The Woodman

The Woodman

Current owner Tom Helliwell bought The Woodman in 2007 and started a journey to turn a once challenging place into a beautiful traditional pub which incorporates all the parts of what makes a truly magnificent setting to meet friends, family and colleagues.

The vision was to create a place that combines the authentic old style decor with expectations of eating and drinking in a 21st Century London pub. Where possible we serve our guests at the table and offer bar service for those wanting a more traditional experience. We offer a high quality menu where you can choose to share a platter with friends or enjoy an intimate meal with loved ones. We have a wide range of award winning wines from around the world, beers, tea and coffees.

The Woodman has an eclectic feel with five different areas aimed at creating a memorable customer experience. You can either relax by the fireplace on one of our Chesterfield sofas surrounded by beautiful oil paintings, mingle up at the hip bar or enjoy a drink in our award winning outdoor covered lounge. We have outside seating that accommodates up to 280 people with table service.

We’ve been recommended by The London Dogwalking Company as a dog friendly pub. Baby changing and disabled toilets are also available.

Old photo of The Woodman


In the 1810’s a bypass to Highgate village was built on the main road from the north as the mail coaches had difficulty getting up the hill, especially in or after bad weather. On the highest point The Woodman was built which probably included stabling at that time. It was rebuilt on roughly the same foundations in the early part of the next century in the Arts & Crafts style with additional floors. In the 1980’s it had additional toilets and back room added which was used for pool and darts. We added a decked area on the back of the pub in 2009 to increase the outdoor seating and then a roof to part of the area to give alfresco dining for around 60 people in 2012.

The Ashwell Brewery mentioned in one of the photos was a local brewery in the village of Ashwell, Hertfordshire. It is now a museum.

Tom Helliwell

Tom Helliwell

Tom Helliwell’s career in the bar/restaurant trade started early whilst still at school, Helliwell waitered on tables at the local village hall and tennis club in Radlett, Hertfordshire. That progressed to working in many bars and restaurants around the Greek islands as well as a stint at the bar at Elstree Film Studios.

On returning to the UK Helliwell worked at Harry Smiths Wine Bar in St Albans. At the age of 24 he took a sabatical and left the trade for six years with a brief stint in sales and marketing for blue chip companies which led him to Australia. It was at this point his passion in the hospitality industry was reignited in Melbourne, a city that is well known for having the best bar scene in the world.

Returning to the UK once more, Helliwell aquired a position managing Geronimo Inns head office and flagship pub The East Hill. Two years later in 2002 he took ownership of the Prince Arthur in Euston, a run-down pub with a challenging clientele. Helliwell turned the Prince Arthur into what is now a successful and award winning pub. This transformation caught the attention of Heineken who were looking for quality, experienced operators to take the reins of well located, poor trading sites and transform them into a profitable business. From this meeting, the ball started rolling with The Woodman and a long lease was assigned in 2007. A five year goal was set in place to transform The Woodman into an award winning pub. In 2011 Helliwell sold the Prince Arthur in order to focus his efforts on the one pub. In 2012 The Woodman won it’s first award for ‘Best Outdoor Area’ from Star Pubs & Bars and in 2013 Helliwell was nominated for Publican of the Year where he was one of twelve shortlisted.

In addition to The Woodman, Helliwell owns the sports glove deodorizer company Fresh Gloves Limited. Fresh Gloves was born out of frustration to keep sports gloves clean and odour free. Helliwell is a keen kickboxer and struggled to keep his boxing gloves from smelling, a challenge (and often comedic) for any sports person using padded gloves that are difficult to wash. Finding nothing in the market to solve the problem, Helliwell set out and designed, patented, marketed and produced his own sports deodorizer product – probably the best selling sports glove deodorizer in the world. On the back of that he is now entering the world of shoe deodorizers. Helliwell says ‘not everyone owns a pair of boxing gloves, but in todays world there aren’t many people without a pair of shoes’.

He lives in Highgate, London with his partner and two children.