The Lamb and Flag
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden’s main streets, The Lamb and Flag has the accolade of being the oldest pub in the area as well as the most renowned – Charles Dickens was a regular visitor. Once notorious for its reputation for bare-knuckled fighting, earning its nickname of ‘The Bucket of Blood’, nowadays it is famous for its old-world charm, impressive food and inviting interior. The pub has an impressive collection of different whiskies and serves real ale alongside its locally sourced menu.
The Lamb and Flag, 33 Rose Street, London WC2E 9EB, +44 (0)20 7497 95045
Cittie of Yorke
The Cittie of Yorke is housed in a Grade-II listed building in High Holborn which dates back to 1430. Inside, the pub pays homage to England’s historic past with dark-wood alcoves, high church-like ceilings and stone floors, all of which adds to its rustic character. The pub has a surprising amount of space with three bars and multiple rooms, yet the alcoves that line the edge of the main room provides an intimate space for visitors. Food is served from 12pm to 9pm and there is a good selection of Sam Smith beers.
Cittie of York, 22 High Holborn, London WC1V 6BN, +44 (0)20 7242 7670
The Ten Bells
This Shoreditch pub is famous for its prominent position on the east London scene, as well as being the watering hole of two of Jack the Ripper’s victims. It was founded in the mid 18th century, if not earlier, it has a suitably aged interior with impressive Victorian tiling adding to its old-world charm. Artfully faded sofas, warm service and great food attract the east London crowds, while its famous past lures those from further afield.
The Ten Bells, 84 Commercial Street, London E1 6QG, +44 (0)7530 492986
The George Inn
Now owned by the National Trust, the George Inn is undoubtedly one of London’s finest historical pubs. Dating from the 17th century, this public house is the capital’s last remaining galleried inn and is even mentioned in the Charles Dickens novel Little Dorrit. It is a must-visit on London’s ultimate historical pub tour, while its large outdoor seating space makes it a great venue in the summer and for large groups of friends.
The George Inn, 77 Borough High Street, London SE1 1NH, +44(0)20 7407 2056
Located in a quiet mews just a short distance from the opulent shopping opportunities of Knightsbridge – including Harrods – the Nags Head is well worth searching out. The unspoilt interior is steeped in character and tradition, the low ceilings, wooden beams and working penny-arcade machines all adding to the pub’s charm. Mobile phones are banned, allowing customers to embrace the old-world atmosphere and to get a sense of what a public house was like in centuries past.
Nags Head, 53 Kinnerton Street, London SW1X 8ED, +44 (0)20 7235 1135