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Prospect of Whitby Pub (Wapping, London)

Last Updated: July 21, 2024 London
Tripadvisor Rating 4/5
5 46
Google Rating 4.4/5
avatar By Sam Baldwin
The Prospect of Whitby, a special pub in Wapping, London, boasts a history dating from around 1520. The pub saw renovations in 1953 that preserved its connection to pirates, smugglers, and notable figures like Charles Dickens and artists Turner and Whistler.

57 Wapping Wall, London E1W 3SH, United Kingdom


Nestled in the vibrant East End’s Wapping area, the pub claims a prestigious spot on the banks of the River Thames. Built in 1520, it stands as one of the oldest taverns in the city. The pub’s name pays homage to the fishing town of Whitby in North Yorkshire, where ships from the East End would often moor.

The interior of the pub features traditional elements such as wooden beams and a flagstone floor. One of its notable features is its beer garden, offering great views from a long, narrow balcony overlooking the river. The Prospect of Whitby’s rich history includes visits from Charles Dickens and Samuel Pepys, and it’s even been the setting for an episode of “Only Fools and Horses,” adding to its fame. It is a location of interest for those looking to explore London’s historical sites.

The pub’s diverse clientele enjoy it as a hangout together with their four-legged friends, where they can savor a pint while overlooking the Thames and soaking in the ambiance of this historic tavern. Upstairs, visitors can indulge in a traditional British roast and mash, enjoying stunning views and a cozy atmosphere, perfect for a Sunday lunch or a glass of ale.

The Story

The pub has a rich, cut-throat history, with stories of pirates and river thieves. Initially known as “The Pelican,” and later, due to its infamous reputation, it was renamed “The Devil’s Tavern.” In the 18th century, a fire led to the destruction of the pub, which was then rebuilt and given a new name, “The Prospect of Whitby,” named after a ship that frequently docked nearby. Rumors suggest that Sir Hugh Willoughby, aboard a collier that used to berth here, sailed from here in 1553 on his quest for the North-East Passage.

Visitors would love to see the interior of the pub adorned with maritime memorabilia, including a replica of the ship “The Prospect of Whitby” suspended from the ceiling. The pub’s bar, topped with pewter and often compared to the ‘three tides’ of the Thames, is among the longest in London. The pub also has a pewter-topped bar, which is quite rare in London. The pub notably features a noose hanging outside, a stark reminder of its close proximity to Execution Dock, where pirates and smugglers were historically executed.

Prospect of Whitby public house photo by Edwardx


What Is The Prospect of Whitby Famous For?

It is known for its maritime-themed interior, which includes a replica of the ship “The Prospect of Whitby” suspended from the ceiling. The pub also has one of the longest pewter-topped bars in London and maintains its original flagstone floor.

The pub’s maritime decor also includes a display of noose and gallows, a nod to the nearby Execution Dock and its infamous association with the “Hanging Judge” Jeffreys, known for his many death sentences.

Originally, the pub was named “The Pelican,” but it later became known as “The Devil’s Tavern” due to its infamous reputation. Following a fire in the 18th century, the pub was rebuilt and renamed “The Prospect of Whitby” in reference to a ship that frequently docked in the nearby area.

Did You Know?

How To Get There?

The following transit lines have routes that pass near The Prospect of Whitby:

Bus: 100, 115, D3



Nearest Parking and Cost

There is a garage parking space available for customers only.

Nearby Special Attractions – Make A Day Of It!

If you’re planning to visit The Prospect of Whitby, not far from Whitechapel, consider exploring these nearby attractions:

Sky Garden

Sky Garden is a public space in London that provides panoramic views of the city, green spaces, and dining options.

The British Museum

The British Museum is a globally recognized institution that exhibits a wide range of international art and artifacts. These include significant pieces such as the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.

