London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour

London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour

Eating London Tours

When the opportunity came up to go on the new London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour  run by Eating London Tours, I jumped at the chance. Especially because I had such a great time on their previous tour Twilight Soho Food and Cocktail Tour.

London Old Docks, London England UK

Overlooking the Thames from the Shard, London UK

The London Old Docks – Historic Pubs, Food & Beer Tour allows you to discover some of the oldest and most historically significant pubs located along the docks, which was known as old London town.

Back in the day, these pubs played an important role in the lives of sailors, dockers, and even pirates – a place where they met, intermingled, ate and drank. More than hundreds of years old, they now hold the testimony of the eras gone by.


 

Once a busy trading port, today this area is relatively more peaceful and offers serene and awe-inspiring riverside views of the city.

As you visit these historic pubs, you will be able to picture in your mind’s eye the lives lived and the stories told!

London Old Docks, London England UK

A sign in The Prospect of Whitby, London England

That’s not all. On this unique tour, you will also get to enjoy some of the finest brews that London has to offer along with a wonderful line-up of lip-smacking food that will surely tickle your taste buds and make the experience of re-visiting an old-time pub all the more realistic.

The Historical Pubs, Food and Beer Tour will leave you feeling suitably entertained with memories to cherish for years to come.

London Old Docks, London England UK

Memorabilia inside The Prospect of Whitby, London England

Where we went

One of the things I loved on The London Old Docks – Historic Pubs, Food & Beer Tour was the variety of the 5 pubs.  All were old and historic in some way, but they each had their differences and stories to tell.

The Mayflower

The first stop on the tour and only a 2 minute walk away from the meeting point is the famous Mayflower (or once known as the Ship). It is a charming little pub with baskets of fresh flowers hanging all over the facade. It is considered to be one of the oldest watering holes in London, rich in history and culture. Inside, the walls are covered in shipping memorabilia and they even have a log book for ancestry of the sailors and pilgrims who stayed on the Mayflower ship.

London Old Docks, London England UK

Flowers hanging all over the facade of The Mayflower, London England

Here you will be served an English classic of bangers and mash with black pudding and gravy. You will wash this down with a scurvy ale while learning about how The Mayflower became one of most historic pubs in the UK and how it played a very important part in American history in 1620.  Today, from the rear of the pub you can still see the original mooring spot of this famous ship.

London Old Docks, London England UK

On the balcony at The Mayflower, London England

The Prospect of Whitby

Built in 1520,  The Prospect of Whitby (originally known as The Pelican) is believed to be the oldest tavern on the Thames. As soon as you step inside,  you will feel like you have taken a step back in time, the floor is the original flagstone dating back some 500 years (even with the original door trap that is now sealed off). There is a rear deck that overlooks the former execution docks, complete with replica gallows and loads of interesting memorabilia.

London Old Docks, London England UK

The entrance of The Prospect of Whitby, London England

We sit for our 2nd classic British meal Fish and chips with mushy peas, washed down with a craft ale.  As we listen to our guide, the first thing that comes to my mind is the phrase ‘If these walls could talk” they would tell you a story.  The stories seem never ending, from the pirates to the cruel executions served by hanging judge Judge Jerries.

London Old Docks, London England UK

Fish & Chips at The Prospect of Whitby, London England

Turner’s Old Star

Turner’s Old Star looks exactly like you would picture a typical English pub. It is one of the last remaining traditional East End pubs that is independently owned. Renamed after the famous artist Joseph Turner,  who was inspired by the docks and the ships that frequented the waterways. Today the pub is used in many movies (most recently Legend starring Tom Hardy) and is famous in its own right.

London Old Docks, London England UK

The bar at Turner’s Old Star London England

Once you step in you are greeted by the owner (Bernice), who will pour you a London favourite ‘London Pride’ (I had a cider, no more beer for me) and give you a home made steak pie. As you may know, I am Australian and we love meat pies, even when we are full. If you have time, take a wander and look at the photos on the walls and see how many celebrities you can name.

