This pretty little 17th. century riverside pub has everything; unspoilt surroundings, good food and excellent beer, which must explain why it gets so busy. The Dove’s popularity is nothing new. It boasts a long list of celebrity customers including Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway and A.P. Herbert, whose novel The Water Gypsies features a pub called the ‘Pigeon’, nee the Dove.
William Morris lived nearby. James Thomson, who in 1740 wrote Rule Britannia, is said to have lodged and died here. He may well have lodged but died at his house in Richmond, having caught a chill on a boat ride from Hammersmith to Kew, following a visit to the Dove perhaps? Another story says Charles II and Nell Gwynne had secret rendezvous here. One verifiable claim to fame is in the Guinness Book Of Records, for the smallest bar in Britain, a cosy 4 ft. 2ins by 7ft. 10ins.(1.27m x 2.39m).
The saloon bar has a low ceiling with dark oak beams and is simply furnished. An open fire takes off the chill in winter. A small flight of steps leads to the dining area at the rear, which has ample seating. Double doors lead out into a conservatory which houses an old vine. The riverside terrace beyond is a favourite viewpoint for the University Boat race. www.theboatrace.org