London is known for many things, but what makes it really stand out is this capital’s rich history. However, history does not have to be limited to statues or architecture – it can also include things like music venues which have been open since 1942 like The 100 Club, or Indian Afternoon Tea, an experience which dates back to 1840 when it was introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. Another prime example of London’s depth of history are its historic pubs – public houses which have been serving ale for much longer than many a Park Grand Restaurant patrons will have even been alive for! Here is a guide to London’s oldest pubs, offering you the opportunity to see history through the bubbles of your pint.
King William IV
A short downhill walk from Hampstead Station, you will find the traditional pub King WIlliam IV, steeped in history not just because its Grade II listed building, or even the fact that it has been there for over 200 years. It is also one of London’s oldest gay bars, which has been popular since the 1930s – though everyone is welcome now and you will find a diverse range of consumers. The food is simple but tasty, and the range of drinks is impressive and affordable. The perfect spot to pop into after an afternoon stroll in Hampstead Heath.
Address: 77 Hampstead High St, Hampstead, London NW3 1RE
Lamb & Flag
Built in 1772 and tucked away down a side street, yet undeniably present in Covent Garden, is the Lamb & Flag, a small and rustic pub which has the look and feel of something that has been around for a while (in the good, history-dense way, that is). One thing to remember about history is that it is not always bloodless, yet the significance remains something enriching to know about. For instance, the spot on which the pub was built marks the spot where poet John Dryden was nearly killed. In fact, the alley leading to this pub was such a hotspot for fighting over the years that Lamb & Flag was also known as The Bucket of Blood colloquially. Nowadays, it is a smashing place to grab a glass of wine or a pint with friends and learn of the woes and troubles that once passed through these walls.
Address: 33 Rose St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9EB
The George Inn
The George Inn is a historically significant pub not only because it has been around since at least 1677 when it was rebuilt after a fire, but also because famous literary figures used to do their drinking here. For instance, it is thought that Shakespeare frequented it, as well as Charles Dickens, who directly references is in Little Dorrit. In the Elizabethian period, the inns were used to put on theatrical performances. They tick all the boxes when it comes to pub food – especially as it is now a Greene King Pub – and is a relaxing, comfortable space to sip on a pale ale or a sparkling wine… whatever your pick! Perhaps you will find yourself inspired in the haunts of the greats to start doing some writing.
Address: 75-77 Borough High St, London SE1 1NH
The Fitzroy Tavern has done the rounds in terms of ownership. Known as Fitzroy Coffee House when it was built in 1883, and converted into a pub called The Hundred Marks in 1887, it has now been The Fitzroy Tavern since 1919. It has historically been a meeting place for intellectuals and creatives over the years – expected, considering its prime location in central London’s Fitzrovia. These included Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and English novelist George Orwell – at the time, both were working at the BBC offices and so its proximity was ideal.
Address: 16 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2LY
Prospect of Whitby
Prospect of Whitby is slightly further east from The Park Grand Kensington, but has been around since 1520 – so given its old age, you really ought to respect your elders! This historic pub on the banks of The River Thames holds the status of being the oldest riverside tavern site in London. Think about it: from sailors, smugglers and cut throats, to British movie stars and politicians, 400 years gives enough time for thousands of important feed to have stepped over the Prospect of Whitby’s threshhold.
Address: 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, London E1W 3SH
The Old Bell
The Old Bell is absolutely brimful of historical significance, starting with the fact that it was built by Sir Christopher Wren for his masons and finishing with the fact that it has been on Fleet Street since the 17th century. They are also known, in more recent times, for serving up some of the best pub classics and especially pies in London.
Address: 95 Fleet St, London EC4Y 1DH
The Grapes in Limehouse is not only historically significant in having been around since 1583 and being frequented by the likes of Charles Dickens, who refers to it in his novel Our Mutual Friend, but it is making its own history as it goes along based on the fact that it is currently owned by actor Sir Ian McKellen, theatre and film director Sean Mathias, and publisher of the Evening Standard newspaper, Evgeny Lebedev. Drinking in The Grapes is like being a part of a history book which is continuously being written.
Address: 76 Narrow St, Poplar, London E14 8BP
There are no pub shortages in London, and a lot of the time you will find that even the newer ones were previously historic pubs that just weren’t generating enough income to keep afloat. Here is just a small sample, but if you made time to visit just a couple of them between meals at Park Grand Restaurant London and enjoying the perks that come with Accommodation in Kensington London like the Natural History Museum on your doorstep or the iconic department store Harrods just around the corner, you will find they are a shining example of the historic