Hangman's noose at the old docks, London England Things to do in London HIstory

London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour

Combining both history and London pubs and restaurants on a tour in England will always win me over. 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.

historical tours of england -the Shard London History
Overlooking the Thames from the Shard, London UK

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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!

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.

Looking to discover other parts of England, please feel free to head to my United Kingdom Page

Where we went

The London Old Docks – Historic Pubs, Food & Beer Tour will take you to 5 different pubs. All were unique and historic in their own way and with great stories to tell. Some even have regularly celebrities that hangout out for food and drinks, so keep your eye out.  

wooden sign saying the flagstone floor of bar has been trodden by the widest variety of patrons over 500 years. Pewter-top bars were commonplace in the 19th century but this is one of the few that has survived 20th century modernisation and is thought to be the longest in Great Britain
A sign in The Prospect of Whitby, London England

The Mayflower

The first stop on the tour and only a 2 minute walk away from the meeting point are 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 logbook for the ancestry of the sailors and pilgrims who stayed on the Mayflower ship.

London bar tours

Here you will be served an English classic of bangers and mash with black pudding and gravy. While washing it down with a scurvy ale. You will learn how The Mayflower became one of the most historic pubs in the UK. As well as learn 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.

A tugboat on the Thames - historical tours London
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.

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.

Looking for something to do near there, how about visiting The Tower of London

Food and Drinks tour London England
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.

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 homemade 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.

The bar at Turner's Old Star London
The bar at Turner’s Old Star London England

Captain Kidd

Named after a 17th-century pirate (William Kidd) who was executed in 1697 and built inside a former coffee warehouse 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 the taste was definitely different from the ales.


A pint of porter on the stone wall along the Thames
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.

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.

The entrance at The Dickens Inn, St Katherine's dock
The entrance at The Dickens Inn, London England

Points of interest on London pub and food tour

  • Travelling 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 as large as 40 football fields.
  • 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 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.

Other Eating Europe Food Tours

Eating Europe Food Tours concept 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.

Traditional Bangers and Mash
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.

 Top Tips

  • Don’t eat beforehand, as you get plenty of great English food on the tour to enjoy.
  • You catch a tube for one stop under the Thames. If you don’t have an Oyster card, don’t worry you can use your contactless.
  • Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes as there is a lot of walking.
  • If you do not want to drink beer, then you can have a cider or soft drink. Please let the tour know in advance.
  • How about taking a guided day tour from London to Stonehenge, Winsdor and Bath
  • Not the type of place you would take children for the obvious reasons

Where the London pub and food tour 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, you will be provided you with a map and instructions for the meeting point.

Additional Information about London pub and food tour

  • Price:  £79- Per Person ( Which includes, a drink at each pub and food)
  • Tour duration; 4 hours  Starts at 12 pm
  • Intervals: Mon-Fri
  • Time; Make sure to be at the meeting point at least 15minutes beforehand.
  • Where it starts; Rotherhithe along the Thames where the tour starts, London England

london food and drink tour England

Other Historical places of interest in the UK

If you are interested in discovering other Historical places in England, feel free to read the following articles. All are great options for history and a great day out in London. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Please make sure to have your Face Mask and Hand Sanitiser where required before travelling. #Travelsafe 

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.


London Pub Tour England UK History

Disclaimer: Even though I was a guest of Eating Europe  All views are my own based on my own experience.   

“This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you if you click on one of the product links, we may earn a commission.”  For further details, you can view our Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions or contact me directly. 

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61 thoughts on “London Old Docks – Historic Pub, Food & Beer Tour

  1. Lisa says:

    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. Ashley Smith says:

    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. Natalie says:

    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. Isabel Leong says:

    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. Jean says:

    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!

    • melbtravel says:

      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. Aditi Shukla says:

    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!!

    • melbtravel says:

      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. Natasha Haley says:

    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

    • melbtravel says:

      All these pubs were great and so different to the norm corp places that we have in central London. I never knew that they had so much history behind them.

  8. Abigail Sinsona says:

    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. Amber Smith says:

    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. Kerry-Anne Wells says:

    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. Jenny Finney says:

    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. kathy says:

    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. Daphne says:

    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. jhilmil says:

    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. Taylor || The Millennial Sprinkle says:

    Wow this trip looks incredible! Especially that food, omg!!! Hahaha, no but really, I would love to travel here. I’ve never been to London, but it’s on my list! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through you!

    xo, Taylor

  16. Candy says:

    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.

  17. Ola says:

    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.

  18. Paige W says:

    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!

  19. Danielle Desir says:

    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!

    • melbtravel says:

      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 🙂

  20. Susan R says:

    This sounds like a really interesting tour. Funnily enough I live by the oldest Saxon dock in London

  21. Nina says:

    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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