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Itinerary - 6 days in London.... and lots of "old pubs"

My husband and I are sans kids! Edinburgh then London. Husband has been many times, his family is British. I have never been. We are combing his desire to see "old pubs” with sights. If you have suggestions I would love it! I get basics and he adds pubs.... Thank you in advance!!

Friday September 30th
• Tower of London at 8:30am
• London Bridge
• St. Paul Cathedral
• Shoreditch? Spitalfields Market?

October 1st Saturday
• Westminster Walk 11am – 1pm, includes Houses of Parliament Westminster Abbey
• Churchill War room
• Jack the Ripper Tour (Tower Hill Underground) 7:30pm
October 2nd Sunday
Kensington, Holland Park, Notting Hill

• Kensington Palace

• Portobello Road
• Kensington and Holland Park
• Marble Arch
• Hyde Park
• Play at Duchess Theatre 3-5 Cathrine Street (Covent Garden)

October 3rd Monday
• Buckingham Palace
• Changing of the Guard – 10:30am from St. James to Buckingham Palace

• Royal Academy of the Arts
• St. James Palace
• Royal Mews

October 4th Tuesday
• British Museum
• Postal Museum
• Trafalgar Square

• Piccadilly Circus
• National Gallery
• National Portrait Gallery

October 5 Wednesday
• Greenwich area?

October 6 Thursday
• Hampton Court

Thank you so much!!!

Posted by
741 posts

I guess the saying "know yourself" applies, but on 10/4 you have 4 museums scheduled. I'd have museum fatigue if I tried to do that.

Posted by
2062 posts

Agree with John, the British Museum could easily be an all day project.

Posted by
70 posts

I would rethink Oct 4th! That is a lot of museums for one day, and the British Museum is very overwhelming the first time you go. They don't have a good system for displaying everything, so I can't imagine going there and then to 3 more museums after that! I would move the National Gallery/ Portrait Gallery to Oct 3 and skip the Royal Mews. Also why St. James Place? Just curious as it isn't a spot folks tend to go.

Greenwich is a great area and if the weather is dry take the Ferry there and the DLR back.

Another idea for your Sunday, Oct 2 is head to Hampstead and Hampstead Heath. One of the oldest pubs in London is there called The Spaniards Inn. If you want better food, we love The Wells or The Holly Bush. You need to make reservations now for any of them as Sunday is a prime time for Brits to walk on the Heath and have a Sunday roast at a local pub. There are more pubs in Hampstead if you want to try having a drink in each one. Hampstead has a ton of cafes, a good crepe food truck, gelato and Karma Bakery sells the best toasties along with other yummy baked goods. On the Heath you can walk to some of the best vistas of the London skyline or to Kenwood. The Northern Line in Hampstead will take you straight to Covent Garden for your play.

Posted by
17 posts

Excellent point. Thank you! This is a rough draft and we can not do something if we get too tired. Wanted to get a general feel of being in the same area and I don't want to miss a thing!

Just saw the immersive Frida Kahlo exhibit which looks STUNNING! Anyone been?

Will likely add walks, they seems to be great guides and not super expensive. And a show or two! THANK YOU!!!

Posted by
6333 posts

I’ll let you Google each. Tried to include pubs within walking distances to your must sees. All traditional pubs.

Blackfriars ( gorgeous art deco pub ) by Blackfriars station
The Antelope in Belgravia
The Auld Shillelagh in Stoke Newton
The Ship and Shovel down the Craven Passage
The Dundee Arms near Bethnal Green
The Princess of Prussia 10 minutes from Wilton’s Music Hall
The Victoria Paddington
The Anchor Tap by Tower Bridge
The Cask and Glass by The Palace

Different neighborhoods. All good pubs to enjoy a respite.

Posted by
514 posts

The National Portrait Gallery is closed until spring of 2023. Doing British Museum and the National Gallery in one day is a tall order, but get yourself a good rest in the middle of the day and you could pull it off.

Blackfriars is a classic, and I enjoyed the food. Princess Louise is a great ornate Victorian style pub, and a good stop after British Museum. If you’re in the East End, then seek out Pride of Spitalfields. This was my favorite pub in London, and can be quiet or raucous depending on the hour.

Posted by
221 posts

If you’re at all interested in going inside Buckingham Palace, it closes for this year on 2 October. You might just be planning a walk by, but I thought I’d point it out just so you don’t miss the interior tours by one day!

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you! This is so awesome. I hope others are gleaning ideas!

Posted by
9673 posts

On your first day, you probably mean Tower Bridge which you can see from the Tower of London. To get to St Pauls, you can backtrack on Rick’s City of London walk going from the Tower of London to #23 (Monument), then backwards. Well, don’t walk backwards but do the route backwards, lol.

I actually enjoy the Royal Mews but I’d do it while you are in the area instead of going back for it. Unless you have to walk that way to get to your hotel. BTW, I like watching the guards form up for inspection and listen to the bands play while they are getting ready more than the changing of the guard itself. They form up in front of Wellington Barracks then march across to the Palace.

I’ve also done 2 London Walks in one day and that’s a lot. If you can spread those out that would be better. Or is the Westminster Walk you are thinking about the one from Rick?

I did the Jack the Ripper walk in…oh, another lifetime, lol, so in the 80’s. It was missable although theories on who he was may have changed since then. It was just the whole murdering and mutilating prostitutes that was not my cup of tea. Your trip, your choices!

Posted by
1668 posts

Some suggestions:

Maybe switch your Friday plans to another day so you can take advantage of the British Museum late opening on Fridays. After too much research, I found the Ship Tavern near the British Museum. It has a beautiful interior and good reviews.

Saturday - see if you can tour Parliament - only available on Saturdays. The Jack the Murderer tours are considered a rip-off by everyone who posts on TA - none of the original sites even exist anymore.

