London's Historic Pubs Walk (Self Guided), London

If there’s anything more an iconic symbol for London than Big Ben or the London Eye, then it must be the traditional English pub and London is full of them, dating from pre-Victorian times to just about five minutes ago. With so much history surrounding London there is no shortage of historic pubs to choose from. Whether you fancy half timbered, rambling watering holes or small but perfectly formed pubs in central London you'll be spoilt for choice with the selection of historic pubs in the capital on this self-guided pub walk. Standard opening times are between 11am and 11pm (10:30pm on Sundays or on public holidays; Scottish pubs generally do not open on Sunday).
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London's Historic Pubs Walk Map

Guide Name: London's Historic Pubs Walk
Guide Location: England » London (See other walking tours in London)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.8 Km or 3.6 Miles
Author: Svetlana
1
Fitzroy Tavern

1) Fitzroy Tavern

An historic public house in the Fitzrovia district, the Fitzroy Tavern has an esteemed past as the place where many intellectuals, artists, and bohemians were regular guests. Among its list of well-known figures, the Fitzroy Tavern has attracted the likes of prominent literary figures such as Dylan Thomas and George Orwell, and even has a photograph on the wall of the writer enjoying a night in the pub, as well as photos of other prominent people who have visited here. Originally built as the Fitzroy Coffee House in 1883, this great pub is now run by the Samuel Smith Brewery, and features a great selection of ales at good prices. Wednesday nights regularly host comedy in the downstairs bar area.
2
French House

2) French House

Originally opened as the Wine House back in 1910, the French House is another historic public house in London that has seen its share of famous people. Yet another place frequented by writer and drinking enthusiast Dylan Thomas, other notable guests to this old Soho pub include Charles de Gaulle, Francis Bacon, Malcolm Lowry, and more. Its range of drinks includes eau de vie, a French fruit brandy that comes in pear, strawberry, and plumb, beer sold in half-pints, and an extensive wine and champagne list. The French House also maintains a strict no cell phones policy, and avoids technology in general, including televisions and music, instead focusing on conversation and interaction with the friendly bar staff.
3
The Salisbury

3) The Salisbury

With an extensive history dating back to 1899, the Salisbury retains a charming Victorian style that gets a lot of guests pulling out their cameras. Glass etched with Art Nouveau images, stained glass, intricately carved mahogany, and exquisite upholstery greets guests as they explore its recently refurbished interior. The Salisbury offers a great menu of traditional, well-prepared English pub fare, including fish and chips and Yorkshire pudding. A different roasted meat is available at a good price each day. A menu of snacks and more modern pub food like sandwiches and nachos is available as well. In addition to a wide selection of modern ales to choose from, traditional cask ales such as Courage Directors and Theakston’s are rotated throughout the month.
4
The Lamb and Flag

4) The Lamb and Flag

Originally established back in 1623, the Lamb and Flag is the oldest public house in Covent Garden, and possible the oldest in London. The present building dates back to 18th century, with the major brickwork seen today added in the 1950s. It is a historic establishment with its run of famous patrons. Former guests to the Lamb and Flag include writers John Dryden, who has a room named in honor of him, and Charles Dickens who frequented the pub in the 19th century. For a period of time bare-knuckle boxing tournaments were held here, earning it the name the Bucket of Blood.

Its great assortment of pub fare is all made from fresh, local ingredients, and the Lamb and Flag also offers an extensive beer selection. It is said to have one of the best fish and chip meals in London.
5
White Hart

5) White Hart

The White Hart is one of a number of pubs claiming the status of London’s oldest licensed establishments. Back in the 18th century, the area surrounding the pub was a notorious slum in London, known for its brawls, drunkenness, and prostitutes. Legend has it that regular customers of The White Hart included notorious thieves, Jack Sheppard and Richard (Dick) Turpin. Turpin even came in for a drink prior to his hanging in 1739.

