The oldest riverside inn in the UK, The Prospect of Whitby was founded in 1522 and is the UK's oldest surviving riverside inn. The original flagstone floor survives and the pub also has a rare pewter-topped bar as well as old barrels and ship masts built into the structure. Most areas of the pub have spectacular views over the River Thames, including the beer garden and first floor balcony and terrace.
The pub was originally frequented by those involved in life on the river and sea and it was a notorious haunt for smugglers, thieves, and pirates. Other notable customers have been Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, Judge Jeffries, and artists like Whistler and Turner. During the 1960s, the Prospect was a favourite among celebrities and royalty including Kirk Douglas, Paul Newman, Glenn Ford, Rod Steiger, Princess Margaret and Prince Rainier.
Nowadays, it is very popular with tourists, brought here in masses by bus. They come here, take a few pictures, have a pint of ale and vanish away which is when the locals come. It is also one of the rare pubs which allow children in.
I personally don’t like the food here, but I do enjoy the pint of Doombar ale. Anyway, if you are super hungry, go for it. Another rare feature of this pub is that they serve food all day. They do have plenty of vegetarian options too and serve morning coffee as well.
In winter, there is a real fireplace to enjoy, and during the summer you can chill on the open-air riverside terrace.
It was formerly known as the Devil’s Tavern, on account of its dubious reputation.
In the 17th century, it became the hostelry of choice of “Hanging” Judge Jeffreys, scourge of the Monmouth Rebellion. He lived nearby and a noose hangs by a window, commemorating his custom. He was chased by anti-Royalists into the nearby Town of Ramsgate, captured and taken to the Tower for his own safety. According to legend, criminals would be tied up to the posts at low tide and left there to drown when the tide came in. The Execution Dock was actually the Wapping Old Stairs and generally used for pirates. Views from the pub were sketched by both Turner and Whistler.
If the tide is low, you can take the Pelican stairs down to the “beach”. There is the marvelous Wapping Project Gallery just across the road (see one of my Locations for more details).