Though it claims to be the oldest pub on the River Thames, this riverside pub’s real claim to fame is that patrons have a clear shot at seeing where the Mayflower was moored before its departure for the New World. Because of crowding upriver, the historic ship was tied up here before heading off on the first leg of its journey to the Americas.
Though the captain of the Mayflower and his trusty vessel typically transported wine, they were hired in 1620 to bring a cohort of religious separatists to the New World. The ship was moored here while it was prepared for the long, transatlantic voyage. The Mayflower Pub overlooks the spot where the ship remained until setting sail for Plymouth, England during the first part of its trip.
The pub now stands where The Shippe pub was in the 16th century. The building that is now the Mayflower Pub changed hands many times over the centuries and received quite a few makeovers. It was given its current name in 1957 to honor its connection with the ship that ferried in the colonists who would become some of the first permanent settlers of the land that eventually became the United States. It’s just over four miles from the heart of London, giving visitors who want to pop in a chance to escape the crowded city center.
Back in the 19th century, The Mayflower was permitted to sell stamps to travelers and boatmen alike. This service is still provided today. The bar is the only such establishment in England to offer postage for both local and international letters and cards. While at the bar, descendants of the original sailing vessel are encouraged to sign the visitor’s book.
The captain of the Mayflower died shortly after returning from bringing the Pilgrims to the New World. He’s buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery at Saint Mary the Virgin, a church just a minute’s walk from the pub.