10 of London’s Oldest (and Greatest!) Pubs

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London is known for its support of the great British pub, and thanks to the long history of the city, there’s plenty of historic locations to choose from.

Whether you’re just looking for a great place to grab a few drinks or want to discover more of London’s heritage for yourself, here’s a quick look at some of our favourite venues which combine a little of both…

The Spaniards Inn

Hampstead

A trip here allows you to drink just like some of London’s brightest literary figures; Keats, Dickens, and Byron were all big fans of the place. However, The Spaniards Inn also has more dubious historical fans, as it is rumoured to have been the favoured drinking spot of Dick Turpin, the famed highwayman.

Today you’re unlikely to find yourself in such a company, but you can certainly head here for a few drinks and to soak up the history-fuelled atmosphere. The Spaniards Inn regularly champions new craft beers, so there’s always something exciting to try.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Fleet Street

With its inventive and memorable name, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a major addition to our list. Its the perfect spot to watch London life go by, and has a certain Victorian grandeur to it. This combines with an impressive drinks menu to suit a wide variety of tastes, and helps to ensure the pub continuously welcomes visitors from all over the world.

The lighting is dim and atmospheric, with very limited natural light lending a new dramatic quality to space. For a closer look at a pub that truly seems to have stepped out of the history books, be sure to head here while staying at Montcalm the Brewery.

Lamb & Flag

Covent Garden

As one of the more diminutive pubs on our list, the Lamb & Flag also has one of the most unpleasant histories. Poet John Dryden suffered an attempted murder on this spot (albeit before it was built, in 1772) and during the 19th century, the alleyway beside the pub was a site for numerous bare knuckle fights.

This led to a more unfavourable name, ‘The Bucket of Blood’, during this time period. Thankfully the bar is now much quieter and more serene, as well as a fantastic place for a quick drink in London.

The Guinea

Mayfair

There’s been a pub in this spot since 1423, though the current venue only dates to 1720. Nonetheless, this still makes it one of the most history-laden pubs in London. As an added bonus, its based in glitzy Mayfair, surrounded by great places to shot and sightsee.

Today, the pub is primarily known for its delicious steaks, which can be enjoyed alongside a few drinks while you visit The Guinea.

The Prospect of Whitby

Wapping

With it’s bold, gold and black signage and white walls, The Prospect of Whitby is a striking addition alongside the River Thames, as well as the oldest riverside pub in the entire city.

It was first built during 1520, and originally titled ‘The Devil’s Tavern’. Many people speculate that the pub was once a popular venue for smugglers, a history which can be seen in the gallows which are positioned on the balcony.

For a glimpse at London’s colourful past, this is a great place to go while staying at Montcalm the Brewery.

The Old Bell

Fleet Street

The architecture of The Old Bell helps to make it a colourful and striking addition to our list of historic pubs. The venue was built by Sir Christopher Wren, best known for constructing St Paul’s Cathedral, and initially intended to service his masons as they rebuilt parts of the city affected by the Great Fire of London.

This alone should make you want to bask in the history of the place, but it also has a decent drinks menu of wines and spirits, creating a friendly place and a haven for culture vultures.

Hoop & Grapes

Aldgate

This delightful London pub is one of only a few timber structures which survived the ravages of the Great Fire of London in 1666. The legend says that the fire stopped only a few yards away, so while you’re enjoying your visit you can ponder how it is only luck which allowed the venue to remain standing for so long.

In addition to this history, the Hoop & Grapes has all the charm of a traditional British pub, enduring a friendly place to check out while you’re staying in London.

Cittie of Yorke

Holborn

The building which currently stands in this space was built in 1920, but there was a pub here much earlier than that. For more than 600 years, the area has housed such a venue – ensuring it remains one of the oldest pubs in the city.

Cittie of Yorke is now part of a bar chain, The Samuel Smith Brewery, so the menu is only limited. However, its an affordable and historic space to visit while enjoying the latest London hotel deals.

Ye Olde Mitre

Hatton Garden

This delightful pub was technically located in Cambridgeshire until the start of the 20th century, but is now one of the oldest pubs in London, dating back to the Elizabethan era.

The pub has a welcoming atmosphere and plenty of history to explore. Rumour has it that Elizabeth I once danced around a cherry tree which occupied this site, so if you’re in the mood for a dance you’ll be in good company!

The Seven Stars

Aldwych

This pub is located close to the Royal Courts of Justice, and you’ll frequently find local lawyers enjoying a drink here at the end of a busy day. It predates the construction of these courts by almost 300 years, but remains one of the city’s most historic watering holes, as well as one of its most beautiful.

Look out for the decorative hanging baskets outside, which help to welcome visitors in throughout the year.