Lonely Planet Writer

Animal-lovers can now plan the purrfect pub crawl around London to bars with feline residents

Cat-lovers travelling through London, can starting planning an amazing pub crawl around the city with a new book featuring the cats that call the city’s public houses home.

Last time we visited the two cats at the Southampton had multiple names – no one could settle on anything definitive. We were told to call them Pork Pie and Scratchings, in honour of the pub’s excellent snack offerings. Southampton Arms, 139 Highgate Road, Gospel Oak NW5
The pub cat at the Southampton Arms, 139 Highgate Road, Gospel Oak NW5. Image by London Pubcats

London Pubcats is a new book by Vicky Lane and Tim White that is described as a “pictorial tribute to the hardworking felines that provide furrily companionable, safely mouse-free environments for drinkers in the UK capital”. The book notes that for many people living in tiny flats around the city, heading to a pub with a cat is the best way to enjoy some feline company. The book focuses on the furry residents and their lives at pubs like the Southampton Arms in Kentish Town, where the two resident cats go by multiple names, but are often called Pork Pie and Scratchings, in honour of the pub’s snack offerings.

She doesn’t actually belong to the pub, but nearly every morning when the Anglesea Arms opens up at 11am she’s there waiting outside the door. She hangs around the bar all day until she’s shown out again at 11pm, hoping someone will buy her a pint of prawns. Anglesea Arms, 35 Wingate Road, Ravenscourt Park W6
Lily hangs around the bar all day until she’s shown out at 11 pm, hoping someone will buy her a pint of prawns. Anglesea Arms, 35 Wingate Road, Ravenscourt Park W6. Image by London Pubcats

Featured in the book are incredible cats like Lily, who passes the days at Ravenscourt Park’s Anglesea Arms, though she doesn’t actually live there. Lily shows up to the pub at opening time most days to laze around the drinking hole until it closes. Lily is a fan of the pub’s prawns, and some regulars even buy her a half-pint pass of prawns, which she apparently prefers to have peeled for her.

Nobody knows where she came from but according to the landlord Steve she just turned up one day and has never left. Now she rules the place from her Union Jack cushioned throne. Duke of Hamilton, 23–25 New End, Hampstead NW3
Duchess is one of London’s pub cats and lives at the Duke of Hamilton, 23–25 New End, Hampstead NW3.  Image by London Pubcats

Duchess, who lives at the Duke of Hamilton in Hampstead, turned up at the pub one day and never left, and “now she rules the place from her Union Jack cushioned throne”, according to the book.

The Tapping the Admiral's got great taste when it comes to beers (it’s a favourite of the real ale brigade), it has excellent pies and it boats a brilliant cat in Nelson. He doesn’t actually do that much but he’s cool. Tapping the Admiral, 77 Castle Road, Kentish Town NW1
Nelson is one of London’s pub cats at Tapping the Admiral, 77 Castle Road, Kentish Town NW1. Image by London Pubcats

Nelson, who hangs out at Tapping the Admiral, apparently doesn’t do too much. However, the bar is known for its ale and having an adorable cat there is probably enough to bring customers through the door.

When Billie (pictured) got married to Harvey a few years back – an event orchestrated by landlady of the Nags Head, Flossie Parsons – as far as Walthamstow locals were concerned it almost upstaged another wedding taking place that day, William and Kate’s. Nags Head, 9 Orford Road, Walthamstow E17
Billie is one of London’s pub cats at Nags Head, 9 Orford Road, Walthamstow E17
Image by London Pubcats

And while customers grow fond of pub cats, their owners are equally smitten. Billie is such a beloved pub cat that the landlady of the Nags Head, Flossie Parsons, held a wedding between Billie and fellow pub cat Harvey. To find out exactly where to drink to hang out with cats, the book is available from the publisher Paradise Road.