London pubs: 6 of the best
There are so many great pubs in London it's difficult to make a definitive shortlist. No two Londoners would choose the same ones. But if you are on a flying visit and want to see London's finest hostelries - here are six 'must see' pubs. (Got an alternative selection - why not send your top six London pubs to firstname.lastname@example.org?)
Take a look at each pub's entry on the site to get a sense of the history behind them. We've given our reasons for choosing them and give a few local attractions nearby.
1. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, 145 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2BU
"Olde Cheshire Cheese"
Possibly London's most atmospheric pub. Best visited when it's quiet but fun when it's busy. The haunt of many famous writers and actors since 1667 when it was rebuilt after the Great Fire. If they're accessible, see the cellar vaults and the dining rooms up the narrow, winding staircase. Local attractions:
Dr. Johnson's House, the Royal Courts of Justice, St. Clement Danes Church, St. Bride's Church and St. Paul's Cathedral.
2. The George Inn, Borough, London SE1 1NH
"George Inn SE1"
London's only surviving galleried coaching inn. Owned by the National Trust the George has had a sensitive refurbishment and looks magnificent. Rebuilt in the year of American independence, it was one of many inns in Southwark that serviced the busy coaching routes to the South East ports and the city of Canterbury. Local attractions:
Southwark Cathedral, Hays Galleria, Borough Market, London Dungeon.
3. The Princess Louise, 208 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BW
"Princess Louise, Holborn"
The most magnificent Victorian pub in London. Restored to its original 19th century layout by brewer Samuel Smith, this beautiful princess makes jaws drop. She's dressed in the finest etched and cut glass, bold ceramic tiles and gleaming woodwork.
4. The Red Lion, Duke of York Street, St. James's, London SW1Y 6JP
"Red Lion, St. James's"
A tiny pub, decorated like a palace. Just two small bars but almost every inch of wallspace has a cut glass mirror on it. The effect is dazzling. Lunchtimes and evenings it is packed, so an off peak visit is recommended. Local attractions:
Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly, Fortnum and Mason, Jermyn Street.
5. The Black Friar, 174 Queen Victoria Street, Blackfriars, London EC4V 4EG
Unique. There is no other pub remotely like the Black Friar. Decorated at the beginning of the 20th century, bas-relief sculptures depict jovial friars frolicking, singing and drinking. This is a happy pub of mirth and wisdom combined. It was built on the site of a Dominican Priory, its friars dressed in the black cappa. Local attractions:
St Paul's Cathedral, St. Bride's Church.
6. The Prospect of Whitby, 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, London E1W 3SJ
"Prospect of Whitby"
Famous and hugely popular pub, the Prospect enjoys a wonderful riverside position, downstream from Tower Bridge. Flagstone floors, exposed brickwork and timbers from dismantled ships, create a nautical atmosphere. Local attractions:
St. Katherine Docks, Tower Bridge.