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Beautiful Historic Pubs in London

Beautiful Historic Pubs in London

There is no denying that the pub is a staple of British culture.  They have been part UK life for centuries, transitioning over time from dirty drinking dens to places of gastronomical eats.  But our enthusiasm for the public house has been on the wane for a long time.  On average, 29 pubs close  every week1.  It’s a statistic I don’t like, so I am starting a series on beautiful historic pubs in the UK, beginning with my home city, London.

I’ve chosen pubs I have visited and pubs I have discovered online that have kept or restored their historic features.  I adore pubs that make me feel I have gone back in time or that I am part of their history, and the interiors of these establishments will leave you wondering why you don’t spend more time in them. 

1http://www.camra.org.uk

 

The Mayflower
117 Rotherrhithe Street, SE16 4NF

Situated on the River Thames, The Mayflower dates back to the 1600s.  It was named after the Mayflower Ship that set sail from a nearby spot. This vessel took the Pilgrim Fathers, separatists who broke from the Church of England, to the New World.

Low ceilings and dark wood paneling creates a moody and cosy atmosphere, all while waves of the Thames laps outside .   

Mayflower Pub - Rotherhithe

Image taken from Time Out London

 

Mayflower Pub Rotherhithe

Image taken from the Mayflower Pub website

 

Mayflower Pub Rotherhithe

Image taken from the Mayflower Pub website

 

Mayflower Pub RotherhitheImage taken from the Mayflower Pub website

 

Princess Louise
208 High Holborn, WC1V 7EP

The Princess Louise is a stunning example of beautifully preserved Victorian interior design.  Named after one of Queen Victoria’s daughteres, it is a Grade II listed, this public house underwent a refurbishment in 2007.  Even the marble urinals are protected. Built in 1872 and situated not far from the British Museum, inside you will be greeted by an island bar surrounded by booths that retain their snob screens*.  Perfect for intimate drinks.

*not such a nice part of Victorian drinking history.  These are etched glass that allowed the middle classes to see the working class in the adjacent bar, but the working class could not see them.

Princess Louise pub, Holborn, LondonImage taken from Pinterest

 

https://i0.wp.com/cocoonhome.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Princess-Louise-pub-Holborn-London-4.jpg?resize=1002%2C668&ssl=1Image taken from CN Traveller

 

Princess Louise pub, Holborn, LondonImage taken from Travels with Beer

 

The Black Lion
274 Kilburn High Road, NW6 2BY

Travel on the Bakerloo line to visit another Grade II listed public house.  The Black Lion, in Kilburn, has a bar, restaurant and 14 guest bedrooms.   Built in 1898, this drinking establishment has excellent reviews online, and apparently do a cracking roast.

Black Lion Pub KilburnImage taken from the Black Lion website

 

Black Lion Pub KilburnImage taken from booking.com

 

The Viaduct Tavern
128 Newgate Street, EC1A 7AA

The Viaduct Tavern is one of London’s most haunted pubs and the last example of a late Victorian gin palace in the City of London.  Which is useful, as gin helps calm the nerves .  The interior is wonderfully ostentatious, being modeled on a Victorian opera house.  It was built in 1874/5 on top of the cells of the Giltspur Street Compter.  This was a remand prison that took in the overflow of prisoners from Newgate Prison, which was across the road.  The cells, now used as a pub cellar, are apparently the site of paranormal activity.

Viaduct Tavern, LondonImage taken from Design My Night

 

Viaduct Tavern, LondonImage taken from the Viaduct Tavern website

 

Viaduct Tavern, LondonImage taken from Design My Night

 

The Crown Pub
116 Cloudesley Road, N1 0EB

The Crown in Islington is one of my favourites pubs in London. Continuing the tradition of Grade II listed pubs, The Crown also holds this accolade.  It’s Victorian decor is  not as opulent as some of the other pubs on this list, but it is no less beautiful.  It’s full of locals who actually talk to you, so you’ll not find yourselves amongst wildly inebriated revellers spilling their drinks on your lap.  Their food is damn fine too and their staff are always delightful. 

The Crown Pub IslingtonImage taken from the Crown website

 

The Crown Pub IslingtonImage taken from the Crown website

 

The Blackfriar
174 Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 4EG

Yep, you guessed it.  The Blackfriar is a Grade II listed pub, but it’s decor is not like the others above.  It is a stunning example of Art Nouveau design.  The site it stands on was once the Dominican friary.  The Dominicans were known as “the blackfriars” because of the black cloaks they wore, hence the name of the pub.   The interior was remodelled in the early 20th century by sculptor, Henry Poole.  It features numerous friezes and mosaics (including the sign outside) depicting the Blackfriars.  It is understandably a popular pub in London, so avoid lunch or get there very early evening to grab a table.

The Blackfriar pub, London 2Image taken from Cat Morley

 

The Blackfriar pub, LondonImage taken from BBC News

 

The Blackfriar pub, LondonImage taken from BBC News

 

The Victoria
10A Strathearn Place, W2 2NH

Legend has it that Queen Victoria, having disembarked at Paddington Station, stopped off at this pub, and thus it was then named after her.  Charles Dickens is although believed to have sat and written part of Our Mutual Friend here.  I sometimes find a gin with a bit of ice helps relax the mind, so I don’t blame him (plus, his home must have been crazy with all his children!). It’s location positions it perfectly for visits by royalty, genius, celebrities and all us other folk that keep the wheels turning.  The Victoria still boasts many fittings from the mid-Victorian era which many other public houses discarded during renovation.  And if you want an intellectual challenge whilst sipping on your beer, Tuesday is Quiz Night.  

The Victoria pub, PaddingtonImage taken from The Victoria website

 

The Victoria pub, PaddingtonImage taken from Design My Night

 

The Victoria pub, PaddingtonImage taken from Pinterest

 

 

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