During chilly February, why not indulge in some of our favourite warming rewards? Our experts give their insider tips
This fun, child-friendly venue has décor hilariously over the top, with giant flower-covered cakes in the downstairs shop and a huge red-walled café upstairs. Enjoy a decadent hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and crammed with marshmallows. www.choccywoccydoodah.com
Named Best British Chocolatier four years in a row (2007-11), this top patissier has also worked for numerous Michelin-starred chefs. Enjoy the best of both worlds at the Dessert Bar (open Sat-Sun) of his Belgravia store. Try the chilli hot chocolate. www.williamcurley.com
The Arch London
This hotel bar, closer to Oxford Street, makes a perfect stop when you’re ‘shopped out’. For a novel way to re-energise and enjoy that warming feeling, try their Joie de Vivre hot cocktail, with flamed Drambuie liqueur, fresh winter berries and hot apple juice. www.thearchlondon.com
This new bar specialises in concocting its own infusions. The very tempting Hot Stuff Baby is a mix of citrus-infused vodka, egg white, stem ginger and red chilli, a real favourite ingredient this season. www.barsmith.co.uk
Ivy Market & Grill
At this latest outlet of the famous Ivy restaurant, you'll find a classic winter warmer: shepherd's pie. It's the signature dish here, an excellent version of the minced lamb topped with tasty mashed potato. www.theivymarketgrill.com
Winner of the Tea Guild’s afternoon tea award in 2013, this is a good choice to enjoy the quintessentially English afternoon tea. Salt beef and horseradish mayo sandwiches and mini sherry trifles even come complete with leather banquettes and a roaring fire. The century-old hotel reopens after a major refurbishment on 21 February. www.thegoring.com
There’s no better way to start the day with a kick than with a English breakfast – the ultimate in comfort food. The Wolseley (a few doors down from Fortnum and Mason) full English is a hearty plate of egg, bacon, sausage, tomato and black pudding, or try the Eggs Benedict.
London’s oldest restaurant Rules has been serving English classics such as game, pies and puddings since 1798 and was the dining venue of choice for Charles Dickens and Margaret Thatcher, among others. Try warming favourites such as steak and kidney pie or wild boar and mushroom pie.
This is the venue for some earthy, and a real Cockney classic: pie and mash. The was established in 1902 by Michael Manze, the current owner’s grandfather. It uses the same recipes for pies and since the early days for its pies made with fresh minced beef, cooked in traditional stone ovens. If you want to taste something really traditional, try the succulent jellied eels. www.manze.co.uk
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
Dickens was also a regular at this 17th-century pub in the City, popular for its quirky, old fashioned interiors that date back to its former years as a Carmelite monastery. Head down the small alleyway and find a space next to the roaring fire for a no-nonsense pint.
Gordon's Wine Bar
It's been a popular venue for over a century – even if it's difficult to spot and even more difficult to find a spare table. Perenially popular with the after-work crowd, cosy up in this cellar bar lit only by candlelight, and choose from its many speciality wines.
It also has a fire – yet it’s a world away from ‘ye olde’ pubs. Inside the newly opened Rosewood Hotel, this smart bar is for grown ups, with deep leather armchairs, bookshelves, sophisticated cocktails and bar snacks. A real bonus are the original murals of famous Brits, created by the caricaturist Gerald Scarfe.