London Old Docks, London England UK

Home made meat pie at Turner’s Old Start, London England

Captain Kidd

Named after a 17th-century pirate (William Kidd) who was executed in 1697 and built inside a former coffee warehouses on the river is Captain Kidd. Unlike the other pubs, it is spacious, has a huge beer garden and is more modern. In some ways, you can tell it is corporately owned with its own labelled beer and snacks that line the bar. In this case, though, it is Samuel Smith label that is used in this bar.

Here instead of an English classic meal (you’ll need a break after all the yummy food), you will enjoy a classic pub snack the ‘hairy snack’ while sipping on a porter. The porter had a strong smell and taste was definitely different from the ales.

London Old Docks, London England UK

A porter at Captain Kidd, London England

The Dickens Inn

What better way to end the tour than at one of my favourite pubs in London, The Dickens Inn. Completely covered in fresh flowers, this former 18th-century three-storey warehouse with balconies definitely stands out. It has a long and intriguing history intertwined with Charles Dickens and East London heritage. When you look at the slant on the roofline, it is higher on one side than the other.

London Old Docks, London England UK

The entrance at The Dickens Inn, London England

You finish off with a delicious Cheese platter, dedicated to English cheese such as stilton and cheddar that was paired with a Symonds cider. A great way to end the tour after a fantastic time learning, eating and drinking.

London Old Docks, London England UK

Cheese platter at The Dickens Inn, London England

Highlights

  • Traveling through the oldest tunnel in the world under the Thames, which was once considered the eighth wonder of the world
  • Stopping at Tobacco Dock, to see a replica of one of the trading ships coming from the West Indies that remains permanently docked. It is hard to believe that originally this area was large as 40 football fields.
London Old Docks, London England UK

Tobacco Dock, London England

  • Visiting and learning about five of the most intriguing London pubs, which are must-visits for any discerning traveller.
  • Interacting with a local who told his own version of  tales about pirates and thieves at The Prospect of Whitby
  • Walking along Wapping Wall, now a heritage protected street that was once a bustling hub of pubs and warehouses. It looks really cool how all the cranes are still in place, as part of the street decor.
London Old Docks, London England UK

Wapping Wall, London England

Eating Europe Food Tours

I love Eating Europe Food Tours concept behind their tours of discovering unique facts about a city through tasting different foods and experiencing and learning the culture.

If you like the tour, the great news is that Eating Europe Food Tours also operates in Amsterdam, Florence, Prague, and Rome. The best bit is they conduct a variety of well-designed and thoughtful Food Tours and Cooking Classes, depending on your interest. Which gives any food lovers and budding travellers a chance to explore some of Europe’s most beautiful and soulful cities through their food.

London Old Docks, London England UK

Bangers & mash at The Mayflower London England

Other Tours they have in London

There are a number of other tours that are currently held in London, I highly recommend the Twilight Soho Food and Cocktail Tour. I also, understand that the Brick Lane is really good especially if you like a good Curry.

 Tips

  • Don’t eat beforehand, as you get plenty of great English food on the tour to enjoy.
  • It is a walking tour, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes
  • You catch tube for one stop under the Thames. If you don’t have an Oyster card, don’t worry you can use your contactless.
  • If you do not want to drink beer, then you can have cider or soft drink. Please let the tour know in advance.
  • Make sure to be at the meeting point at least 15minutes before hand.
  • Not the type of place you would take children for the obvious reasons
London Old Docks, London England UK

The Brunel Museum, London England

Where it starts & finishes

The food tour takes place in Rotherhithe/Wapping, a 2-minute walk from Rotherhithe Station. And finishes at The Dickens Inn in St Katharine’s Way and only 5 min walk to Tower Hill tube. Once you have purchased your ticket, London Food Tours will provide you with a map and easy to follow instructions for the meeting point.

London Old Docks, London England UK

The Thames near St Katharine’s dock, London England

Helpful Information

  • Price:  £79- Per Person ( Which includes, a drink at each pub and food)
  • Tour duration; 4 hours  Starts at 12 pm
  • Intervals: Mon-Fri

Thank you for reading this article, I hope it helped you in deciding to do the London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour. It is such an interesting tour. If you are interested in discovering more of London you can read London Bridge facts and London in Winter – Things to do and Where to Stay

London Old Docks, London England UK

Rotherhithe along the Thames where the tour starts, London England

Disclaimer: Even though I was a guest of the London Food Tours  All views are my own based on my own experience.

