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Date updated: 16/03/2023

Drinks with Dickens, shots with Shakespeare and cheers with Chaucer

The City’s pubs have survived a lot over the years: fires, plagues, wars, and modernisation. This route will take you back in time to some of the oldest and most atmospheric pubs in the Square Mile that have been places of inspiration for London’s famous figures, including authors like Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens and have been at the heart of London life for centuries. Cheers!  

Download the PDF below or scroll down for details.

Historic Pubs in the City PDF (1MB)
Date submitted: 21/09/20
Check the websites for these pubs to book a table and confirm their opening times.

Stop A: Jamaica Wine House - St. Michaels Alley, Cornhill, EC3V 9DS

The Jamaica Wine House is almost impossible to find, unless you already know where it is! It was built on the site of London’s first coffee house in the churchyard of a Dickensian church and, although it has historic links with the sugar trade and slave plantations of the West Indies, this is an atmospheric "must-see", with the famous Todd’s Wine Bar nested downstairs. 

Stop B: The Globe - 83 Moorgate, EC2M 6SA

The Globe is conveniently located a short stroll from Moorgate and Liverpool Street Underground Stations and the Barbican Centre. With its elegant rococo exterior, the pub runs along the line of a Roman Wall. It’s situated close to the original site of notorious Bedlam (Bethlem) and the famous poet, John Keats, was also born in a stable next door.

Ye Olde Mitre - 1 Ely Court, Ely Place, EC1N 6SJ

Often described as the hardest pub to find in London, Ye Olde Mitre is located through a narrow passageway, off Hatton Garden. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have once danced around a cherry tree in its back garden and. the pub was originally licensed to the Bishop of Ely in Cambridgeshire and used to be guarded by his frock-coated official.  

Stop C: Cittie of Yorke - 22 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6BN

In the heart of London’s legal quarter, the historic Cittie of Yorke is a curious place of interest. With its inspiring, medieval-style interiors and with a Tudor disregard for spelling, it was built in Victorian times as a reconstruction of the pub’s original 1430 design. Welsh poet Dylan Thomas penned an impromptu ode to the pub when it was called Henneky's Long Bar.

Stop D: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese - 145 Fleet Street, EC4A 2BU

This rambling, twisting 17th century hulk has played host to nearly every literary figure in London, including Charles Dickens, G.K. Chesterton and Mark Twain Not all at the same time, though. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a London institution.

Stop E: Ye Old Watling - 29 Watling St, London EC4M 9BRBasking in the shade of St Paul’s Cathedral, Ye Olde Watling was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in 1668 to house his workers and, most importantly, provide somewhere for them to drink. The plans for St Paul’s Cathedral were drawn up in what is now the dining room.

Other pubs in the City of London

The Old Bank of England - 194 Fleet Street, EC4A 2LT

The Old Bank of England has some of the most sumptuous pub interiors in London, converted from the Law Courts branch of the Bank of England. It’s a great big rambling building, located interestingly between the barber shop owned by Sweeney Todd and the pie shop owned by Mrs Lovett. 

Fancy a cycle?

If you'd like to explore this route by bike, note that cycle parking is available at the many on-street cycle parking racks throughout the City. The City of London Corporation provides free cycle parking in its off-street public car parks. More cycle parking spaces are available in NCP car parks. Explore this interactive map to find cycle parking.

Learn more about cycling in the City

Other places of interest

Find out more about other places to eat and drink in the City of London on our website and download the In the City app for exclusive deals and great offers from bars and eateries in the Square Mile.