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London's Riverside Pubs

London's Riverside Pubs

Mike Gerrard - 2008-09-22

London life started by the River Thames, and the river is still a potent force in the city two thousand years later. Little wonder, then, that some of the city's riverside pubs are among the most historic places in the capital.

The Anchor Bankside
34 Park Street
In his Diaries, Samuel Pepys describes watching the 1666 Great Fire of London from this pub, feeling the heat and watching the burning glow growing and spreading. The pub itself was a victim and had to be rebuilt in 1676. Dr Johnson was another famous regular here, and one of the bars is named after him and contains a copy of the great man's dictionary.
The Captain Kidd
108 Wapping High Street
Once known as Execution Dock, the area here is where people were put to the gallows, including a few pirates including Captain Kidd. The building is 17th century but it's only been in use as a pub for about a hundred years.
The Dove
19 Upper Mall
If you can manage to find a table overlooking the river at the back, there's no finer place to spend a sunny day or warm evening than in this 17th century pub that remains little changed.
The Mayflower
117 Rotherhithe Street
This pub was renamed the Mayflower in 1957, to commemorate the fact that it was from here the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in The Mayflower, heading for Southampton, then Plymouth, and next stop America. That was in 1620, when the pub was known as The Shippe, and today the beer garden at the back is actually out over the river.
The Prospect of Whitby
37 Wapping Wall
London's oldest riverside pub was built in the 1520s, and drinkers here have included Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens, both of whom seem to have drunk at every riverside pub in London!
The Town of Ramsgate
62 Wapping High Street
The Town of Ramsgate is where Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian had a drink before setting sail to Tahiti on The Bounty, and outside in the garden there used to be a gallows, as executions used to take place here.
The Trafalgar Tavern
Park Row
The Trafalgar Tavern was built in 1837 on the site of an even older pub. The statue of Lord Nelson outside tells of the area's naval heritage, as does the name of the pub, commemorating Nelson's great victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Inside the pub well-known figures like Charles Dickens and William Gladstone have enjoyed a drink, as well as the pub's speciality, whitebait, which is just as popular today.

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