Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – Famous for its Literary Clientele

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – A Historic London Pub Associated with Many Literary Figures:

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Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – A Historic London Pub

As far as historic London pubs go, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese couldn’t be more historic. It is one of a number of London pubs to have been rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of London in 1666 – the former inn on this site, which dates back to 1538, was destroyed in the Great Fire.

Historic London Pubs

There are many historic pubs in London but what makes Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese special is the host of famous literary figures that the Cheshire Cheese has attracted to its bars: Oliver Goldsmith, Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Alfred Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to name a few. In the bar are plaques showing the famous people who were regulars.

The Charles Dickens Connection

Charles Dickens was known to be a frequent visitor to this pub and in A Tale of Two Cities it is believed that the Cheshire Cheese Pub was the Fleet Street pub where Sydney Carton takes Charles Darnay to “up a covered way, into a tavern…” after Darnay’s acquittal on charges of high treason. And of course Charles Dickens was not the only writer to have referred to the Cheshire Cheese Pub in his literature, many other writers have used the Cheshire Cheese Pub as a backdrop in parts of their stories, books, etc.

Like many old English pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a warren of narrow passages and staircases that connect to various bars and dining rooms on different levels of the establishment. The rooms are built of dark wooden beams with low ceilings and the open fireplaces add to the cozy atmosphere.

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Cheshire Cheese Bar

Real Turtle Soup and Huge Beef Pies

There are plenty of memorabilia in the Cheshire Cheese linking this historic London pub to the past. At the entrance, is a board that records the reigns of the fifteen monarchs through which Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has survived. On another board inside, the copies of some of the old menus show what the typical pub food of the day was … real turtle’ soup was one of a specialties and the Olde Cheshire Cheese also had a reputation for its huge beef pies. And if you come across a stuffed parrot, it too is a part of the Cheshire Cheese’s history. Polly was legendary for mimicking customers for forty years and when Polly died, it was announced on BBC radio and in newspaper obituaries around the world.

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Cheshire Cheese Pub Entrance © Travel Signposts

Fleet Street was once home of the newspaper trade and due to its location, the Cheshire Cheese was the favorite watering hole of journalists. These days the papers have all moved, but Ye Olde Chshire Cheese continues to be a popular London pub. The ground floor bar is quite small so don’t be surprised if at times you don’t manage to find room in the pub, especially if there are a few of you.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
145 Fleet Street
London, EC4A 2BU

So, what is your thought on this? Let me know!


  1. avatarTony Coles says

    I believe my father’s father ‘William Coles’ may have run YE OLDE CHESHIRE CHEESE in the early 1900s. I know he and my grandmother ran a pub in the City.

    I have just come across a menu showing 2 characters with a steaming pot showing the date Oct 1st 1913 and wonder if this might have been their pub.

    Do you know how I might find further information?

    Regards Tony Coles

    • avatar says

      Hi Tony,

      They don’t have a website and apart from a phone number (+44 (0)20 7353 6170), I haven’t been able to find any email address. Your best bet is to write to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and even if they don’t have the information, they may be able to point you to resources where you can do further research.

      Good luck with your search.

      Kind regards,

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