The Prospect of Whitby

57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, London, E1W 3SH
Call: 020 7481 1095

On The River Thames – London’s Oldest Riverside Inn

Located on the banks of the Thames at Wapping, The Prospect of Whitby is London’s oldest riverside pub, and one of its finest. Dating back to 1520, the pub gained notoriety as a hangout for sailors, smugglers and local criminals due to its nautical connections. Nicknamed ‘The Devil’s Tavern’ to more accurately reflect its clientele, it was used as base for thieves and pirates who would sneak out and steal from the ships coming in and out of the docks.

Originally called The Pelican, the name The Prospect of Whitby was adopted in the early 18th century after the original tavern was destroyed in a fire. The landlord named the pub after a collier – a coal ship – from Whitby called The Prospect that moored on the bank outside and became a reliable landmark for finding the pub.

The river Thames was London’s commercial artery and the pub’s proximity to Wapping docks attracted a tough and rugged crowd. Bare knuckle bouts and cock fighting often took place here but the pub’s association with the river and trade brought other benefits for its patrons – it was here that a sailor sold England’s first fuchsia cutting to a gardener for a tot of rum.

Over the years, we have welcomed some of London’s most celebrated artists, writers and philosophers through our doors, including Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys and Dr Johnson. Both Turner and Whistler were also regular patrons here and famously sketched the Thames from The Prospect during their visits. The Prospect of Whitby and its shady maritime past has sparked the imagination throughout the ages, featuring in literature and films and visited by film stars and royalty including Paul Newman, Kirk Douglas and Princess Margaret. Today we are pleased to say we have built a reputation for warmth and hospitality, and look forward to welcoming you and your guests.

Inside The Prospect you’ll find a traditional British pub that is bursting with character and steeped in nearly 500 years of nautical and cultural history. The pub has retained its original flagstone floor and has a wonderfully rare pewter-topped bar constructed from old barrels and wooden pillars made from ships’ masts. From our three outdoor terraces, guests can enjoy the wonderful riverside views, and at low tide it’s even possible to walk down the Pelican Steps and stroll on the pebbled shore of the Thames. These stairs are one of only 11 original flights of ‘watermen’s’ stairs remaining in London. They allowed access to the river from street level at high tide and their location was memorised by waterman who taxied passengers across the Thames during their apprenticeship.

A choice of function rooms to suit every occasion

We would love for you to choose The Prospect as the venue for your special occasion. Whatever the event, our experienced team are on hand to help you plan your celebration and ensure everything goes smoothly. We have three function rooms to choose from: The Lookout, Pepys and Smugglers. Both The Lookout and Pepys function rooms offer unrivalled views across the Thames and access to our lovely waterside terrace, whilst the cosy Smugglers function room has its own well-stocked bar. We pride ourselves on our hospitality and excellent catering service and can adapt our menu to suit the specific needs of your guests.

Much-loved tavern in heart of East London

Wapping is one of the most picturesque corners of East London, currently enjoying a renaissance due to recent investment and redevelopment. The Prospect of Whitby is located next door to the King Edward VII Memorial Park with its daffodil-lined meadow, handsome pavilion and abundance of greenery. A top tourist attraction for visitors to London, our much-loved tavern is situated in a pleasant and green location, just up the river from Wapping’s underground station.

Function Room Information - Lookout
Capacity 42 Private Bar No
Hire Costs Available on Request Area Type private
Facilities Fixed Screen, Flip Chart and Pens, Hot Water Flasks, PA System, Projector, Wi-Fi,
Suitable Events Christmas & New Year, Conferences and Meetings, Funerals, Parties, Private Bars, Tour Groups, Weddings,
Function Room Information - Smugglers
Capacity 32 Private Bar Yes
Hire Costs Available on Request Area Type private
Facilities Fixed Screen, Flip Chart and Pens, Hot Water Flasks, PA System,
Suitable Events Christmas & New Year, Conferences and Meetings, Funerals, Parties, Private Bars, Tour Groups, Weddings,
Function Room Information - Pepy's
Capacity 40 Private Bar No
Hire Costs Available on Request Area Type private
Facilities Fixed Screen, Flip Chart and Pens, Hot Water Flasks, PA System,
Suitable Events Christmas & New Year, Conferences and Meetings, Funerals, Parties, Private Bars, Tour Groups, Weddings,

The nearest Train Station to The Prospect of Whitby is Wapping