Today the White Hart is a charming public house with a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Guests to the White Hart are treated to a laid-back, sociable vibe with an assortment of pub games and a good mix of music. Its menu consists of a wide selection of traditional and modern pub fare, from fish and chips, to burgers, nachos, cheese platters, and much more. The White Hart is equipped with a full-stocked bar offering plenty of beers on draught and in bottles, a selection of ciders, as well as a long list of fine spirits and liqueurs. Music generally includes popular hits from the 60s through the present, as well as some house and dance tunes.
6
Museum Tavern

6) Museum Tavern

Located in Bloomsbury, the Museum Tavern became known by its current name upon the opening of the British Museum across the street in the 1760s, though the establishment was known as the Dog & Duck in its earlier history. Much of what guests will see today is the result of a major overhaul done on the property in 1855. Many interior Victorian details remain, including carved wood fittings, etched glass windows, and more.

Esteemed guest of historical significance to have enjoyed some time here include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, Karl Marx, and J.B. Priestly. Offering a good selection of traditional cask ales, as well as an assortment of fine spirits and a menu of well-prepared pub fare, the Museum Tavern is a great place to hit after a day at the nearby museum.
7
Princess Louise

7) Princess Louise

Located in the heart of the city in Holborn, Princess Louise got its beginning way back in 1872, gaining much of its present look with the addition of the 1891 Victorian interior. Partly owned by the Samuel Smith Brewery since the 90s, this great pub features a range of the brewery’s fine ales. Wood panels, beautiful etched glass panels, and quaint bar lamps make for a classy, antiquated feel in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Gilt mirrors line the walls, and decorative tiles cover the floors, even the bathrooms are something to behold with their old world charm. Princess Louise also offers a menu of traditional pub fare in addition to all its great beers.
8
Ye Olde Chesire Cheese

8) Ye Olde Chesire Cheese

Quite possibly London's most iconic public house, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has been around since the days of Pepys and Wren, and is known for its literary associations, having seen among its regulars, at some point, such luminaries as Samuel Johnson, G.K. Chesterton, Mark Twain, George Orwell and Charles Dickens. Established in 1538, this is one of London’s oldest pubs, rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1666. Certain parts of its lower cellars are even older.

The building was previously home to a monastery, and as such has a dizzying array of chambers, cellars and tunnels underneath. The small portion of the pub above ground consists of a wood-panelled dining room and a small bar, which usually has sawdust sprinkled on the floor. Located on Fleet Street, London’s former historic home of Britain’s major newspapers, ‘the Cheese’ has long been a popular haunt of weary hacks seeking sustenance.

***Charles Dickens Tour***

Charles Dickens had been known to frequent this place, and it is alluded to in his "A Tale of Two Cities": following Charles Darnay’s acquittal on charges of high treason, Sydney Carton invites him to dine, "drawing his arm through his own" Carton leads him to Fleet Street "up a covered way, into a tavern … where Charles Darnay was soon recruiting his strength with a good plain dinner and good wine".

Presently owned by Sam Smith’s Old Brewery, this pub is an unmissable opportunity to soak in the watering-hole atmosphere of yesteryear’s London, walking in the footsteps of a few literary greats (and many lesser drunks).
9
Ye Olde Mitre Tavern

9) Ye Olde Mitre Tavern

With a history dating back to 1547 where this location served as a pub for servants of the Palace of the Bishops of Ely, which were both subsequently destroyed in 1772. Ye Olde Mitre Tavern was built with the stone mitre from the palace gatehouse, making this little tavern still technically part of the historic Cambridgeshire and not London. The bar has three rooms as well as a courtyard out front which is enclosed and features standing tables. A host of traditional cask ales are available at Ye Olde Mitre Tavern, like George Gale Seafarers, Fuller’s Honeydew, and more. Traditional pub fare such as scotch eggs and pork pies is also on the menu at this great little historic pub.
10
The Jerusalem Tavern

10) The Jerusalem Tavern

Although located inside an old building dating back to the 18th century, with the shop front added in 1810, the Jerusalem Tavern has remained a thriving little pub ever since. Guests to this establishment should be aware that it does get quite busy for lunch rushes and on the weekends in particular. Its tasty assortment of pub fare is served during the daytime only, and includes delicious home-cooked dishes at great prices. Attracting an assortment of young professionals, the Jerusalem Tavern offers the full assortment of ales from St. Peter’s Brewery in Suffolk. The green-painted woodwork throughout the space is accompanied by a fireplace in a warm and cozy interior great for socializing with other patrons.

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