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London Old Docks, London England UK

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59 Comments

  1. I used to work in this area so I know it very well! The Prospect of Whitby and Captain Kidd are my favourites, they’re so traditional and rustic inside. Nice to see the Sam Smith glass of ale, it brings back good memories!

  2. This tour looks awesome! One of (if my not #1) favorite things about London was experiencing all the pubs. I love the atmosphere (and food!) and all these places you’ve mentioned are so adorable! The Mayflower is probably my favorite. 🙂

  3. That noose! Reminds me of the kids’ spelling game called ‘hangman’. I have been to London several times but have never seen a lovely pub overflowing with flowers and that is so high on my list. What a pretty spot! I think I would have to just stare at it for a while. 🙂

  4. I visited parts of London before but never really saw it the way you did. I did hear of Eating Europe Food Tours before but did not really sign up for it. Would love to give some of your suggestions a try! 🙂

  5. This looks like such a delicious tour! I love the idea of visiting numerous pubs and learning about their history!! I wish I had gone on a tour like this when I was last in london. Rather then stumbling around trying to find a decent pub!

    1. I live in London and I always struggle to find a tour that I can learn something new about the city. This is definitely a great tour, I loved walking around all the different pubs and learning something at the same time.

  6. Admiring Thames from a vantage point would be just perfect. The replica on Tobacco Dock is really interesting. Moreover, I wish I could walk along Wapping Wall as I love exploring a city on foot. Cheers!!

    1. There is more to just admiring the views, all the learning that you get along the way on this tour is great. Meeting locals and hearing their stories was very cool

  7. I absolutely love these little bars. The balcony on the Mayflower looks like a perfect place to spend a few hours. The fish and chips looks delicious. I love all of the history behind the tour too, it makes it all the more interesting

  8. There is nothing more classic than Fish & Chips in London. I love that and would love to sample those as they look so yummy. I love the ambiance too – it definitely adds to the dining experience.

  9. I live in london and never heard of this before. What a cool tour, I definitely keen to check this out myself. BTW the Mayflower looks like my favourite

  10. I have been to London a couple of times & I am always looking for new tours to do. I love history and beer and this sounds perfect to do next time I’m in town.

  11. The flowers cascading on the walls of the Mayflower and The Dickens Inn are so breathtaking and so vibrant! I love visiting places that has a historical story to them and love the rustic look of these places. This would be my type of tour!

  12. Wow sounds like a great tour. Especially as it involves food and drink. I need to see more of London and hopefully will do when I get home in a month or so. This is something I would love to do. I think my favourite photo of a pub has to be your favourite too, The Dickens Inn. How beautiful!

  13. It must have been amazing to participate in this historic beer tour. Nice to hear that the pubs were so different from each other. The Dickens Inn looks amazing! Would love to visit this pub one day!

  14. Interesting, this seems to be a great tour and lovely pub to have some fav drinks and relax. Dicken’s Inn seems to be lovely, shall try out when in London!

  15. This historic pub tour sounds like so much fun! I love doing food tours and learning a bit of history in-between makes it so much better 🙂 That home made meat pie looks so so yummy and I’m sure it goes so well with the tasty brew.

  16. I’ve never been to London but I do have plans to travel there in the future. This food tour sounds like something that’s right up my alley.

  17. I’ve never even heard of this part of London. I’m visiting for the first time in May and I’m so excited! I’ve saved this for future reference. I love the idea of visiting where the Mayflower took off. I also find it interesting that it was known as ‘the ship’. Prospect of Whitby looks so charming. I’ll be going there as well!

  18. This is most definitely my sort of guided tour! I especially love the Mayflower and had no idea that it’s one of the oldest bars in London! The views out back are excellent and I’d love to finally try black pudding!

    1. I highly recommend the tour, it is such a lot of fun and you learn so much. I never really knew the history about the Mayflower until I was there either. You will have to let me know how you go with the black pudding, still not sure I want to try it 🙂

  19. I feel like this is a very quintessential London thing to do. London has been calling my name and I think I’ll try to get back there for a week at some point this fall.

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