Last Updated on
This is the place to search for places and things of interest to visit in Britain, by name, location, type, keyword – or just have a browse. It is a growing directory – over 750 entries as of February 2020. Most entries have links for further information.
Pubs and Inns
One of the oldest pubs in London, said to date from 1585. Full of legends, it was either named because it was once the home of the Spanish Ambassador, or because it was owned by two Spanish brothers, who quarrelled over a woman. Dick Turpin is said to have been a former customer and there are several ghosts. It has appeared in work by Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker - and it has been claimed that Keats wrote 'Ode to a Nightingale' in the garden. The garden, incidentally, is great. A busy, but must visit, kind of place - situated close to Kenwood House and Hampstead Heath.
The Still & West is an iconic early 19th century pub (greatly restored) in Old Portsmouth, right on the harbourside where you can sit and watch the ships go by while enjoying a drink and fish 'n' chips. At time of writing (2017) it is a Fuller's pub serving their version of HSB, the Horndean Special Bitter once brewed by the defunct Gales brewery.
A fairly traditional London pub, though undeniably targeted at the tourist trade, the Clarence's location on the corner of Whitehall and Great Scotland Yard makes it very convenient for central attractions, including Westminster. Easy to find, it's a good place to arrange to meet - and, as it's handy for 10 Downing Street, you never know who you'll spot supping a pint there. The beer can be really good, as can the food. Often crowded - inevitably.
The Two Chairmen is thought to be one of the oldest pubs in Westminster and is named for the porters who carried sedan chairs in the 18th century for the gentry to and from the cockfighting near Cockpit Steps, virtually opposite the pub. It is very handy for the Houses of Parliament and St James's Park and tends to be less crowded than the pubs closer to Trafalgar Square.
The Turf Tavern is one of Oxford’s favourite pubs, located down an alley near the ‘Bridge of Sighs’. Its website says, “The Turf Tavern has opened its doors to serve ales and appetisers to England’s literary elite, politicians, presidents and movie stars since 1831. The only one who never left is our Rosie, the resident ghost who still waits for her lover to return.” The foundations of the Turf are actually said to be medieval and it is claimed that it was established outside the city walls in order to be beyond the jurisdiction of the colleges.
The pub is also where future Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke set a Guinness World Record for knocking back a yard of ale in 11 seconds in 1963. Other celebrity drinkers have included (in no particular order) Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Emma Watson, Ernest Hemmingway, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Blair, CS Lewis, Stephen Hawking, David Cameron and Mike Biles (the author of A Bit About Britain’s History).
Thought to be one of the oldest pubs in Westminster and named for the porters who carried sedan chairs in the 18th century for the gentry to and from the cockfighting near Cockpit Steps, virtually opposite the pub. The Two Chairmen is very handy for the Houses of Parliament and St James's Park.
Victorian pub forever associated with John Lennon, who used to use it (often) when attending Liverpool College of Art in the late 1950s. It is an unpretentious local, with a few references to its famous ex-customer and some nice artwork.
One of London’s most famous pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (not to be confused with the plain, common or garden, 'Cheshire Cheese' nearby) has allegedly been supped at over the centuries by the likes of Pepys, Wren, Johnson, Dickens and Wodehouse. It was restored after the Great Fire of 1666, so its heritage goes back beyond that. It’s a bit of a labyrinth and needs to be explored – the lower vaults are probably extremely old – as well as basic and sometimes rowdy, but generally friendly. In days gone by, it had a resident parrot (Polly), whose stuffed remains are apparently still there somewhere. T’is also said that, once upon a time, selected visitors were offered a free pipe of tobacco. None of that these days – and mobile phones are actively discouraged.
Other 'Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese' pubs are available.
One of several pubs in Britain claiming to be the oldest, 'the Trip' is built into the rock beneath Nottingham Castle and reputedly dates from 1189. Legend has it that this was a place of rest for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem. The pub is steeped in history, with a touch of spookiness, and inevitably gets very crowded.