If there’s anything more an iconic symbol for London than Big Ben or the London Eye, then it must be the traditional English pub and London is full of them, dating from pre-Victorian times to just about five minutes ago. However, with a city rich in history and as changeable as fashion on Oxford Street, let’s stick with five of the most historic pubs in London:
Probably the most famous and/or infamous on the list, depending on your whims. There’s been a pub on this corner of Commercial Street in Spitalfields since 1752 but it was rebuilt in the Victorian Era. This is the very pub where Jack the Ripper was said to haunt in the fall of 1888 and any modern day Ripper tour worth its salt will make a stop here. Mary Kelly, probably the most known Ripper victim, was the hooker who staked her claim at the Ten Bells. Woe on anyone who tried to stomp on Mary’s turf.
Ye Olde Chesire Cheese
Is a public house right in the City of London proper and it’s about as historical and famous a pub as there can be. This is the stuff of Dickensian legend. There’s been a pub on this site of Fleet Street since the days of Henry VIII but today’s building was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It’s dank and gloomy and oh, so dark, which adds to the character of the place, quite literally – since it’s mentioned in the Charles Dickens classic, “A Tale of Two Cities.”
The Lamb and Flag
At over 300 years old, it is said to be the oldest pub in historic Covent Garden. Today it attracts mostly tourists but then again, so does everything else in the colorful market area.
The Spaniards Inn
No trip to London would be complete without a brief “ride to the country” within the city – Hampstead Heath, where you’ll find The Spaniards Inn. It has been on this site since the mid-16th century and was frequented by the likes of highway robberman Dick Turpin, as well as a host of literary notables such as Lord Byron, John Keats and yes, Charles Dickens.
St. Stephen’s Tavern
This is the public house directly opposite Big Ben, and as such, you are just as liable to grab a pint with a journalist covering Parliament as you are with a wandering tourist. The location is fantastic and the crowd is always vibrant. It’s young by London standards, only dating back to 1873, but this is where former British Prime Minister Disraeli would hang out in the basement, where the St. Stephen’s Gentlemen’s Club was borne.
Budget London Accommodation
- Elmwood Hotel – guestrooms starting from € 48.6/£ 40/$59.7
- Bed and Breakfast Bennys B and B – rooms starting from € 42.5/£ 35/$ 52.2
- MacDonald Hotel – rooms starting from € 46.1/£ 38/$ 56.7
Find out other cheap hotels on London Hotel Deals.
Photo by genvessel.