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Top 5 of the Oldest Pubs in London to Visit And Have a Pint – Which One is Your Favorite?

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Which pub is the oldest in London? Ask twelve men and you´ll get twelve different answers.

Since 90% of London pubs were destroyed in the Great Fire in 1666, there aren´t many pubs left that date from before 1666. Of the ones that did escape the Great Fire, retrieving the exact date is quiet hard most of the times. And of the few that did survive many claim to be the oldest. Therefore, I won´t give you an exact top 5 but here´s an overview of 5 of the oldest pubs in London.

1.Ye Olde Mitre Tavern (Ely Court, Hatton Garden, Holborn, London)

Besides being one of London´s most hidden pubs, Ye Old Mitre is also one of the oldest with its history dating back to 1546. Enter the tavern and you´ll encounter a pub with lots of wooden panels and no music or screaming tv’s at all.

2. Cittie of Yorke (22 High Holborn, Holborn, London)

Also located in Camden´s Holborn area, Cittie of Yorke is located for more than 580 years on the same site, although it was rebuilt in the beginning of the 1920´s. Famous for its ingenious triangular stove standing in the centre of the bar, Cittie of Yorke is definitely one of London´s most unique pubs

3. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (145 Fleet Street, Holborn, London  )

Another candidate in our list of oldest pubs in London is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. It was build only a year after the Great Fire, but on its site used to be a pub called the Horn which was built in 1538. A unique feature of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is its cellar which dates to a 13th century monastery.

4. The Seven Stars (53 Carey Street, Holborn, London)

Located near the Royal Courts of Justice this tiny little pub did not only survive the Great Fire, in 2002 it also celebrated its 400th anniversary. Once inside The Seven Stars you´ll understand why Londoners call this the pub with the most ´character´ in the whole of London.

5.The George Inn (77 Borough High Street, Borough, London)

Near the London Bridge in Southwark The George Inn is located, London´s only surviving galleried coaching inn. Being rebuild in 1667 The George Inn has several different bars. What nowadays is called The Middle Bar, used to be called The Coffee Room and was frequented a lot by Charles Dickens. The George Inn is even mentioned by Dickens in one of its books (Little Dorrit).

Which one is your favorite? We’re particularly fond of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Let us know in the comments!

Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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12 COMMENTS

    • Love Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese! It has an oil painting of Samuel Johnston ( the writer of the1st dictionary) over his regular seat. Very old & cozy. They serve a nice dinner—not just a place to drink.

  1. Love Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, but two unescorted ladies going into the back didn’t seem overly inviting, so we stayed in the front and had dinner. Ye Olde Mitre was wonderful in ale selection, appetizers, crowd and ambiance — although I may never be able to find it again.

  2. Great book on the George: “Shakespeare’s Pub: A Barstool History of London as Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub – The George Inn.”

  3. The Cheshire and the Mitre both have much to recommend them, and hunting for the Mitre the first time is just as much fun as looking at Polly Parrot in her case at the Cheshire. But given the option I’ll take the George every time…mostly because it is such a glorious example of a 17th Century coaching inn (even though only one side of the courtyard remains.)

    If making the oldest list can include pubs built where older ones were, then I’d add the Hand & Shears in Smithfield simply for its history. It was there when Bartholomew Fair was established in the 12th Century and when I’m there I can imagine the sounds of the Piepowder Court upstairs where the crimes and grievances of the market fair were adjudicated, and the revelry of the Lord Mayor and other officials as they prepared to declare the fair open.

  4. I’ve only been to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and it was delightful! I definitely recommend it to friends heading over there.

  5. Had lunch at the George Inn a year ago. It is a remarkable place and the food is very good. I could not stop taking pictures.

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