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Published February 18th 2012
All this travelling can be thirsty business. None more than on the ancient streets of London. Filled with watering holes and quaint bars, there are many hidden delights. Now you can sip along with the locals at these suggestions of great drinking locations.
The Prospect of Whitby 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, Tower Hamlets, London E1W 3SJ
Possibly one of London's most famous pubs, it was also known as the Devil's Tavern (due to its reputation as a meeting place for smugglers and villains). It is famed to date from 1520, earning it the prestige of being the oldest riverside pub in London.
It has a lovely little terrace in the front and a sweet view of the Thames. As well as a drinking spot it has a good restaurant upstairs, complete with open fires when cold.
After it was gutted by fire, the Devil's Tavern was rebuilt and renamed the Prospect of Whitby, after a ship that was moored nearby.
Old photographs guide the visitor to an insight of what the Prospect and its surroundings used to look like. A far cry from the warehouses, which are now converted into exclusive apartments, is the hangman's noose swinging over the river, as a not so subtle reminder of more gruesome times.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Wine Office Court, 145 Fleet Street, City of London, London EC4A 2BU
I love this pub, as it allows you to step back in time. Well known as far back as the 17th century, you arrive, in your time warp, through a narrow alleyway (Wine Office Court). As you approach, you are greeted by a listing of the reigns of the 15 monarchs through which this memorial pub has survived.
Filled with many bars and dining rooms, the dark wood interior transports you back to a bygone era.
If you are feeling inspired to navigate through the narrow steps, you will find the cellar bars and the vaults. An intriguing selection of small rooms which were originally part of the guest house's chapel.
Ye Olde Mitre Tavern 1 Ely Court, Ely Place side of 8 Hatton Garden, EC1N 6SJ
Built by Bishop Goodrich in 1546, this tavern has a real sense of discovery when you find it. Tucked away down an alleyway between 8 and 9 Hatton Garden, you will encounter an old street lamp and a small sign in the shape of a bishop's mitre.
Secluded so that many locals aren't even aware of its existence.
It has a bar and enclosed courtyard with stand-up tables. They offer a good selection of ales, moderately priced wines and hearty pub fare from £2.
The Argyll Arms
18 Argyll Street, Soho, Westminster, London W1F 7TP
Dating back to the 18th century this drinking house is beautifully decorated. However, the thing I love about this tavern is the small booths that fill the front bar. It is full of wonderfully etched glass screens, which were originally designed to separate the different social classes.
Filled with decorative mirrors, beautifully carved mahogany finishes, embossed ceilings, you can imagine this to be the height of high society in its day.
The name derives from the Duke of Argyll, however it in a handy location just off Oxford Circus, which makes it busy during the day. However, if you can zip in early morning or late afternoon, you will find a quieter experience. Filled with a good selection to whet your whistle and fill your tum.
55 Britton Street EC1M 5UQ
The Jerusalem tavern began its journey as one of London's first coffee houses in 1703.
It still retains much of its 18th-century decor and tile mosaics. A delightful pub, it is extremely popular and you will need to arrive early to get a seat. They do great pub lunch food and are the only London outlet of St Peter's Brewery (based in North Suffolk). As such, they have a wonderful range of drinks: organic bitters, cream stouts, wheat and fruit beers, some of which are still served in green apothecary-style bottles.
Have you got a favourite ye olde drinking spot in London? Please add your suggestions.