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Top 10 Pubs of London

Updated on September 22, 2014

London has a plethora of great pubs to chose from, but there are a few whose history and character set them apart from the common London pub. Here is a list of 10 great London pubs that I have put together, any one of which will provide you with that great British experience you are seeking.

#1) The Salisbury- As Queen Victoria's favorite London pub, as well as my own, this historic site sits at the heart of the West End, complete with beautiful Victorian décor of cut-glass mirrors, old-fashioned banquettes, and bronze lighting fixtures. Famous for its Victorian appearance, as well as its homemade meat pies, the Salisbury is a great pub to stop in for a drink and hot meal when cruising around the West End of London.

Tube Stop: Leicester Square


#2) The Prospect of Whitby- Dating back to 1543, this East London pub is the city's oldest surviving riverside pub. The notorious pub gained notoriety as a meeting place for smugglers, thieves and villains of all sorts. According to legend, offending criminals would be tied up outside the pub to wait for the tide to come in and drown them. The Prospect serves great British dishes, as well as stocking a healthy selection of beers on tap. With a first floor balcony terrace and beer garden, it is a great place to come for a drink in good weather while overlooking the Thames.

Train Stop (Overground): Wapping


#3) The White Hart- Reputedly licensed in 1216, this London pub boldly claims the title of oldest pub in London, a fact that is hotly contested. The pub is located just a block south of the popular Oxford St, bringing to the pub a healthy mixture of patrons. Serving great British dishes daily, hosting a wide selection of tap beers, and bringing in a diverse crowd, the White Hart is a neat pub in the heart of central London action and well worth a stop in.

Tube Stop: Tottenham Court Rd or Holbourn.


#4) Cittie of Yorke- Listed in the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, this unique pub is not your average London pub. Although the present building dates from the early 20th century, the site has hosted a pub since the early 15th century. The pub's dark paneled front bar, numerous nooks and crannies, as well as its great hall, bring a visitor back to London's medieval past. With great British dishes, selection of fine British ales, and plenty of space to wander, it's one of the most unique in London's laundry list of great pubs.

Tube Stop: Chancery Lane


#5) The Eagle- As one of London's oldest pubs, the Eagle retains many of its original features. Here you can find great beers on tap, quality food, quality service, and a great atmosphere. The Eagle is a bit off the beaten path, at least compared to many other London pubs, so this would be a place to enjoy a quite ale and leisurely fraternize with the local patrons. I love this place for the combination of its historic look, great food and service, and a low key ambiance.

Tube Stop: Angel or Hoxton


The Eagle, London
The Eagle, London

#6) The Dog and Duck- Located in the heart of Soho, this bustling pub never sees a dull moment. As one of Soho's historic pubs, it is frequented by locals and travelers alike. A great place to grab a pint and have a good laugh, and with the well preserved Victorian décor, this lively pub provides all the atmosphere you would expect in a historic British pub.

Tube Stop: Tottenham Court Rd or Leicester Square


#7) Ye Old Chesire Cheese- This pub has stood on the famous Fleet Street for centuries, having to be rebuilt in the Great Fire of 1666, which only adds more fuel to the fiery debate surrounding London's actual oldest pub. Ye Old Chesire Cheese has long played a role in London's social scene, playing host to many famous British personalities, most famously Charles Dickens. The lack of lighting in the pub creates an air of gloom, which for many visitors adds to its charm. Well worth a visit and a great place to pop in and grab a pint.

Tube Stop: St. Paul's


#8) The George Inn- This Southwark pub can be traced back to 1542, with an inn most likely occupying the site previously. As the only remaining galleried coaching inn in London, the pub now belongs to the National Trust. Located in Southwark, the neighborhood where Shakespeare lived, it is likely the master of plays frequented the local watering hole. A great place to relive some history, grab a pint and listen to some live music.

Tube Stop: London Bridge


#9) Grenadier- One of London's most famous pubs, the Grenadier was a local watering hole for the Duke of Wellington's officers on leave from fighting Napoleon. The pub reportedly pours the best Bloody Marys in town, and is famous for its filet of Wellington beef.

