The pub is a great English institution. And there’s nowhere better than London to investigate historic pubs and taverns – from the humble alehouses of the Middle Ages to great Victorian palaces of beer.
This special three-part feature will highlight some of the best of them for you along with a convenient hotel for enjoying each locality.
The Holborn area (just east of Covent Garden) provides a wonderful concentrated pub crawl. You can start at Ye Olde Mitre in Ely Place.
This little hidden pub is tucked away through a narrow alley. It was where the bishop’s servants drank when Ely Place was still the Bishop of Ely’s London palace. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have danced around the tree whose trunk you can still see, when it was still youthful and green.
Further along Holborn is the Cittie of Yorke, a pub whose Tudor Gothic stone facade and high timber ceiling certainly look medieval.
In fact, it dates from the 1920s as a nostalgic vision of what Olde England might have been, but never actually was. Huge vats and tiny drinking snugs, and pints of Sam Smith’s Brewery bitter.
The Cittie of Yorke is all wood, a comforting feel of the country in the city.
The Princess Louise in High Holborn is all glass – wonderful sparkling Victorian-engraved glass – in a thoroughly metropolitan pub. London has other great Victorian pubs but this is one you always want to return to.
Where could you crawl back to after this itinerary?
We’d suggest One Aldwych – just a few minutes walk from the above pubs as well as being the perfect hotel for enjoying London’s theatreland area.
I personally love to visit its lobby bar for a quiet drink or reflective coffee.
And you could always try One Aldwych’s wonderful spa or swimming pool to recover from your pub crawl!
Photo credits: One Aldwych, Ye Olde Mitre pub.