London is thought to be home to over 7,000 pubs and bars across the city, some of which number amongst the oldest in the country. With a wide variety of styles, from ultra-modern bars through to olde worlde public houses, there’s plenty of variety to choose from.
There are some particularly popular routes to follow that will give you a good idea of the kinds of pubs that are on offer in the city – and maybe see some of the sights into the bargain!
The Circle Line pub crawl
Fast becoming a tradition in central London with stag and hen parties visiting the city, the Circle Line offers the chance to end up where you started out and have a few drinks into the bargain!
The full pub crawl makes a stop at each of the 27 stations on the Underground line, which would make it 28 drinks if you end up where you started. That’s a bit rich for most people’s blood and is a recipe for a terrible hangover if not worse! However, you can call in at a few of the stops and see some of the sights along the way.
The Red Lion in Westminster is the traditional pub visited as part of the crawl and gives you the chance to see the Houses of Parliament and the famous tower that houses Big Ben. Moving on to South Kensington and you can pay a visit to the Zetland Arms for a drink as well as calling into the Science, Natural History or Victoria and Albert Museum while you’re in the area.
The Globe is your next stop on the line at Baker Street, close to the fictional home of detective Sherlock Holmes. Then off at Embankment for a view of the London Eye and a drink at the Ship and Shovel near the station.
Monopoly pub crawl
Another well-loved route follows the Monopoly board and gives you the chance to see a number of the places listed in the famous game. Like the Central Line crawl, this is something of an epic undertaking to do in its entirety and covers some 26 stops in total across London.
In addition to a number of stops you’d come across on the Circle Line route, you’ll find some of the most upmarket areas in London along the way. Stop-offs in Mayfair and Park Lane bring you to some of the loveliest pubs that London has to offer with Ye Grapes and the Rose and Crown respectively offering a lovely range of beers from London breweries.
For a full run-down of the route in both logical and Monopoly board order, visit monopolypubcrawl.org.uk for more information.
Guided pub tours
There are several companies that offer the chance to take a guided pub tour and have some history and points of interest thrown in with your beer. The London Pub Crawl Company conducts tours that follow in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper, follow around the diplomatic and royal heartlands in Belgravia and walk you from London Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral with a few stops for a drink along the way.
Their website also offers a number of free downloads of guides for you to set off on your own pub crawls with pointers on the best pubs and routes to follow to fit in a few sights as you move from inn to hostelry.
London has more than its fair share of pubs, many of which are close to sights that you’ll want to visit. There can be few nicer ways to spend an afternoon than wandering from pub to pub, having a few drinks and seeing the best of London’s attractions.