Claiming to be the oldest pub on the Thames, the Mayflower is a historic gem dating back to 1620.
A cosy and atmospheric interior gives way to an outside deck with perhaps the best view of the river of any pub in London.
With the city stretching out in front of you and the river lapping against the wood under your feet, sipping a pint in the sun on the Mayflower’s terrace is something special.
A solid selection of real ales and a menu full of sophisticated pub classics complete the picture.
117 Rotherhithe Street, Rotherhithe SE16 4NF
If the fact Sir Ian McKellen co-owns it isn’t reason enough for you to visit this pub, maybe its historical pedigree will tip the balance.
Built in 1720, the Grapes was immortalised by Charles Dickens in the opening chapter of Our Mutual Friend. He described it as “A tavern of dropsical appearance…long settled down into a state of hale infirmity.”
The Grade II-listed building has a charmingly ramshackle frontage, an intimate interior and a snug balcony overlooking the river out the back.
As well as a glorious view of the water, the balcony gives you a stirling view of an Antony Gormley sculpture, Another Time – a figure seeming to stare wistfully across the river.
76 Narrow Street, Limehouse E14 8BP
The Palm Tree is a relic of a bygone era. Stepping inside is like stepping back in time, from its gaudy chintz carpet and red velour curtains to its ancient cash register.
The beer choice is limited and the service (somewhat charmingly) gruff, but it’s what lies outside the pub that earns it a place on our list of London’s best waterside pubs.
A huge lawn stretches down to Regent’s Canal, and on a sunny day you can easily lose hours stretched out on the grass, pint in hand.
When the sun goes down, head back inside for live jazz and a right old knees-up.
127 Grove Road, Mile End E3 5RP
With its industrial vibes and up-cycled furniture, Crate is a hipster paradise.
But don’t let that deter the less impressively-bearded amongst you. As a tap room for the next door brewery, Crate’s selection of beer is formidable and its sprawling outdoor seating area is second to none.
Overlooking the Lee Navigation, its idyllic views of passing narrow-boats and waterfowl are given an edgy update by impressive graffiti – the perfect spot to enjoy a pint and one of Crate’s tasty stone baked pizzas.
Unit 7, Queens Yard, Hackney Wick E9 5EN
Venture a little bit further up the Lee Navigation and you’ll find the Anchor & Hope, a tiny, unpretentious boozer opening right onto the river.
A row of benches along the riverbank provides the viewing point for one of London’s best waterside vistas. Marshes stretch into the distance across the other side of the river, people dawdle along the banks and trains rattle over a nearby railway bridge.
This is no-frills waterside drinking at its finest – just grab a pint, sit back and enjoy.
15 High Hill Ferry, Clapton E5 9HG
London’s best waterside pubs
So there we have it – our pick of London’s best waterside pubs. In our opinion, any one of these would be a prime location to soak up some summertime vibes.
We’ll leave the rest to you – all you need now is a sunny afternoon. Enjoy!