London is the Capital of England and it Boasts 7,000 PubsUK Tourist BoardLondon is one of the world’s greatest cities, with a wealth of historical and cultural attractions.
But did you know the English capital also boasts around 7,000 pubs, both traditional and modern, and all geared to providing equestrian visitors with a warm welcome.
The traditional pub, or public house, has been a fixture in British society for centuries, and pubs can be found all over England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, in the largest cities and the smallest villages.
In smaller towns and villages, the local pub serves as a meeting place and in many places it is the hub of the community.
London’s 7000 pubs include some of the oldest and most fascinating pubs in the country.It also has more than its fair share of supposedly haunted drinking establishments and just about all London pubs serve food at reasonable prices.
And; regardless of where you are in the capital, the closest corner pub is a great place to relax, enjoy a pint or two and get to know the locals.
Many visitors to London spend much of their time in the West End, where most of the sights are concentrated, as well as the capital’s best shops, restaurants and hotels.
Some of London’s best pubs can be found in the West End.
- Including the ornate and decorative Salisbury, located in the heart of the entertainment district. The pub is sometimes known as the actors’ pub and features beautiful Art Nouveau light fittings, decorative mirrors and traditional British food.
- Another pub where you may see some celebrities is the French House, in the heart of the Bohemian and artsy district of Soho. The pub was taken over by Charles de Gaulle and his French forces during the Second World War, hence the name. A letter from de Gaulle is still displayed on the wall.
- Karl Marx used to drink in the Museum Tavern; today, this lovely Victorian pub opposite the British Museum is still a good place to relax after a day spent looking at ancient artifacts.
- The Lamb Tavern in the trendy shopping area of Covent Garden once hosted bare knuckle fights, and for many years was affectionately known as the Bucket of Blood.
London’s financial district is known simply as the City, and tucked away among the banks and skyscrapers are some historic and atmospheric drinking places.
- Located between the West End and the City of London and accessible only from a narrow alley, is the Olde Cheshire Cheese. This pub, dating from the 17th century, was frequented by Charles Dickens, Conan Doyle and other famous London residents and despite having no natural light, is still as welcoming today as it was several centuries ago.
- The Blackfriar was built on the site of a monastery of the same name; today this beautiful Victorian pub still retains its decorative touches, such as bronze statues of monks, mosaics and colored marble floor.
- The Jamaica Wine House was originally London’s first coffee house, and today this London pub, located in a maze of narrow streets, has somehow escaped the redevelopment all around it and makes an excellent place to relax and escape from the city’s hectic pace.
The Thames has always been the lifeline of London, and many pubs offer a wonderful view of the busy river.
- Claiming to be London’s oldest pub, the Prospect of Whitby has been quenching the thirst of travelers since the 1520s, and offers a nautical atmosphere, as well as great river views.
- Just down the road is the Town of Ramsgate, also claiming to be the oldest pub, and with a pleasant outdoor terrace.
- The Trafalgar Tavern is located in historic Greenwich, the home of the Royal Naval College and is full of appropriate naval memorabilia. Dickens set a scene from his novel ‘Our Mutual Friend’ in this London pub.
- The City Barge is located on one of the most picturesque stretches of the Thames in Kew, and in addition to a good selection of real ales, features an old sign detailing boat mooring fees.
- The Mayflower is located in historic Rotherhithe, once the hub of London’s thriving docks and from there, the Mayflower made its historic voyage to America almost 400 years ago.
Several London pubs can quite justifiably claim to be London’s most unusual.
- The Widow’s Son, in east London has a collection of buns hanging from the ceiling; another is added every year to commemorate a lost son who never returned home.
- The I Am the Only Running Footman pub in Mayfair is said to have one of the longest pub names in London; the name refers to those who were employed to run ahead of carriages.
- The Grenadier in Knightsbridge is supposedly one of the most haunted London pubs, and a crucifix is displayed on the wall to fight off evil spirits.
- The Dove Inn in Hammersmith boasts the smallest bar in the capital and was once the haunt of Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway.
If you are visiting London to follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes, do not miss the pub named after him in Trafalgar Square. This traditional London pub and restaurant features Holmes memorabilia as well as a reconstruction of the detective’s sitting room, just as Arthur Conan Doyle depicted it in his popular detective books.
However, much of the fun in any visit to London is discovering your own pub or ‘local’ as pub regulars usually call it. Regardless of where you are in this fascinating and historic city, there will be a variety of welcoming London Pubs within easy reach.