Wapping, nestled along the banks of the Thames, has long been a hub of maritime history and cultural vibrancy in London.
Amidst its cobblestone streets and historic docks, an array of charming pubs awaits, each with its own unique character and stories to tell. Whether you’re seeking a cosy corner for a pint or a riverside spot to soak in the views, Wapping offers an authentic taste of London’s pub culture.
So, here are the best pubs in Wapping, starting at The Dickens Inn at St Katherine Docks and finishing at The Grapes in Limehouse.
The Dickens Inn
If you can only visit one pub in Wapping, go to the Dickens Inn. Located right beside Tower Bridge, the Dickens Inn is a tourist hotspot for all the right reasons.
Situated in a converted 18th-century warehouse, The Dickens Inn exudes historic charm. Its wooden beams and riverside location make it a quintessential spot to enjoy a hearty meal and a great range of drinks.
The Turks Head
Funny story: The Turks Head was actually the first pub I ever visited in Wapping. After a particularly terrible flat viewing many years ago, I was mulling whether moving to London was the right decision over a glass of wine. Many years and many pub visits later, it’s safe to say it was the right choice!
A local favourite, The Turks Head is renowned for its lively atmosphere and traditional pub fare. It is best to enjoy the Turks Head in the summertime as there is a lovely covered beer garden.
Town of Ramsgate – Best Pubs in Wapping
Steeped in history dating back to the 15th century, the Town of Ramsgate offers a glimpse into Wapping’s past. Its low ceilings and classic decor create an ambience that feels like a trip through time.
Personally, I think the Town of Ramsgate has the friendliest staff and the most welcoming atmosphere of all of the Wapping pubs. There is a small but pleasant pub garden out back, perfect for enjoying a pint on the Thames on a summer’s day.
The Captain Kidd
Named after the infamous pirate, The Captain Kidd boasts stunning views of the Thames. Its outdoor seating area makes it an ideal spot to savor a drink while watching the boats sail by.
A hidden gem with a cozy interior, Dockers Inn invites visitors to unwind and enjoy a selection of ales and ciders. Its unassuming facade belies the warmth found within.
The Wapping Tavern
The Wapping Tavern is the newest addition to the area and brings something unique to Wapping. There’s nothing traditional about this place!
Upstairs houses the main bar and Pizza oven (serving MASSIVE sharing pizzas) with sports screens dotted all around. But downstairs is where the fun’s at. There are arcade games, darts tables, pool tables, plus areas to relax and enjoy pizzas with your friends.
Turners Old Starr
This snug pub with a traditional feel is perfect for a relaxed evening. Offering a range of beverages and a friendly atmosphere, Turners Old Starr is a great spot to mingle with locals.
Prospect of Whitby – Wapping’s Oldest Pub
The Prospect of Whitby is the best-known pub in Wapping and is one of London’s oldest pubs, dating back to the 16th century.
The Prospect of Whitby exudes history and character, with an excellent riverside terrace offering amazing views of the Thames.
Craft Beer Co
Living only a two-minute walk from the Craft Beer Co, I can safely say I have sampled this venue plenty of times! The staff are always friendly and welcoming, and this pub has a strong regular crowd.
Craft beer enthusiasts will find their haven here. With an impressive selection of craft brews from local and international breweries, this pub caters to those with an adventurous palate.
The Grapes – Best Pubs in Wapping and Limehouse
Famously frequented by Charles Dickens himself, The Grapes retains its historic allure. Its cosy setting and well-stocked bar make it a delightful place to spend an evening.
Part owned by Sir Ian McKellen – he is rumoured to pop in to host the quiz occasionally. Although I’m yet to see that, I did once see him on his doorstep (he does live just next door – I’m not a stalker!)
Each of these pubs in Wapping contributes to the area’s rich tapestry of culture and history. Whether you’re drawn in by the historical significance, the scenic riverside views, or the inviting atmospheres, exploring these establishments promises a memorable experience steeped in London’s pub tradition.
Alternative Things to Do in Wapping
Don’t be fooled, though; there is more to Wapping than simply drinking the afternoon away in one of its many pubs. Whether you’re looking for a booze-free day out or simply looking for new things to try in London, these are some great things to do in Wapping:
Wapping Docklands Market
Step into Wapping’s vibrant market scene at the Docklands Market. It’s only a small market but it’s very enjoyable and open each Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.
You’ll find an eclectic array of stalls, from artisanal crafts to delectable street food. Dive into the local culture and snag unique finds while soaking in the lively atmosphere.
The Wapping Docklands market is particularly stunning at Christmas time when the carol singers bring the festive spirit.
Wander the Canals and Visit the Wapping Knot
Embrace the charm of Wapping by taking leisurely strolls along its picturesque canals. Don’t miss the Wapping Knot, a historic riverside sculpture celebrating the area’s maritime heritage—a perfect spot for a photo op!
Boat Spotting at St Katherine Docks
For a touch of maritime fascination, head to St Katherine Docks to admire an impressive array of yachts and boats. Marvel at these majestic vessels against the backdrop of London’s skyline, offering a glimpse into the city’s seafaring spirit.
Kayak in Shadwell Basin
Tower Hamlets Canoe Club meet at Shadwell Basin each week; come rain or shine! They practice canoe polo, practice white water & sea kayaking and open canoeing. The club is for experienced adults only, but an introduction course runs once a month for those looking to get into the sport.
Visit the Original Harrods
Believe it or not, the original Harrods is not the glitzy superstore in Knightsbridge we all know and love! In fact, Harrods first opened its doors in east London’s Wapping.
Delve into history by visiting the site of the original Harrods store in East London. Though no longer operating as a store, its architectural significance and ties to the famous department store make it an intriguing spot for history buffs.
Surprising as it may seem, Wapping has its own riverfront beaches. Take a leisurely stroll along the Thames Path to discover these serene spots, offering a tranquil escape from the bustling city life.