The Prospect of Whitby beach is a stretch of the Thames foreshore directly behind the Prospect of Whitby pub, in Wapping. This stretch of the river has a dark history as it was close to the site of Execution Dock where pirates were hanged for crimes committed at sea.
Today the Prospect of Whitby beach is a popular place for mudlarks, and anyone interested in London’s history. It also offers unique views of London’s skyline. This post is all about the Prospect of Whitby beach, including access points, history and images.
What is the Prospect of Whitby Beach?
The Prospect of Whitby beach is a section of the Thames riverbed which is exposed at low tide, and completely covered at high tide. The photograph below was taken at low tide, but at high tide the steps of the pub are completely covered.
In the photograph you can see the seaweed on the wall showing the level the water rises to at high tide. When the tide comes in, visitors to the pub can almost touch the water from the first floor balcony.
The Prospect of Whitby beach is just a short section of Wapping beach, which runs parallel to Wapping Wall and Wapping High Street. Access to the rest of Wapping beach is blocked off by a jetty, shown in the photograph below. This is unless you visit when the tide is at its lowest, when you can walk around it.
Why is there a Rope Outside the Prospect of Whitby?
A noose hangs directly behind the Prospect of Whitby pub, as a reminder of the once nearby Execution Dock. The dock was used for over 400 years, as a place of execution for pirates and other maritime criminals. The last executions took place in the 1830s.
The rope outside the Prospect of Whitby pub, is not only a reminder of Execution Dock, but also of the “hanging judge”, George Jeffreys, who would visit the pub on his way to see the executions.
The beach is behind the Prospect of Whitby pub located at 57 Wapping Wall, London, E1W 3SH. The nearest station is Wapping on the London Overground.
Accessing the Prospect of Whitby Beach
The beach can be accessed via Pelican Stairs which are found at the end of a small passageway alongside the pub. The passageway is easy to find since it is directly next to the pub.
The steps down to the beach, shown in the photograph below, have no handrail but there is a wall on one side. Compared to many other Thames foreshore access points, the stairs are in good condition.
The steps lead down onto a stony section of the Thames riverbed, where there is the risk of sharp stones and broken glass. Also, be aware that there is only one access point to this beach, and since it is a tidal beach, a rapidly rising tide could cut off your exit point quickly.
Images of the Prospect of Whitby Beach
Below are some of the photographs I took when I visited the Prospect of Whitby beach.
Information About the Prospect of Whitby Pub
The Prospect of Whitby Pub is London’s oldest riverside pub. It was built in 1520 and originally named The Pelican. It later became known as The Devil’s Tavern, before being renamed The Prospect of Whitby after a ship that was moored nearby.
The pub was a notorious haunt for Wapping residents who made their living from the river Thames. This included sailors, fishermen, dockers, boat builders, smugglers, pirates and thieves.
Samuel Pepys was a regular at the pub during his time in the Navy. Other notable customers have been Charles Dickens, Judy Garland, Mohammed Ali and Princess Margaret.
Other Beaches on the River Thames
This Post was About the Prospect of Whitby Beach
Thank you for reading my post about the Prospect of Whitby Beach. The Prospect of Whitby is the oldest riverside inn in London, and the beach behind it is a great place to visit if you are interested in the history of the river Thames.