The Royal Oak, the first pub out of Southwark on the Pilgrims’ Way, has reopened this evening.
Arrivals are finding the pub repainted outside and in with the downstairs feeling light and airy. Without the old curtains there is now a view of the street.
The present Royal Oak is a well-preserved Victorian building standing in Tabard Street which is the start of the road to Kent. It was once called Kent Street and joins the Old Kent Road at the Bricklayers Arms junction.
Henry V after Agincourt and Charles II at the Restoration both came up the road.
Pilgrims to Canterbury went down the road to Canterbury as they still do.
At present it is just a trickle being brave in this year of virus. Not all pubs, teashops and bed and breakfasts in the countryside have yet reopened.
But walkers can get their pilgrim passport stamped now at The Royal Oak just half mile after setting out from Southwark Cathedral.
The Priory monks owned an inn by London Bridge ( News Building site) where Canterbury bound pilgrims could spend their first night before setting out on foot or horse.
In 2018 the award-winning Royal Oak, aware of its heritage, hosted special Pilgrims’ Way evening.
It’s a good stop for lunch on the first day or a drink the night before.