The Prospect of Whitby
Built in 1520, this is the oldest of the many riverside pubs in London, and its main bar is the 16th-century pewter-topped original. Once upon a time, this East End institution was known as the Devil’s Tavern, which might have something to do with the smugglers and criminals who drank here. Nowadays, the clientele are mostly tourists or passing walkers, which doesn’t do much for the atmosphere, though such types can be given the slip thanks to the pub’s size, with an upstairs restaurant as well as various rooms downstairs. The beer garden is as close as you can get to the Thames – short of a running jump or taking to a boat – and the outdoor heaters make grabbing a seat here worthwhile year-round. Look out for the hangman’s noose above the river – the legendary pirate Captain Kidd was one of the unfortunates who met their end here. The venue is a good starting or end point for a scenic stroll down the Thames Path – perfect for walking off the Prospect’s ample Ploughman’s sandwiches and Sunday roasts.