London over the centuries has perfected the pub, here we choose 5 top Ye Olde pubs in London that we think you should make a visit to when you’re nearby.
The Mayflower in Rotherhithe dates from 1550, and takes its name from the famous ship that once moored nearby. Perched right on the banks of the Thames, with an outdoor seating area that has the Thames lapping against it. Easy to reach just a few mins walk north from Rotherhithe overground station. Great selection of real ales and purportedly the best pub fish and chips in London, it’s well worth a visit. Address: 117 Rotherhithe St, Rotherhithe, near Rotherhithe station, SE16 4NF
If you’re familiar with wandering the back streets around Covent Garden then you’ll likely have nipped past the Lamb and Flag via the alley that passes right under the pub. Dating from 1772, it’s a small premises but has a great olde worlde vibe. The pub’s history has lots of drama associated with it, with the alley it sits on gaining the nickname ‘The Bucket of Blood’ owing to regular fights. Nowadays it’s just a nice spot tucked away from the crowds and is a great pit stop if you’re in the area. Address: 33 Rose St, near Leicester Square station, WC2E 9EB
Another of London’s oldest pubs sits on the banks of the Thames, this time on the north bank in Wapping. The Prospect of Whitby takes the title of oldest riverside pub in London, dating from 1520. A former favourite with sailors and smugglers from times gone, but today is a large, well served pub with bars and terraces on both floors. Great views from Canary Wharf right around to The Shard, only punctuated by the noose and gallows that overhang the river from the pub’s edge. A nod to the dark past of this great venue. Address: 57 Wapping Wall, near Wapping station, E1W 3SH
Very reminiscent of how taverns and inns are portrayed today in any modern Shakespeare production, The George is the only remaining galleried inn in London. Dating from 1583, it’s been a favorite place of many famous people through the years. The George is tucked in a cobbled alley off Borough High Street. Come here for it’s wide open courtyard, great selection of beer and low ceilings. Address: 77 Borough High St, near London Bridge station, SE1 1NH
It seems with age, London’s pubs invariably collect dark pasts, and The Grapes in Limehouse is no different. Dating from 1583 it collected gruesome stories of unfriendly dock workers being not afraid to make drunken patrons disappear in the Thames. Today it’s owned by Sir Ian McKellen and has a wonderfully welcoming vibe, with an outdoor terrace and views of the thames. It’s a fairly narrow venue but worth stopping by for a pint. Address: 76 Narrow Street, Limehouse, near Westferry station, E14 8BP