out are The White Oak, The Crown, The Old Swan Uppers, Bel and the Dragon and The Ferry.
Address: High Street, Cookham, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 9SJ
The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green
If you are looking for a really, really old pub then this has to be it, for The Royal Standard of England has the title of England’s oldest freehouse pub.
There are ancient wooden doors, medieval tiled floors, log fires in the winter, bare bricks, wooden beams and hops and treasure adoring the walls and ceilings.
You’ll find a nook or cranny to cosy up in with family and friends as you enjoy a drink or hearty meal – and food is served all day.
Outside is a large garden which wraps around the pub. You can sit there into the evening but there is also plenty of shade provided too. The pub has plans to extend the garden.
There are a couple of countryside walks that begin and end at the pub and dogs and children are welcome.
The pub is a 15-minute drive from the M40 (junction 2) and there is a large car park.
Address: Forty Green, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 1XT
The Jolly Cricketers, Seer Green
This Victorian pub near the market town of Beaconsfield, is the hub of Seer Green and is run and owned by locals Chris and Amanda Lillitou.
If you have been out exploring the Buckinghamshire countryside, your muddy boots and dogs are welcome in the main bar or in the garden. There are dog bowls and homemade dog biscuits for your pet too.
It’s a relaxed informal setting to eat food created by head chef Matt Lyons, who has worked at restaurants ranging from Soho House in London to The Porthminster Beach Café in Cornwall.
There is live music on Sundays at around 4.30 to 5.30pm.
Address: Chalfont Road, Seer Green, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2YG
The Coach and Horses, Rickmansworth
Rickmansworth, in Hertfordshire, is within a short drive of much of west London, making this pub a fairly quick escape from the city.
If you want to drink you can get the Tube all the way to Rickmansworth via the Bakerloo and Metropolitan line and then it is about an eight-minute walk to The Coach and Horses.
The pub dates from at least 1722 and used to belong to Salters brewery so it is rich in history and the building is full of character with high-beamed ceilings and exposed brickwork.
In the winter you can cosy up around the fire but in the summer you might want to eat outside in the part-paved and part-artificial-grass garden.
Out here is a dining area which is heated for chilly evenings and an area with garden sofas for relaxing.
Address: High Street, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, WD3 1ER
The Crown, Little Missenden
If you want to hide away in a traditional pub then you might like to seek out The Crown.
Tucked away on a pretty country lane in the village of Little Missenden, not far from Amersham, is this country cottage pub which is recommended in the Good Pub Guide.
The 300-year-old pub has been in the family for more than 90 years and is traditional and cosy inside with quarry tile and oak wood floors and just one bar.
Outside there is a pretty and tranquil cottage style garden where the flowers bloom in summer. You can sit on the patio area or the grass lawn.
If you are into your beers, The Crown, which was named Pub of the Year in 2016 by the Mid Chiltern branch of Camra, is a good place to sample some brews – they have got a changing array of guest beers on.
Food is traditional pub food, not gastro style dining and is served at lunchtime only between noon and 2pm, but not on Sundays. There is a big selection of sandwiches, jacket potatoes, salads, varieties of ploughman’s and hot dishes like steak and ale pie, Cornish pasties and the speciality Bucks Bite.
Dogs are allowed inside if they are well behaved. Children are allowed in the garden but not inside the pub because there isn’t enough room.
Address: Highmore Cottages, Little Missenden, Buckinghamshire, HP7 0RD
The Alford Arms, Frithsden
The Alford Arms is nestled in the secluded wooded Frithsden Valley near Hemel Hempstead, with the Ashridge Forest on its doorstep, the Chiltern Hills not far away and even a vineyard behind the pub.
This means it is a great spot if you have been out walking or if you fancy burning off a few calories after your meal.
Dogs, children and muddy boots are all welcome and it is a popular destination on cycling and walking routes.
You might book a table in the elegant dining room or choose to eat in the front parlour.
In the summer, you could eat out on the pretty terrace patio out the front – you don’t need to book a table to eat out here but it is popular so you’re advised to arrive early.
Beers include local brews from Chiltern and Tring breweries.
Address: Frithsden, near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 3DD