Enjoy a proper pint in London

We have a lot to thank the British pub for, especially when it comes to national stories and historic tales. They were the meeting places of literary wizards, they inspired novels and were the watering holes for many of our legendary characters.

In tribute, we’ve rounded up our top 5 historic places for a pint in London. 

The George Inn, Southwark

Located near the bustling and ever-popular Borough Market, The George Inn is the perfect spot to refresh after a morning of browsing through fresh produce.

The tavern has a long history and is the only pub in London owned by the National Trust, so it’d be rude not to pop in for a pint or two.

It’s also the last surviving galleried coaching inn in the capital, which means that it has beautiful detailing that was used to house travellers’ horses back in the 1600s.

An older version of the alehouse also existed, but unfortunately this was destroyed by the Great Fire in 1676.

Finally, the historic venue featured in Dickens’ classic novel Little Dorrit. Once a coffee house, it was a regular joint for the famous Victorian writer and social critic.

Location: 77 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1NH.

The George Inn

The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead

Another favourite among writers, The Spaniards Inn was a key meeting place for literary associations.

Romantic poets John Keats and Lord Byron are said to be among the historic punters of this pub. Meanwhile, the infamous highwayman, Dick Turpin, allegedly nipped in regularly for an ale.

Walking into this 16th-century inn will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time, with gorgeous wood-panelled walls, high-backed pews, a roaring fire and a strong smell of delicious beverages and food.

Location: Spaniards Road, Hampstead, London, NW3 7JJ

The Spaniards Inn

The Grenadier, Belgrave

This building was originally used as an officer’s mess for the Foot Guards regiment. This was where the military personnel would eat, drink and socialise. However, it became a public house in 1818.

Again, this watering hole is said to have welcomed renowned visitors like the Duke of Wellington. More recently, Madonna chose the alehouse for a post-gig celebration. It continues to be popular among socialites, so keep your eye out for familiar faces. Meanwhile, some say that this inn is haunted by a soldier who was murdered after cheating in a game of cards. An intriguing place indeed…

Location: 18 Wilton Row, Belgravia, London, SW1X 7NR

The Grenadier

The Grapes, Limehouse

Previously known as the Bunch of Grapes, this much-loved tavern overlooks the River Thames. Now owned by Sir Ian McKellen, The Grapes has stood on the riverbank for an impressive 500 years.

The joint was featured in the Dickensian novel Our Mutual Friend. Samuel Pepys, the 17th-century businessman and diarist, also mentioned the pub in his recordings of his trip to lime kilns. Today, you can enjoy a hearty meal and a refreshing pint.

Location: 76 Narrow Street, Poplar, London, E14 8BP

The Grapes

The French House, Soho

As the name suggests, this institution acted as a key meeting place for French Resistance in England, mainly during the Second World War.

The first known landlord was actually German, but he was deported as a result of the outbreak of WW1.

General de Gaulle, the well-known French general and statesmen, was a regular during the 1940s. More recently, Suggs from the ska band Madness has been known to drink at The French House, as well as journalist Jeffrey Bernard.

The no music, no machines, no television and no mobile phones policy is very attractive to those seeking a good ol’ fashioned chinwag.

Location: 49 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 5BG

The French House

If you do end up in any of this historical taverns, let us know by tagging us in your snaps on Facebook and Twitter. Just be sure not to get caught with your phone out in The French House.

For the cheapest fares, no booking fees, Nectar points and free 4G Wi-Fi, book your trip to London with Hull Trains today.