What It’s Like Inside The Oldest Restaurant In London • Rules

Oldest Restaurant London Rules

In Covent Garden, you’ll find the legendary Rules, London’s oldest restaurant.

Founded in 1798, this culinary institution celebrated its 220th birthday this year, making it the oldest restaurant in London to operate continuously on the same site. [Header photo: @femme_fatale_03]

Rules London Oldest Restaurant
Photo: Rules

Rules wholeheartedly embraces its history from decor to dish. Framed paintings deck the halls, red velvet covers the dining booths and everything is made out of dark wood. This is strictly old-school, son. [See also: the 13 oldest pubs in London]

Rules Restaurant Photo
Photo: @sasstein66

The menu venerates classic British cooking, offering pies, roasts and game dishes aplenty. (There are in fact zero ‘main’ dishes for vegetarians or vegans. You could order a salad I guess?) Pheasant, partridge, hare and venison are a few of the formerly free-roaming dishes you’ll be able to order. For dessert, it’s just like Gran used to make (if she was British, that is) with sticky toffee puddings, golden syrup and other sinfully-sweet spongey things.

Rules Restaurant London
As seen on Instagram.

Bookend your meal with a visit to the intimate cocktail bar upstairs, once a bolthole (they claim) for London luminaries such as Evelyn Waugh and John Betjeman. They’ve even named a couple of cocktails after newly-minted princesses Kate and Megan, which is rather sweet. (Alternatively, sup on a beer from a classic silver tankard.)

Rules London Bar
Photo: @jackabevan

It’s an oldie but a goodie, and a perfect spot for guests whose tastes run to the traditional. (I mean it’s been in Downton Abbey three times so it doesn’t get more chintzily British than that!)

Location: 35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, WC2E 7LB. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Charing Cross are all nearby.
Opening hours: seven days a week. Mon-Sat, midday–midnight; Sun, midday–11pm.
Price: fairly expensive, as it goes: about £80 per person for three courses, wine to share and service.
More information: on their website.

See more of the best restaurants in Covent Garden.

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