London’s River Thames is sprinkled with many top bars, restaurants and pubs along its banks, offering alfresco dining, beer garden drinking, outdoor BBQs, and, of course, stunning views across our great, winding river. This Top 10 guide to the best riverside pubs will have you basking in glorious British sunshine with a pint in one hand and a pie in the other lickety-split.
Canary Wharf / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
The Gun (pictured above) is a classy old pub in the Docklands with stately wood-panelled walls, flagstone floors and leather armchairs a-plenty. It is also blessed with a compact yet charming outdoor terrace, nestled among the towering high rises of the Isle of Dogs and looking out onto the Thames and the O2 Arena opposite. The terrace is sheltered in the event of adverse conditions, but otherwise acts as an inviting sun-trap complete with parasols, communal wooden tables and strategically-placed greenery. An olde-worlde getaway from the otherwise polished sterility of nearby Canary Wharf. (Fergus Price)
Wandsworth / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Gastro
One of West London's most famous pubs, The Ship pub is anchored in Wandsworth, overlooking the Thames. Having undergone a recent refurbishment, everything is modern and more. During the summer months there is a specialised BBQ menu, which is to be had in their garden bar area. But you'll have to push out the boat on this one as the restaurant menu is pricey. What you'll love is the frequented YP crowd and the cool music gigs that attract them. So make your night out plain sailing here at The Ship. (Philippa Morton)
Gordon Ramsay The Narrow
Whitechapel & Wapping / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
Located in Wapping overlooking the Thames, The Narrow is a very popular location for a weekend meal: it's recommended you make a booking, especially if you want a view of the river. That said, it's worth it for the lovely sounds and sights of the Thames. As it's on a quiet road, a remnant of old London where cobbled roads and horse and carts once dominated, there won't be any traffic noise to ruin the day. The Narrow is one of Gordon Ramsay's gems so the food speaks for itself. But expect to pay a little more. (Philippa Morton)
The Horniman at Hays
London Bridge & Bermondsey / Bar / Cuisine: Pub
Prime locations on the Thames don't get much better than the Horniman at the Hays. It's based near London Bridge and has spectacular views of the Tower Bridge and Tower of London and also all the new buildings that have sprung up in the area. It is built on the site of a famous tea dealer's warehouse. It has an extensive range of real ale and traditional British pub food. It's got both a quick bites bar menu and restaurant style service in its dining rooms if you wish to make a night out of your visit. (Baldwin Ho)
The Crabtree Tavern
Hammersmith / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: Gastro
Close to the Fulham football club, this spacious pub occupies prime riverfront location in between Hammersmith and Putney Bridge. It has giant outdoor garden space, which has been stylishly decorated with designer shrubbery. The weeping willow in particular deserves special mention. The garden flows towards the riverfront with the seats by the Thames being extremely sought after. They have a wide ranging selection of cask ales, working in particular with independent UK brewers. Menus range from the summery barbeque menu to the informal rôtisserie option or the elegant slightly more expensive dinner menu. (Baldwin Ho)
The Black Lion
Hammersmith / Bar / Cuisine: English
It has the perfect vantage point for the annual Oxford-Cambridge boat race being on the bank of the Thames between Hammersmith and Chiswick. Its exceptional riverfront location almost guarantees that it's very busy on most days, especially for Sunday lunches. The gastro inspired food is made from the freshest ingredients delivered daily from Smithfield and Billingsgate markets often cooked in the newly acquired Big Bertha, a high temperature dry heat oven. They have an extensive wine list, particularly specialising in Sauvignon Blanc and wines from New Zealand. A game in their world famous skittle alley is a must-do. (Baldwin Ho)
The Dickens Inn
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
Long gone are the days when the Docklands were renowned for East End drunken sailors and brawls. But one thing hasn't changed: the gorgeous water and the presence of a good 'rub a dub dub' (pub); in this case, the Dickens Inn! Charming old features of this 18th Century building still stand proud with beams, antique furniture and maritime antiquities. If traditional English grub doesn't float your boat, just go up the 'apples and pears' and overlook the docks at the pizzeria restaurant. But in the summer sun, why not enjoy your drink in the gardens instead?! (Philippa Morton)
Borough & Southwark / Bar /
Steeped in literary history - it's a short walk from the restored Globe theatre and was a haunt of Dr. Johnson in his dictionary-writing years - the Anchor pub on the South Bank is a staunchly traditional British pub that happens to boast a superlative outdoor terrace. People-watch denizens of the South Bank on one side, and take in the sights (and occasionally the smells) of the Thames to the other: St Pauls, London Bridge and the City are all within range, and there are few better places to soak up the atmosphere by the river over a glass of Pimms or two. (Fergus Price)
Greenwich / Bar /
The walk to this pub is reason enough to spend an afternoon in the area. With the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory and the Naval College Gardens all close by, there is plenty to take in before you've even take your first sip of ale. The view across the Thames through the numerous bay windows takes in Docklands and the O2, so you can enjoy the traditional English dishes served in the restaurant whilst entertaining your companions with anecdotes about that Rhianna gig you saw that one time. How times have changed since its Victorian era, when William Gladstone and Charles Dickens could be seen conversing at the riverside pub.
The Oyster Shed
City of London / Bar / Restaurant / Cuisine: British
Situated on Angel Lane in the City of London, The Oyster Shed pub offers an impressive range of seafood and more traditional British dishes alongside an extensive Champagne list and a wide selection of local ales, stouts, whiskeys, wines and cocktails. The Oyster Shed is spacious, fresh and painted a cool white, with ocean blue hues introduced through the fabrics on the furniture and cushions. Beautiful floor to ceiling glass windows run across the front of the pub, ensuring unrestricted views of the Thames and the old converted wharfs and warehouses along on the river.
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