Enjoy a pint at our favourite London pubs

The George in Borough, London, (photo by Lydia Evans)
The George in Borough, London

London is famous for its pubs. But ask what the best pub in London is and you'll get as many answers as people you ask. It's a topic sure to stir up emotion in a true Londoner. Here are some of our favourite locals in the capital for starters. 


Central London

Shahid: One of my favourite pubs in London has to be the Ship & Shovel, on Craven Passage, Charing Cross. It is situated just behind London Charing Cross station so is perfect for a swift half just before you have to get your train home. It's literally a pub of 2 halves as the other bar is on the other side of the road. The side on the right (as you approach from under the arches via Villiers Street) always seems to be busy but the opposite side, which has a smaller cosier feel, is my preferred side. There is a lovely small room upstairs with wood panels on the walls.



Mark: If you're in Central London, the Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden is a great pub to visit, with its tucked away location. Drinkers spill out of its atmospheric, cosy interior onto the street on most days.

On the other side of Covent Garden, head to the Cross Keys in Endell Street. Take care not to knock into the eclectic ephemera and music memorabilia hanging from the walls and ceilings, or head outside and sink a pint while you gaze at its pretty, plant covered exterior from a small seating area.



James: The Euston Tap / Euston Cider is a fantastically different London pub. Two large stone monuments stand either side of the exit from the Euston mainline railway station on the busy Euston Road; the one to the east sells crafted ciders and the one to the west sells craft ales and lagers. A great stop prior to a journey north. Not the most salubrious of environments but with a park behind each "branch" you can choose which way you look.




North London

Becky: I love The Holly Bush in Hampstead. Perched at the top of some steep stone steps, this old fashioned pub always has a lovely atmosphere. Having a drink here feels like being part of a Dickens novel.  



James: For a more raucous pint, visit Brewdog in Camden. They serve trendy Scottish craft beers with some ridiculously fine pizzas. It's slightly off the beaten Camden track but still busy, especially prior to any big gigs at the Koko venue around the corner.



The Lamb pub


East London

Rachel: With one of the best terraces of any pub in London, the Pub on the Park in Hackney is my favourite place for a summertime drink. You can sip good beer and decent wine whilst taking in the view of weekend picnickers and leisurely cricket matches on London Fields. They do a good Sunday roast and you can even enjoy a game of boules round the back, pondering while you do so the incongruous mural of two men attempting to pull a grand piano onto the roof of the pub.




South London

Lisa: The Rye Pub on Peckham Rye is a lovely spot for a quiet, laidback drink indoors and out during the summer weather. It has a very warm homely feeling when you walk in, with a very modern look that still holds some old fashioned qualities.



Emile: I like The Nightingale on Nightingale Lane in Balham - like a country pub, but in London. There's a nice garden out back, benches out front and, as the pictures inside show, it hasn't really changed for over a century. 



Colleen: If you dare venture south of the river my favourite pub is my local, The Earl of Ferrers in Streatham. It's hidden away in a little row of houses, giving it a village pub feel. It does an excellent Sunday roast, and always has a selection of real ciders (the strong, flat kind) and local ales.



Tom: I love the George Inn on Borough High Street. People have been boozing here for hundreds of years and it's the only galleried coaching inn left in London. Having a pint inside is like stepping back in time, but it's even better in summer when you can soak up the sun at one of the many outdoor tables.



Alex: London is all about the local neighbourhood boozers. In my part of south London, Peckham Rye, you can hang out with the beards and buns in the Montpellier Arms, drink independently produced craft beers and ales at the community-owned Ivy House, or have tasty pizzas at the Gowlet – all tucked away on quiet street corners. 




Read more about London here.


Explore more of London 

Explore LondonWhether you are new to the English capital or a repeat visitor, Explore London will help you discover the very best of this iconic city - however long your stay. This brand-new, full-colour guide contains 20 easy-to-follow routes that take in the city's best sights. Wander beside the Thames with our route along the South Bank and rub shoulders with tradition and London's hipsters with our walk through the East End. Discover leafy groves and the city's literary set with our walk around Hampstead and admire the capital's palpable history with our tour of the City. 

Learn about the history and culture of the city as you go and stop off at our recommended cafes along the way. All routes are plotted on a useful pull-out map and beautiful photography throughout the guide shows off London's grandeur. 

Buy Explore London as a book or ebook here.



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