Top 5 Closest Hidden Gems – Recommended By Adventure Clues

Destination Distance
Columbia Road Flower Market 2.6 miles
The Hunterian Museum 4.5 miles
Clissold Park 5.1 miles
Nunhead Cemetery 5.3 miles
Fitzroy House 5.5 miles

Your Hidden Gems Itinerary

  1. Start your day at The Prospect of Whitby.
  2. Cross Columbia Road Flower Market: Experience the vibrant flower market, especially on Sunday afternoon and stroll among the flowers.
  3. Head to The Hunterian Museum: Discover medical history and anatomical collections.
  4. Visit Clissold Park: For a relaxing stroll or picnic, enjoy the park’s green spaces, ponds, and animal enclosures.
  5. Explore Nunhead Cemetery: Visit the historic cemetery for its serene atmosphere.
  6. Conclude your day at Fitzroy House: Discover the history of Fitzroy House and its literary significance.

These hidden gems showcase the multifaceted charm of London beyond its well-known landmarks, encouraging exploration and discovery.

Best Eateries Around Wapping

Here are some popular pubs and restaurants near The Prospect of Whitby:

Smith’s of Wapping

Smith’s of Wapping is a well-known seafood restaurant located in London. It provides views of the River Thames and serves a variety of seafood dishes prepared with fresh ingredients.

Il Bordello

Il Bordello is an Italian restaurant recognized for its large portion sizes, welcoming atmosphere, and dishes that are true to Italian cuisine.

Unassuming exterior of oldest Thames-side pub, The Prospect of Whitby photo by Dr Neil Clifton


Entry Price: Beer Garden and Other Pub Features

The public house is free to visit, including the Sports Area. The function room is also available for private dining.

Final Thoughts

The Prospect of Whitby is a historic pub in London that offers a unique blend of rich history and traditional British charm. Its location and vintage decor make it a cherished landmark, reflecting the city’s enduring love for its cultural heritage.

Uncover the secrets of London with a thrilling adventure, perhaps starting with a visit to the Greene King’s Prospect of Whitby pub. Join London Scavenger Hunts by Adventure Clues and explore the city’s hidden treasures.

The Prospect of Whitby Pub on the banks of Thames FAQs

Find answers to questions about The Prospect of Whitby, a historic pub in London.

When is the best time to visit The Prospect of Whitby?

Check weather estimates and tourism density to schedule a moment for a getaway.

Month Average Temperature (°C) Average rainfall (mm) Tourist Crowds
January 5.5 58.4 Very Quiet
February 6.3 48.3 Very Quiet
March 8.2 53.1 Quiet
April 10.8 45.7 Quiet
May 14.2 53.3 Quiet
June 17.5 50.8 Busy
July 20.7 45.7 Busy
August 21.1 50.8 Busy
September 19.3 55.9 Quiet
October 15.0 61.0 Very Quiet
November 11.5 58.4 Very Quiet
December 7.3 55.9 Very Quiet

What is The Prospect of Whitby?

The Prospect of Whitby is a historical pub located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Wapping. It is recognized as one of the oldest riverside taverns in London. The establishment’s history dates back to 1520, indicating it has been in existence for nearly 500 years. The pub is situated on the grounds of what was once a brewery, which is also believed to have been the site of an earlier tavern named the “Devil’s Tavern.”

Why is “The Prospect of Whitby” known as the oldest riverside tavern in London?

The Prospect of Whitby is considered one of the oldest pubs in London, with its origins dating back to approximately 1520. The pub’s history is evident in its 400-year-old stone floor. Over the years, the location has undergone several changes. Initially, it functioned as a brewery before transitioning into various pubs, one of which was “The Pelican.”

What notable features does The Prospect of Whitby pub have?

The pub is characterized by a replica of gallows and noose displayed outside, referencing its location near the well-known Execution Dock. This historical pub also contains a 400-year-old stone floor and a terrace that provides wide-ranging views of the Thames. The river views have attracted numerous visitors to the “Prospect of Whitby,” including notable figures such as Princess Margaret and author Charles Dickens.

Why the name “Prospect of Whitby”?

The name “Prospect of Whitby” is derived from a ship that was anchored nearby during the 18th century. The tavern is situated in Wapping on the eastern banks of the Thames, a location that attracted sailors and pirates in the past. The pub’s distinctive name and historical significance have contributed to its recognition in London.

What’s the connection between the Prospect of Whitby and Henry VIII?

Historical records suggest that King Henry VIII may have visited “The Prospect of Whitby” during his visits to the old St John’s Hospital in the vicinity. This pub is often included in historical London tours that explore the diverse individuals who have frequented the establishment throughout its long history.


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