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

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).
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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.

Walking Tours in London, England

Create Your Own Walk in London

Create Your Own Walk in London

Creating your own self-guided walk in London is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Bloomsbury Museums, Part 2

Bloomsbury Museums, Part 2

There are over 240 museums in London and they welcome about 42 million annual visitors nationwide. This wonderful tour will lead you to the most famous and significant museums of London Bloomsbury area, such as Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, Wellcome Collection, The Crypt Gallery and others.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
East City of London Walk

East City of London Walk

The City is a notable part of central London. This neighborhood is colloquially known as the Square Mile, as it is 1.12 square miles (2.90 square km) in area. The City of London is able to offer great number of things to see. This tour will guide you from the Tower Bridge to the “30 St Mary Axe”, great achievements of architecture and engineering.

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Bridges of London

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Travel Distance: 6.1 km
Walk around Buckingham Palace

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London is deservedly recognized as one of the cultural centres of the world. Among many cultural treasures found here are perfectly reserved ancients buildings, grandiose monuments and beautiful statues, as well as museums with wide collections of various objects, featuring traditions of different nations and epochs. This self guided walking tour around Buckingham Palace will reveal some of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
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City of London Churches

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Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
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Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

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Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in London for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best London has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money visiting London's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the so-called city passes, such as the London Pass, London Explorer Pass, or iVenture Card.

A city pass combines all or multiple London's top highlights, tours and experiences in one prepaid attractions pass, using which you can save incredible amounts on general admission fees as compared to purchasing tickets separately. Often, a city pass also allows you to skip the lines at major attractions, thus saving you precious time.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of London hotels conveniently located for a comfortable stroll: The Trafalgar St. James London Curio collection by Hilton, Corinthia Hotel London, The Grand at Trafalgar Square.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as London, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, though, as a guided tour of London typically costs somewhere between US$30 and US$130 or more per person:

- Board a hop-on hop-off double-decker to enjoy sightseeing of London from the open top of the bus listening in the headsets to the commentary provided in a variety of languages, and be able get on and off at any of the stops along the six interconnecting routes, plus get on board the Thames River Sightseeing Cruise. The tickets are valid for 24, 48, or 72 hours.

- Spend half a day pedaling your way around London Royal Parks on a guided bike tour to see the city's most spectacular highlights stopping at some for a bit of rest, watching the surroundings, and learning interesting facts about the attractions from a knowledgeable group leader.

- Commit yourself to a full-day of sightseeing to appreciate the English capital in its full splendor complete with its top (UNESCO-listed and other) attractions, plus to enjoy a sightseeing cruise down the River Thames, and more.

- Dive into Britain’s royal and political history on the Westminster Abbey & Houses of Parliament tour for an up-close view of the country's two most prominent landmarks that have been in place and duly served their purpose for almost a millennium.

- Explore the WWII chapter of the British history on a guided 2-hour walking tour of Churchill War Rooms & Westminster to see how they operated back in those days. Hear some little-known war tales and tidbits about London and the country's most celebrated leader, Winston Churchill.

- Satisfy your penchant for English tradition, glamour and food culture in style with an afternoon tea experience at the 5-star Grosvenor House Hotel in London complete with a full set of lovely cakes, sandwiches and tea!

- If you're into music, give yourself a treat, whilst in London, to the Musical Theater Show at Apollo Victoria Theatre presenting the alternate side of the famous Wizard of Oz story previously untold.

Day Trips

If you have a day to spare whilst in London, why not use it to explore some out-of-town destinations like the Warner Bros. Studio London, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle, Cotswolds, or Leeds Castle, Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury. For as little as circa US$100+ to US$120+ per person you will get a chance to explore the postcard-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage sights, get behind-the-scenes of the mystical world of Harry Potter, see what has been the home of the British Royals for the past 900 years, explore the ancient rock formations, Roman Baths and medieval castles, walk the streets of the charming hometown of William Shakespeare, check out one of the world’s most prestigious universities, get to see the picture-perfect region officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, otherwise known as “forever England,” renowned for its quaint villages and rolling hills, admire the symbolic White Cliffs of Dover, and more. For any of these tours you will be picked up straight from your hotel in London and transported by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or train (whichever is applicable) to the destination of your choice and back again.