Pubs are deeply intertwined with British culture and have been popular places for social gatherings for centuries, which makes it no surprise that some historical establishments remain standing to this day. From famous literary hangouts to more notorious gathering places, here’s a list of London’s oldest pubs below.
Image via George Inn facebook
This old stalwart has long been a watering hole for famous faces such as Charles Dickens, who used to relax here after a day of writing, making it one of the city’s most popular literary spots! Rebuilt after the Fire of London in 1676, it continues to be a local favourite and has plenty of outdoor seating for those rare summer days.
Address: The George Inn, London Bridge, SE1 1NH
Image via The Lamb and Flag facebook
Set up in 1772 and located in the heart of Covent Garden, The Lamb and Flag is one of the newer pubs on this list but with an equally as fascinating history. Back in the day, this pub was well known for its rowdy customers and was the site of many a bare-knuckled bar brawl. It has cleaned up its act in recent years and its historical detailing makes it a popular place for tourists.
Address: 33 Rose St, London WC2E 9EB
Image via Flickr
This Grade II-listed historical building has been a favourite with locals since 1420, when it was initially an inn, and then transformed into a pub in 1645. With multiple bars and grand decor, it’s an atmospheric spot for drinks in High Holborn.
Address: 22 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BN
Image via Ye Old Mitre
Tales tell that Queen Elizabeth I once danced around this pub’s cherry tree, which survives at its entrance to this day. While it can be a little tricky to find, it’s a great example of a traditional English pub and dates back to 1772, though another pub had stood on the same location from 1546. Perfect for a quiet drink in the colder months, their coal fires and impressive Tudor details will keep you warm and inspired.
Address: 1 Ely Pl, London EC1N 6SJ
Image via Flickr
This sprawling pub features frequently in London tourist guides and with good reason. Built in 1538 and then later rebuilt in 1667 following the Fire of London, it’s one of London’s oldest pubs with a number of rooms with distinctive characters from the Victorian entranceway to the cellar room converted from a prior monastery on-site.
Address: 145 Fleet St, London EC4A 2BU
Image via Spaniards Inn
Shrouded in mystery and intrigue, some of London’s most important literary figures have passed through the Spaniards Inn’s front door along with a number of notorious characters. Established in 1585, it has been both a place of great beauty and great darkness – John Keats is said to have written his poem Ode to a Nightingale here while famous highwayman Dick Turpin was frequently spotted with a drink at the bar.
Address: Spaniards Rd, Hampstead, London NW3 7JJ
Image via Knowledge of London Pubs
First built by 15th century Benedictine monks, this historical pub had a face lift in the 19th century and has a diverse mix of patrons ranging from locals to tourist pub crawlers. Located along the picturesque River Thames, it’s an iconic Sam Smith pub and perfect for quiet drink after a day of sightseeing.
Address: 101 Bermondsey Wall E, London SE16 4NB