Historic Blackfriars


Take in some delightful riverside views. Visit Fleet Street, the historic home of journalists. And admire the splendid architecture of St. Paul's Cathedral.

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What to look out for on the way

Dogget's Coat & Badge, & The Blackfriar

From the Doggett's Coat & Badge(1), head north over Blackfriars Bridge towards The Blackfriar(2). The bridge opened in 1769 and, for a time, charged a toll. After 12 years, Londoners' anger over bridge tolls boiled over. They rioted and tore the toll house down.

When you cross the bridge free of charge today, note the statue of Queen Victoria at the far end. Some say that the addition of her statue was nothing more than a way of justifying the costs of the bridge's completion in 1869.

The Old Bell Tavern

The Old Bell Tavern(3) brings you to Fleet Street, named after the River Fleet which flowed here in the 14th century. Fleet Street is the historic home of journalism.

In this part of London, the history of the printed word stretches back to about 1500. That was when William Caxton's apprentice (who enjoyed the glorious name, Wynkyn De Worde) started a printing shop in Shoe Lane. Britain's first newspaper, The Daily Courant, was also published here in 1702.

The Sir Christopher Hatton, Ye Olde Watling & Williamson's Tavern

Heading north towards The Sir Christopher Hatton(4), then back along Holborn Viaduct takes you to St. Paul's Cathedral, famously redesigned after the Great Fire of London by Sir Christopher Wren. This building is London's fifth St Paul's Cathedral. To pay for the repairs to St Paul's, they sold off many of the estates attached to St Peter's of Westminster.

The final leg of the trail takes you past two more fine pubs, Ye Olde Watling(5) and Williamson's Tavern(6) before recrosssing the river via the Millennium Bridge. On the southern side, you see the modern-day Globe Theatre, 200 yards from where the original once stood. It was the first thatched building allowed in London since the Great Fire of 1666. To see the river and much of your route from the comfort of a pub table, make your way back to your starting pub.

Please check individual pub pages for opening times, as some of our City of London sites are closed over the weekend.