One of the loveliest things about travelling in the UK is the character-filled traditional pub. There’s nothing quite like the charm and atmosphere of an old English pub; and London has some fantastic historic pubs where you can enjoy a pint, a meal, and soak in the historic vibe.
Whether you stay on the fringes or in the heart of the city in bed and breakfast in gower street, London, it’s not too far to find a great London pub. Here are just some of the city’s oldest...
- Ye Olde Mitre, Holborn, est. 1546
Very few buildings that predate the Great Fire of London in 1666 survive, so this is a really special old pub. The first pub on this site was built by Bishop Goodrich, and today the cosy little pub has tiny rooms but is full of character. From Tudor beams to homemade pork pies, this is a sedate little drinking spot popular with bankers.
Located in Rotherhithe, this pub is located in the site of the Shippe, built in 1550, and it is the oldest pub on the Thames (though has been somewhat refurbished). Its name has changed over the years, from Shippe to Spread Eagle to The Crown and finally The Mayflower. A truly beautiful place for a pint.
- The Grapes, Limehouse, est. 1583
Today owned by Sir Ian McKellen, over the centuries this pub has welcomed the likes of Sir Walter Raleigh, Samuel Pepys, and Charles Dickens. It was a local for labourers from the Limehouse Basin, and there are many tales of murder and mayhem attached to this pub.
- Cittie of Yorke, est. 1640’s
Not too far from our beautiful Regency House Hotel London, the pub is located on High Holborn, there has been an inn on this site since 1420. The building we see today dates from c.1640, and there are a grand long bar, a Regency era triangular stove, and Victorian cubicles. The pub was once called Henneky’s Long Bar, and it retains its mediaeval feel with high ceilings and olde world charm.
- Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, est. 1667
This six storey building was an inn owned by the Carmelite Monastery during the 1200’s, then in 1538 it became the Horn Tavern. The current name has been in use since 1667. It is a dark and atmospheric pub with small rooms, no natural light, and a vibe ranging from rustic to regal.
Today owned by the National trust, The George Inn in Southwark was originally a mediaeval coaching in from its construction in 1543. The Old Bar was a passenger waiting room; there is also the Middle Room (another favourite of Dickens), and a second floor Gallery.
- The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping, est. 1520
This pub was originally called the Devil’s Tavern, and it was frequented by pirates and smugglers and was the site of many dastardly deeds. It has also been patronised by people including Captain Kidd, Charles Dickens (who obviously liked a drink), Princess Margaret, and Richard Burton. The building incorporated real ship masts, old barrels, and ship wheels. The bar is pewter topped. Unlike other very old pubs, this room has an open plan.
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