City Barge

Top choice pub in Richmond, Kew & Hampton Court

In a line of small riverside cottages facing wooded Oliver's Island (where Cromwell is alleged to have taken refuge), this excellent pub looks straight onto the muddy Thames. Once known as the Navigators Arms, there has been a pub here since the Middle Ages, although the Luftwaffe gave it a dramatic facelift (as has an attractive refurb).

The pub itself claims a lineage dating from the 14th century, which would make it one of London's most ancient pubs. There are three open fires, drinkers spill outside in clement weather and a fine gastropub menu has taken hold. A scene from the Beatles’ film Help! was shot here, celebrated in framed photo stills. The hefty steel door clangs shut during high tides, which inundate the towpath.


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