In our search to find the oldest pub in London, we have scoured the streets and found the ten oldest pubs in London where after hundreds of years, you can still enjoy a cold pint.
If you’re looking for an exciting day out, a trip to the nation’s capital should certainly tick all of your boxes in terms of enjoyment and entertainment. London is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the face of the earth, and for good reason.
With historic landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben, the House of Parliament, the River Thames, the Tower of London and much more besides, you certainly won’t be short of things to do and places to see.
After a day of sightseeing, though, you’ll likely be thirsty and maybe even peckish. If so, then what better way to take in all that the capital has to offer than relaxing with a cool, crisp pint in the oldest pub in London? Here are 10 of the oldest pubs in London, which by the way, are all worth a visit.
1. Ye Olde Mitre
1 Ely Ct, Ely Pl, Holborn, London EC1N 6SJ
First, on our list, we have this Holborn boozer. Established way back in 1546, the Ye Olde Mitre is a quaint and cosy little pub. It is warming and welcoming from the second you set inside.
Nowadays, it’s rare to find a pub in a city that isn’t noisy and rowdy, with large screen TVs and fruit machines. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, this is the pub for you.
There are no fruit machines, no TVs, and no overly loud music blaring from the speakers. Instead, there is an open fire, wooden beams, old-style whiskey glasses and portraits of historical figures such as Henry VIII.
2. Spaniard’s Inn
Spaniards Rd, Hampstead, London NW3 7JJ
Up next we have the Spaniard’s Inn, Hampstead. Established in 1585 and located on the edge of Hampstead Heath is this unusually-shaped three-storey white building.
The pub is located in a rural setting and is very isolated. If you have an interest in Highwaymen, the legend goes that Dick Turpin was born here and mastered the art of criminality in this very pub.
Thankfully, there are no villains that drink here now, only people with an eye for taste. With low ceilings, dark wood décor and antique furniture, this pub is a real treasure! Not to mention that the ale selection is truly fantastic.
3. The Mayflower
117 Rotherhithe St, Rotherhithe, London SE16 4NF
This nautical-themed pub is the oldest pub on the River Thames and was established back in 1550. The pub itself has changed names over the years and was originally known as the Shippe.
Although it may have changed names, the building itself has remained true to itself. With nautical tankards and taxidermy animals on the walls, this is a beautiful pub inside and out.
4. The Prospect of Whitby
57 Wapping Wall, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 3SH
Established in 1520, the Prospect of Whitby is believed to be the oldest pub in London. It was originally known as the Devil’s Tavern. It was also a popular hangover for smugglers, pirates and other nefarious villains from the criminal underworld.
Having seen guests including Charles Dickens, Richard Burton and even Princess Margaret, it’s safe to say that it has seen its fair share of unique patrons over the centuries.
There is even a hanging noose on the balcony that was placed there to commemorate the ‘Hanging Judge’, George Jeffreys. After a hard day at the execution dock, he would relax here with a tankard of ale.
5. The Old Bell Tavern
95 Fleet Street, London, Greater London, EC4Y 1DH
The Old Bell Tavern is conveniently located in Fleet Street London, a short stroll from Farringdon Street, City Thameslink, Valley Gardens Harrogate, and Ludgate Hill. It has been a licensed tavern for over 300 years and has a long and proud history.
Fleet Street is home to The Old Bell Tavern, convenient for Harrogate, City Thameslink, Farringdon Street, and Ludgate Hill.
In the heart of London, you won’t find a better pub food experience than at The Old Bell Tavern, their speciality pie house serving pies under pastry or mash.
6. The Lamb & Flag, Covent Garden
33 Rose St, London WC2E 9EB, United Kingdom
It doesn’t get much more historic than this when it comes to London pubs. The Coopers Arms was the first pub to be mentioned at this location in 1772. When it was renamed The Lamb & Flag (1933), its name reverted to the original.
Brickwork on the building dates from 1958, and it conceals the frame of a house that may have been built in the early 18th century, replacing the 1638 original.
The pub acquired a reputation in the early nineteenth century for staging bare-knuckle prize fights, earning it the nickname ‘The Bucket of Blood,’ and the alleyway beside the pub was the scene of an attack on the poet John Dryden in 1679 by thugs hired by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, with whom he had a long-standing conflict.
7. Cittie Of Yorke
22 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BN, United Kingdom
Built in the 1920s, the pub is cavernous and has a long bar and wooden booths. Listed in CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, the Cittie of Yorke is a grade II listed public house on London’s High Holborn. The pub is owned and operated by Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery.
Despite the current building being a redevelopment of the 1920s, the buildings on this site have been pubs since 1430.
75 Borough High St, London SE1 1NH, United Kingdom
It was previously known as the George and Dragon, in honour of Saint George and the Dragon. After a fire destroyed most of the medieval Southwark in 1677, the George was rebuilt.
The George was one of the many famous coaching inns in the days of Charles Dickens. Dickens in fact visited the George and referred to it in both Little Dorrit and Our Mutual Friend.
9. The Hoop And Grapes
47 Aldgate High St, London EC3N 1AL, United Kingdom
You will find The Hoop and Grapes in Aldgate London within a short stroll of Whitechapel, Aldgate Tube, and Mansell Street. This is a unique city-centre pub, with a rich history.
The Great Fire of London in 1666 stopped just 50 yards from The Hoop and Grapes and they were lucky to be one of the few timber-framed buildings to survive from this period. Twisted and bent by time, the front of the building leans out and was only saved by extensive restoration. Their name was originally the Hops and Grapes to show it sold both beer and wine.
10. The Spaniards Inn
Spaniards Rd, London NW3 7JJ, United Kingdom
Dating back to the 16th century, The Spaniards Inn is believed to have been built in 1585 on the Finchley boundary.
The pub has been mentioned in Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and has been frequented by the artist Joshua Reynolds and the poets Byron and Keats. According to the pub, Keats wrote his Ode to a Nightingale in the gardens, and Stoker borrowed one of their resident ghost stories to furnish the plot of Dracula.