A pub with a long literary history, the Anglesea Arms was a favourite of both Charles Dickens and DH Lawrence. Today it’s a traditional, if incredibly upmarket, pub with a loyal local following and great outdoor space.
The Anglesea Arms is as South Kensington as it’s possible to get. It’s located within a beautiful old building that has been around since the 1700s, painted in gleaming white with original period features. Sat on a corner, the front and side of the building are lined with chairs and benches for when the summer shows its face and it’s probably the nicest roadside terrace in the capital, surrounded by trees and shrubbery.
Inside, this pub is like something out of a storybook – probably why it was so favoured by literary greats. Rich red woods cover every surface with a real sense of history, despite being kept in incredibly good shape – shabby chic this is not. Leather booth seating mixes with simple wooden chairs and tables for a relaxing pub look. There is a separate dining area for those looking to enjoy a more substantial meal, but it’s still in keeping with the overall smart but relaxed pub aesthetic.
Anglesea Arms attracts the sorts of upmarket locals you just don’t get in other areas of London. Think well-heeled professionals who live or work nearby. In the summer, the few outdoor tables are likely to be full-to-bursting by the time 5.30pm rolls around so be prepared to stand, and in the winter the drinking area quickly becomes full in the evenings, particularly on a Thursday or Friday night. The dining area is reserved for those eating, and it seems that lots of people go for this option to rest weary feet and fill rumbling bellies. This most certainly is not the sort of place you visit after scraping back your hair and throwing on a hoody before catching up with mates over a quick pint.
There’s a simple menu on offer at the Anglesea Arms, which ‘poshes up’ traditional favourites. For example, fish and chips becomes beer battered cod with pea puree, chips and tartare (£12.95) while a burger becomes a cheeseburger with chilli jam, caramelised onion and hand cut chips (£11.95). If you prefer something a little more refined then there are also dishes like grilled seabass with braised fennel, sautéed potato and a balsamic reduction (£15.25).
Anglesea Arms has a good choice of real ale on tap, with six available at any one time, including AAA, Sharp's Doom Bar, Sambrook's Wandle and Adnams Broadside alongside two regularly rotating ales. Alongside this, is a decent wine list with a skew towards French reds at some surprisingly good prices – the Syrah Grenache, St-Cirice 2010 is just £19.50. Not bad for this area.
The Last Word
Anglesea Arms is a real beauty of a pub. With a rich history and good selection of ale and posh pub nosh should the need take you, visiting South Kensington for a drink may not be as expensive as you feared.