London - Tips for drinking English classics

Hi everyone, I’m writing because I’ll be in London in mid-October and I’d like some advice on drinking well. Of course I’m talking about beer.
I won’t have much opportunity to travel outside the city and I won’t have much time, so I would like to stay in the central area.
Initially I thought of going to Bermondsey to try some famous taprooms, but I’m thinking about something different and I’d like to try more historic pubs and places where I can drink some classic English beers, such as Samuel Smith, Harvey’s, St.Peters etc…
I pinned: The Royal Oak, for Harvey’s beers.;
Olde Cheeshire Cheese and Princess Louise, for Samuel Smith;
Holy Tavern for St.Peters.;
Then, maybe Nag’s Head for McMullen?;

Is this a good list? Can you help me add places where can I find classic and real ales or can you recommend other classic English beers?

Thank you :slight_smile:


Definitely visit the Royal Oak - great pub with great beers.

The Sam Smiths pubs are quite nice, although the beer isn’t great. Similarly, St. Peters beers are nothing special. I haven’t thought about the Nag’s Head in years.

The pub I (and many others) recommend to anyone visiting London is the Harp, on Chandos Place. Lovely pub with an excellent selection of beers across cask and keg, as well as ciders. Last I knew, they had a permanent keg line for the Kernel. The Harp has previously been a national pub of the year winner. And it’s conveniently located in central London, quite close to Trafalgar Square.

I might also suggest checking out a Fuller’s pub. Whatever is convenient. Fuller’s pubs are often very nice and the beers can be excellent.


Yes, The Harp was also on the list, I will try to go there.
It’s not excluded that in the end I will be able to move on to Bermondsey, in which case I will definitely go to The Kernel and Anspach & Hobday, but I also wanted to try more historic and typical places.

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White Horse, Parsons Green has a lot of history in London, one of the first to embrace modern craft beer, very well kept cask beer, quite often has Harvey’s and Kernel.

That said, I haven’t visited in a number of years. Others can comment if it’s still worth visiting.


I think it’s still the best option in its area but it’s not what it once was. For a visitor to London, I wouldn’t recommend it anymore as a destination pub.


I stopped by the Sloany Pony a couple of months ago and was unimpressed. Snooty place just short of being outright rude. And nothing special these days. It’s the best choice in one of the worst areas of London for beer.

Has anyone mentioned the Olde Mitre in Hatton Garden? Is it still around/good?

Last I heard, the Old Mitre was still good. Yes to the Harp and Royal Oak (that’s where I’m typing this, Harvey’s Christmas Ale to hand!), yes to a good Fuller’s pub - be aware that they segment their pubs, so you want one of the small group that specialises in cask & guest cask - my preference there is one of my locals, the George IV in Chiswick.

There’s a different Fuller’s subgroup that specialises in unusual British craft keg, by the way, e.g. another of my Chiswick locals, the Old Packhorse.

Also look up some micropubs as they usually specialise in cask, e.g. the Dodo in Hanwell.

Not many Bermondsey outlets focus on cask & classics. Spartan did but it’s closed now. )-: