Looking to quench your thirst whilst taking in London’s bloody past? In this fantastic pub tour you will have the pleasure of visiting some of the most historic drinking spots in the City of London. You will be able to enjoy some excellent locally-brewed craft beer whilst exploring the dark and chequered history of the Smithfield area. The central meat market for London, Smithfields has been in continuous operation for more than 800 years. Undoubtedly the most gruesome location in the capital, this ancient marketplace has long been a site of gory traditions: from the cattle that were slaughtered in its streets to countless heretic and witch burnings, public executions (of the likes of William "Braveheart" Wallace) and the slaying of thousands of peasants during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. Murder and mystery define the district, which is often referenced by London’s literary legends – the nearby St Bartholomew, more commonly known as St. Barts, is the oldest standing hospital in England and is where Sherlock Holmes first meets Dr. Watson. Once described by Dickens in Oliver Twist as “the armpit of London, where animal excrement and entrails created a sea of filth”, today Smithfield thankfully operates in beautiful ornate Victorian halls - no entrails in sight!
As you venture through these labyrinthine streets with your expert local guide, you will be going off the beaten track, journeying back in time as you explore some of Smithfield’s’ most interesting pubs and breweries. One establishment you might venture into, The Hand and Shears, dates as far back as the Middle Ages – the Lord Mayor used to open the famed St.Bartholomew's fair from outside it doors. Another, the Viaduct Tavern, lies opposite the notorious old Newgate Prison. Its cellars are rumoured to have once been cells, though you’d never guess as you sit comfortably inside this former ‘Gin Palace’, which boasts a beautiful Victorian interior of ornate wooden screens and engraved glass panels. As you make yourself at home in these traditional watering holes, your guide will regale you with tales of the city, whilst you sample a variety of authentic British ales, stouts and ciders.
Tip: Don't worry if pints of beer aren't your tipple of choice – there'll be plenty of other options to quench your thirst!
Choose between 12:00pm. 3.00pm or 5:00pm.
Enjoy this private London tour with min 4 in a group!
- Explore the dark and chequered history of Smithfield, home to London’s central meat market.
- Learn about the area’s gruesome history and enjoy a pint of local brew at the oldest drinking holes around.
- Put yourself in the shoes of Dickens and Sherlock Holmes with a wander around the grounds of the historic St Barts, the oldest hospital in Europe.
- Uncover the most unlikely stories of one of London’s most influential areas with your expert guide. Learn about the role of traditional watering holes in the area’s history and take the chance to cultivate your palate: from stout, to cider, to traditional British ales.
A choice between your hotel (if centrally located) or a recommended meeting point.