There are pubs in London dating back to the 1500's. No one can agree on the oldest pub. Is it the date that the current building was built or the site itself? What if it wasn't originally a pub, built for another purpose? Planning regulations have not always been around, people in the past thought nothing of tearing down a 16th century pub and rebuilding it. There are buildings that became pubs later in their lives and pubs that stopped being pubs, and became pubs again later on. Is it the date the site was first licensed, or the date of the license without a change of use? The debate will continue.
One thing is certain, there are many old pubs in London. Often tucked away in unassuming back alleys, with little to indicate their significance, even the most secluded bar will have undergone considerable change over its lifetime. Despite this, if you look hard enough, you can still find hints of the pubs that were once the haunts of Pepys, Shakespeare and Dickens. There are many separate areas for these pub walks. There is a pub where Queen Elizabeth I is said to have once danced around a cherry tree in it’s back garden. Another where the vaulted cellars are thought to have once been part of a 13th century monastery. And London’s last remaining galleried inn.