When you are in the Tower of London to St. Pauls area, you might want to add a meal at Sky Garden for the great views.

I would prioritize visiting Westminster Abbey interior over St. Pauls. Much more interesting IMHO. And the south bank of the Thames from the London Eye all the way down to Tower Bridge is much more interesting than the Hyde Park area. A long walk but lots of places to have a "sit-down."

All those museums, but you are missing our other favorite, The Victoria and Albert which is quite close to Hyde Park.

Posted by
925 posts

Hello from Wisconsin,

Old pubs versus fake old pubs. We can establish that difference. The next part is how old are you looking for?

Near the British Library, which I don't see on your list, are two nice local 'old' pubs. Now you might be close to this library because it is near King's Cross and St. Pancras RR Station. Nearby you will find Mabel's Tavern, 9 Mabeldon Place, that has a nice Guinness and daily specials at noon and evening. It is only a block to the south of Euston Road. The Skinner's Arm is also near by at 114 Judd St. It too, offers noon meals. How old are they? Old enough to have patina. Mabel died in 1970, but it might be operation long before she came along.

And speaking of the British Library. It is free. I have never had to wait to get into library's museum. I don't know what would excite you: The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles? Beatles working drafts of songs you know? Magna Carta? The Forest Carta?
Fleming's notes as he discovered penicillin? Gutenberg Bible? Handwritten manuscripts from the Brontë sisters, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, and Andrea Levy’s working drafts...? Stamps? Plus inside, there is a cafe good for breakfast. Outside the building but within the walls on the terrace there are venders for coffee etc.

I see on Trip Advisor that The Skinner's Arm gets good review. It was a joy filled place when we were there. But I did prefer Mabel's.

wayne iNWI

Posted by
288 posts

Yo Beno,
We too are Brit-bound, and here are some 'pubs' observations from our own research. Firstly STOP PRESS. If you want some light entertainment, maybe read reviews for 'The Golden Heart' pub. In all our years of travel, I'm not sure that we've ever read such a scathing series of critiques, particularly about a certain um, 'innkeeper' who probably should've hung up her apron a decade ago. Our Brick Lane landlady recommended that pub (???!!!) but we'll be giving it a wide berth.

But others more worthy of a looksee:
Ye Olde Mitre
Cittie of Yorke
Ten Bells (apparently now offering a new Italianate menu)
*as AWRZ said above, the Princess Louise. Also good for quiet lunches upstairs.
You mention the Spaniards Inn up at HH. Just be aware that it too, has drawn some concerning reviews. We've crossed it off our list.
Hope all goes well.
I am done. The end.

Posted by
232 posts

There is no shortage of old time pubs in London. I will supplement some good early suggestions with a few more:

The Ten Bells, The Hoop and Grapes, The George Inn, The Mayflower Pub, The Harp, and The Ship & Shovel.

I have hit over 100 pubs in my 7 visits over the last 10 years and plan to add a dozen or more new ones when I head back in July. I have slowly built my list with some recommendations on this forum, RS’s book, and my own random research. I will leave you my #1 resource for finding top notch pubs throughout London and all of UK. Get yourself the most recent version of CAMRA’s Good Beer & Pub Guide. Your husband is likely very much aware of the good people with CAMRA. Cheers.

Posted by
70 posts

Such great pub suggestions, I'll second some and add a few to the list. We love The George Inn - the one near Borough market, Ye old Mitre (worth the search to find the little gem of a Holborn pub) Princess Louise (beauty) Lamb and Flag (Covent Garden with some chatty locals on their dedicated stools) Another one tucked away is The Grenadier. It's on south side of Hyde Park in Belgravia. History says The Grenadier originally was the mess hall for the Duke of Wellington's officers. It's tiny but has a fabulous pewter bar.
The Flask in Highgate was wonderful for meal and soaking up some good old pub aura on the east side of Hampstead Heath and I'm sorry to hear The Spaniards Inn has sunk some as 3 years ago we thoroughly enjoyed it for a meal and ambience after a walk through the Heath. Seems it would still be fun to see and then hit some other great pub in the nearby town. One more, the Windsor Castle in Kensington.
I'll also second the V&A museum. Even just to go for tea or coffee in the beautiful dining room is worth a stop. And the British Library. The Magna Carte steps away from hand-written notes by Lennon and McCartney. Fantastic.

Posted by
1098 posts

You (or your husband) might want to add the "CAMRA Good Beer" app to your phone

Posted by
298 posts

Pubs? Let’s see…. (Google can help with directions)

The Grenadier near Harrods
The Anglesey Arms in South Ken
The Churchill Arms , the Windsor Castle, and the Uxbridge Arms, all in Notting Hill
The Duke of York, around the corner from Bond Street tube station
The Ship, behind Holdborn tube station
The White Lion, between Holborn and Covent Garden
The Marquess of Anglesey , Covent Garden

Posted by
2285 posts

Potential pub after you visit the Tower.

Authentic 17th-century pub with original features and large beer garden in Southwark. Serving real ales and classic food a stone’s throw from the Shard and London Bridge. Take in the history and enjoy the family friendly and dog friendly setting. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the George’s roots can be traced back to at least 1543 where it stood until the Great Fire of London in 1666. Rebuilt in the 1670s, the historic coaching inn boasts a story behind every nook and cranny. Its striking interior with its warped wood fittings sits alongside a generous cobbled courtyard which is always popular when the sun in shining. A potential haunt of Shakespeare’s, the George proved popular with another British icon, having been mentioned by name in Charles Dickens’ 1857 novel ‘Little Dorrit’. Perfect for all seasons, the George is the ideal place to meet friends and enjoy a pint of ale alongside a plate of traditional British comfort food.