Tube Stop: Hyde Park Corner


#10) Trafalgar Tavern- Built in 1837, the Trafalgar Tavern adds to the laundry list of attractions in Greenwich. This riverside pub became famous for its whitebait, and other staple British dishes. The Trafalgar has great food, a wide selection of beers on tap, beautiful Victorian décor, a friendly staff, and a nice big deck overlooking the Thames. I really love stopping in here for some good food and a pint on the deck after a long day of sightseeing in Greenwhich.

Light Rail Stop: Cutty Sark or Train Stop: Maze Hill

Trafalgar Tavern, London
Trafalgar Tavern, London


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    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I like it! A great idea for visitors to London, and as it's the biggest tourist destination in the world you should get lots of readers coming by. Voted it useful and interesting.

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thanks for the read Blossom! Yes, it's the kind of list I'm always seeking when I travel to major cities looking for a good place to grab a pint.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      Well I raise my glass to you my world class traveler and tour guide and I toast to your good health with a Guinness Goodness (even made a nice beef stew with it last week) and I love your rundown of these wonderful pubs. You should get a writing gig in a travel magazine - you are that good.

      I am a big fan of the Jack the Ripper mystery and there is a pub still standing to this very day from the time of Jack the Ripper - what is it called again - Ten Bells - or something like that?

      Sending you warm wishes from lake erie time ontario canada and Colin's groovy loud music cafe at 10:48pm

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thanks Epigramman! Writing for a travel magazine/guidebook is exactly the goal I'm working toward. I figure the best place to start is an online blog, build a name for myself before pitching my work to a professional company. But, I'm yet new to the world of professional writing so I'm still learning how to get my foot in the door. Any suggestions that might expedite the process? Thanks again for the read and support!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      I have not made a penny here in over 2 years and I am probably one of the most famous 'unpublished' poe-its in the world - it's been a good training ground for me too my friend and I have met many good and talented people like yourself - the key here is to make lots of comments - get your name out there , so to speak .

      Listening to the righteous Joe Williams leading the legendary Count Basie band and oh man this really rocks - but next up is another legendary band - The Smiths - and yes there is a very high wind outside coming off the lake tonight at 12:16am and the half moon has disappeared at lake erie ontario canada

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Indeed, I am pushing more to get my name out there. I really need to get up to Canada, closest I've come was Minnesoooota.

    • Elias Zanetti profile image

      Elias Zanetti 4 years ago from Athens, Greece

      Great, informative and essential! Voted up and shared.

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thanks Elias!

    • profile image

      travelfan 4 years ago

      this is great hub, although I would add some more photos of the pubs, so your readers could easily recognize them if going to London. Maybe you could had a special ale that they are serving as well?

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 4 years ago

      Nice list of Pubs. Some years ago, my husband and I enjoyed visiting Bram Stoker Tavern on Old Brompton Road. I don't know if it is still in business, but it was a unique tavern.

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Thanks for the tips travelfan, the ale suggestion is great! And I would add more picture, but unfortunately I was a bit too pist to take great pictures of those pubs, haha.

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      I don't recall seeing that particular tavern, but there are so many great pubs around London it's hard to keep track of them all!

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      Nice hub. I shared this on my Facebook as I have a gaggle of friends who attend renaissance festivals and anything old England is golden.

    • BristolBoy profile image

      BristolBoy 4 years ago from Bristol

      Just stunbled across this from Google. What a find! Will definitely check some of these out when im next in London!

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Great to hear its getting out there. You're from Bristol? I just spent a year in Cardiff, and was in Bristol quite a bit. If you haven't already, I recommend bungee jumping over Bristol harbor.

    • kitkat1141 profile image

      kitkat1141 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is a great list for anyone visiting London! Going to a pub is a must when in England!

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      It absolutely is Kitkit, thanks for the read!

    • profile image

      theslimdude 4 years ago

      Wow, thanks a lot for this hub. I am visiting London this summer and I will make sure to visit at least one of these pubs you mentioned, THX again.

    • TravelinJack profile image
      Author

      Jack Baumann 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      You're very welcome!! Yes make sure you drop in one of these pubs, as the pub scene is a staple to any visit to London!

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