The Secrets of London Pub Tour

September 10, 2014

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I went on a walking tour of London?

I hollered for Miss Erica to join me and off we trotted to London Bridge to learn all about prostitutes, Tudor she-wees and the origins of the word ‘hangover’ (which came in very handy the next day when I was suffering the effects of too much prosecco…)

It was a great night!

So I was super excited to hear that Best LDN Walks was arranging another blogger walk: the Secrets of London Pub Tour.

Fleet Street London

Our first stop was The Blackfriar Pub.

Apparently it’s named after the friars who used to live there way, way back many centuries ago (5 points to whoever gets that reference). They wore black robes, hence Blackfriar.

I love how simple things were in those days. You wore white? You’re a White Friar. Wear grey? You’re a Grey Friar. Seemples!

London pub tour BlackfriarsWisdom is Rare inscription over door

The pub is in a Grade II listed building, which means that the outside and the inside cannot be modified or built on. Which meeeans… that it all looks old and authentic and super interesting.

These inscriptions are over all the doors and there are carvings everywhere: small faces above the doors, friars collecting food and a brilliant one in the back room that I think looks like one of the trolls from The Hobbit.

It’s all just really fascinating to look at. I could have spent hours soaking it all in and taking photos of every single detail!

The Blackfriars Pub mosaic ceilingThe Blackfriars Pub friar carvingsLondon pub tourBridewell Palace plaqueThe Punch Tavern London

Our next pub stop was The Punch Tavern on Fleet Street.

It’s an old Victorian gin palace with an amazing selection of over FORTY different types of gin.

Now that’s MY kind of palace!

Gin menuBest LDN Walks group photo
^ (clockwise from top left) Me (Katy), Josie, Milly, Lucy, Lucy, Flora, Muriel, Charlotte and Haydy!

Elderflower Gin and Tonic

It’s quite pricey at about £6 to £8 for the gin, but with massive measures like that, I suppose one can’t really complain!

The pub itself was lovely. Very buzzy, full of people doing a pub quiz, and the decor is brilliant. All warm wood, yellow lights and vintage paintings of Punch and Judy shows.

The food menu looked fab as well. I definitely want to go back to this one!

The Punch Tavern artworkJournalist Church London

We stopped on our way to the next pub to take photos of the Journalist’s Church.

Apparently the reason there is so many pubs on Fleet Street is cos that’s how journalists got their stories: by listening to the drunk folk gossiping!

Best LDN WalksYe Olde Cheshire Cheese London

Hidden up a teeny-tiny alleyway on Fleet Street you’ll find Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub.

OK, first of all: how FABULOUS is that name?!

Secondly: their front step has been in place since before the Great Fire of London in 1666. So if you put your feet on there, you are treading on the actual ghostly footsteps of Charles Dickens!

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese LondonYe Olde Cheshire Cheese London

I love a good old English pub. They’re always so warm and welcoming, with candles and fireplaces and interesting artwork.

I went for a cider here which was fine, but I tried a bit of Josie‘s Organic Strawberry Beer and I definitely recommend it if you’re ever there! Very mellow and fruity.

We visited Polly the parrot in her cage in the main room before heading down some steep and narrow stairs to the cellars below.

These have been converted into seating areas, with small wooden tables and chairs everywhere. Low ceilings, dim lights and the occasional iron gate as you pass through an entrance gives the whole place a fab atmosphere!

I’ve actually been to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese with Gary before, for dinner. It’s a great place for a date and their fish and chips are to die for.

I definitely recommend a visit if you’re ever in London.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese LondonHodge the Cat London

Our next stop was a visit to Hodge the cat, just round the corner from Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

Hodge was a cat that belonged to Samuel Johnson (the dictionary writer). He’s a pretty special kind of cat: scan the QR code on your phone and you’ll receive a phone-call from him and hear him talk!

I think it’s such a fab idea, and after doing some research I’ve discovered there’s a whole bunch of statues that have learnt to talk. So keep an eye out, and let me know which ones you find!

Yellow rose and gin menuThe Viaduct Tavern Prison rules

All my pics from Pub Number 4 were far too dark to use, which is SUCH a shame.

We took two steps through a guarded gate in Holborn and found ourselves in a tiny little corner of Cambridgeshire!

It’s an expensive-looking street with a gorgeous church and the cutest little hidden alleyway pub: Ye Olde Mitre.

Very old, very small and very popular with lawyers. We weren’t there long but it’s definitely worth a visit (if you can find it!)

The Viaduct Tavern Prison

Our final stop was The Viaduct Tavern (just up the road from St Paul’s tube station).

This one was super cool, cos it actually used to be an old Victorian prison. The pub’s beer barrels are housed in a cellar that leads into the actual jail cells.

It’s also meant to be a little bit haunted…

Milly in a cellThe Viaduct Tavern Prison

It was kinda creepy and kinda cool all at the same time.

After a few drinks, most people left for home, leaving Josie, Milly and I to end the night with mini-fishbowls of peach and raspberry gin + lemonade, hot home-made sausage rolls and a good ol’ gossip.

Peach and Raspberry Gin

I think that was one of my fave parts of the night. It was so lovely to properly meet and get to know some of my long-time blogging friends!

Please follow the links above and discover their awesome blogs! They’re such a lovely bunch of ladies :)

The tour itself was also fab. I love old pubs and I think the stories behind them are always fascinating. I love it when current owners have made the effort to preserve the history and really make it interesting for their customers.

And I really can’t recommend Best LDN Walks enough you guys!

Charlotte makes history accessible and really fun for everyone. Her stories are always funny and relevant but reveal the humanity (and dirrrrtiness!) behind the monarchs and historical figures we all learnt about in school.

If you’re interested, totally check out her website and see which walk would appeal to you most. They’re all about £10 at most, and it’s a such a cheap and fun way to discover London!

*My tour was free in exchange for a review.
All thoughts, words and gin loving are my own!


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