Your journey starts at Piccadilly, named after 17th century tailor Robert Baker, who made his fortune selling "piccadils" (stiff neck collars with laced or perforated borders.) Here, you'll find the Royal Academy, founded in 1768, as well as two fine pubs, The King's Head(1) and The Clarence(2). Like all the pubs you come across on this ale trail, they offer real cask ales and plenty of history and character of their own.
Take a moment or two to look at St James's Palace. In the 12th century, it was the site of a leper hospital, while Green Park, off to your left, was a mass burial ground for those who succumbed to the disease. Now it's time to strike out across leafy St James's Park. A few hundred years ago, the park was a swampy marsh. On the southern side, head for The Feathers(3) for a game of cops and robbers. Neighbouring New Scotland Yard is the Metropolitan Police HQ, while a nearby court is thought to be the home of the legendary highwaymany, Dick Turpin.
The next big loop of the trail takes you round Victoria from St George's Tavern(4). Queen Victoria's name became associated with this area in 1838. At that time, the area contained Westminster's worst slum.
From here, head south to The Falcon(5) at Clapham Junction, a pub that the famous artist Maurits Cornelius Escher helped design. The trip is always worth it: voted London's Cask Ale Pub of the Year for 2010, this pub has a sinuous curving bar that once made it into the Guinness Book of Records for being the longest in the country. There's also a stunning stained glass window depicting a falcon.
The last pub is The Marquis of Granby SW1(6). From here, it's a good thirst-and-hunger-building walk past Westminster Abbey. In the Chapter House, you'll see images of salmon on the floor tiles. According to tradition, St Peter came from Heaven to consecrate the site where the Abbey now stands. The area was an island at that time, so they brought in St Peter by fishing boat. He rewarded the fishermen by filling the Thames with salmon.
Finally pass through Admiralty Arch, built in 1910. On the inside wall of the northernmost arch, you'll spot a small protrusion the exact shape and size of a human nose. No one has any idea why it's there. If you follow your nose, you'll soon be back at your starting point and a plate filled with as much fish (or meat) as you can eat.
Please check individual pub pages for opening times, as some of our City of London sites are closed over the weekend.