London's Historic Pubs Walk, 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. Standard opening times are between 11am and 11pm (10:30pm on Sundays or on public holidays; Scottish pubs generally do not open on Sunday).
You can follow this self-guided walking tour to explore the attractions listed below. How it works: download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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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
Author: Svetlana
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.
Editor's note: Closed for a complete refurbishment. Will reopen in the spring of 2016.
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.
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.
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. Another historic establishment with its run of famous patrons, former guests to the Lamb and Flag, the incarnation starting from 1833, include writers John Dryden, who has a room named in honor of him, and Charles Dickens. 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.
White Hart

5) White Hart

One of a number of pubs claiming the status of London’s oldest licensed establishments, the White Hart is a charming public house with a friendly and inviting atmosphere. Located on Drury Lane in the heart of London’s West End district, 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.
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.
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.
Ye Olde Chesire Cheese

8) Ye Olde Chesire Cheese

Among all the historic taverns found in the city, Ye Olde Chesire Cheese has a well-documented account of its antiquity. Well known since the 17th century, this site went by name of the Horn Tavern dating back to 1538. Destroyed in London’s Great Fire of 1666, the building was rebuilt the next year. A sign by the entrance listing the fifteen monarchs who have reigned during this establishment’s run in this historic location greets guests as they walk in. Once inside guests are treated to Ye Olde Chesire Cheese’s charming interior rich in woodwork, with narrow corridors and staircases dividing up the space. One room includes the bar, lined with dark wood and a large fireplace, while the Chop Room serves as a dining area where guests can sample from the Chesire Cheese’s great menu of pub fare.
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.
The Jerusalem Tavern

10) The Jerusalem Tavern

Although located inside an old building dating back to the 18th century, with this shop front added in 1810, the Jerusalem Tavern wasn’t established in the 1990s, but 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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