You could travel from London to anywhere in the country and beyond. There were no railway termini in those days of course so you went to the inn from which your coach departed. Like today, some journeys required a change of coaches, perhaps at Birmingham or York, for example. This page lists some of the well-known coaching inns and where you could travel to from them.
The Swan with Two Necks, Cheapside
The Swan with Two Necks was in Lad Lane (renamed Gresham Street in 1851). It was large inn and was in use from the early days of coach travel. Many mail coaches left from here.
Coaches to: Andover, Axminster, Basingstoke, Bath, Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, Camelford, Chester, Coventry, Daventry, Dartmouth, Devonport, Exeter, Falmouth, Ipswich, Leicester, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Manchester, Nottingham, Penzance, Plymouth, Preston, Reigate, Salisbury, Southampton, Stroud, Totnes, Towcester, Truro, Winchester, and Wolverhampton.
The Golden Cross, Charing Cross
This inn was a busy hub when Charing Cross was just a little village between London and Westminster. It was sold in 1827 for Trafalgar Square to be built.
Coaches to: Ashby de la Zouch, Ashford (Kent), Birmingham, Burton-on-Trent, Chichester, Dover, Durham, Eastbourne, Harrogate, Hastings, Hull, Leeds, Litchfield, Ludlow, Maidstone, Mitcham, Nantwich, Newmarket, Potteries (Stafford), Stratford upon Avon, Tamworth, Taunton, Thetford, Worcester, Wrotham (Kent), and York.
La Belle Sauvage Inn, Ludgate Hill
This inn existed since Elizabeth I’s time. Plays were performed in its courtyard and it is mentioned in The Pickwick Papers.
It was demolished in 1873 to make way for a viaduct.
Coaches to: Anglesey, Chippenham, Colchester, Darlington, Downham (Norfolk), Ely, Fulham, Holyhead, Kew, (Kings) Lynn, Maidenhead (Berks), Norwich, Shepton Mallet, Sherborne (Dorset), Shrewsbury, St Austell, Swindon, Tiverton, Trowbridge, Walsall, Warminster, Warrington, Warwick, Wimborne, and Windsor.
The White Horse, Fetter Lane
Seventy horses were stabled here and both long and short stay visitors to London stayed here.
In 1899, the stables were no longer needed so it was rebuilt as a smaller hotel.
Coaches to: Aberdeen, Aldborough, Arundel, Barnet,Barton Mills, Bishop Auckland, Blackburn, Bradford, Bury, Canterbury, Cromer, Croydon, Darlington, Dartford, Douglas (Isle of Man), Edinburgh, Gosport, Halifax, Hartlepool, Holmes Chapel, Hounslow, Huddersfield, Inverness, Kidderminster, Kilmarnock, Kirby Lonsdale, Kirkaldy, Knutsford, Lancaster, Leek, Milford Haven, Newark, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newport Pagnall, Nuneaton, Peterhead, Pontefract, Rugby, Stockton on Tees, Selkirk, Sheerness, Sheffield, Stevenage, Stockport, Stockton upon Tees, Sunderland, Swansea, Ware (Herts), Wetherby, Wisbech, and Worksop.
The Saracen’s Head, Snow Hill
This inn appears in Chapter Four of Nicholas Nickleby. Earlier, Samuel Pepys had stayed here. It was demolished in 1868 to make way for the Holborn Viaduct.
Coaches to: Arbroath, Barnsley, Braintree, Burnley, Chelmsford, Cheshunt, Colne, Egham, Falkirk, Fishguard, Forfar,Greenwich, Grimsby, Hertford, Huntingdon, Kendall, Malmsbury, Marlborough, Minehead, Montrose, Newbury, Oldham, Padstow, Paisley, Perth, Poole, Reading, Sidmouth, Stirling, Thirsk, Ulverstone (Lancs), Upminster, Wakefield, Welwyn, Wentworth (Yorks), Weymouth, Whitehaven, and Wigan.
The Bull & Mouth, St Martins Le Grand
The name was originally ‘Boulogne Mouth’ before it burned down in the Great Fire of London. It was rebuilt as a coaching inn and was replaced by The Queen’s Hotel in 1831.
Coaches to: Bangor, Cardiff, Carlisle, Carnavon, Chesterfield, Dublin, Dudley, Dunstable, Glasgow, Fakenham, Henley, Knaresborough, Leighton Buzzard, Melton Mowbray, Northampton, Pembroke, Ripon, Rotherham, Scarborough, Skipton, St Albans, Stamford, Stourbridge, Stow on the Wold, Stranraer, Sutton Coldfield, Tipton, Wells (Norfolk), Woburn, and Wrexham.
Blossoms Inn, Cheapside
This was originally called ‘Bosoms Inn’. It is where Pickfords set up their London headquarters in 1720.
Coaches to: Brighton, Folkstone, Ramsgate, and Sittingbourne.
The Spread Eagle, Gracechurch Street
This is where banking employees met in the 1760s. It was a commuter hub with four coaches a day to Camberwell. Thomas Twining used the Spread Eagle for deliveries.
Coaches to: Bromley (Kent), Epsom, Gravesend, Harwich, Lewisham, Lincoln, Lowestoft, Peterborough, Rochester, Sleaford, Stilton, Stoke (Suffolk), Streatham, Tooting, Woodbridge (Suffolk), and Yarmouth.
The Bell and Crown, Holborn
This Holborn pub was largely concerned with routes from London into Hampshire, with Southampton and Winchester fairly important goods destinations.It was a very important masonic meeting place – Well past its best by 1819 – constrained by size and competition from myriad inns in and around Holborn
Coaches to: Aylesbury, Banbury, Berkhamstead, Edgware, Edmonton, Hampstead, Harrowon on the Hill, Hemel Hempstead, Leatherhead, Lewes, Rickmansworth, Stokenchurch, Teignmouth (Devon), Tottenham, Walthamstow, Watford and Wendover.
The Blue Boar Cellar, Aldgate
This is the inn from which travel to Essex ran. Back in the mid 1700s it was a departure point for young men setting off on a Grand Tour of Europe. Coaches ran to Harwich for travel to the Low Countries or Germany. By 1819, peace with France meant that Dover and Folkestone became the preferred ports for crossing the channel.
Coaches to: Barking, Bishops Stortford, Brentwood, Chigwell, Dagenham, East Ham, Epping, Grays, Harlow. Hornchurch, Ilford, Plaistow, Rayleigh, Romford ,Southend-on-Sea, Stanstead, Stratford (Essex) and Waltham Abbey
The Bolt in Tun, Fleet Street
This inn dates from 1443. Like most coaching inns, it ceased coaching in the 1850s. The name is Regency period slang for someone who has absconded or escaped from jail. it had a reputation for riotous behaviour and drunkenness.
Coaches to: Aberystwyth, Battle (Hastings), Cheltenham, Cowes (Isle of Wight), Esher, Eton, Froom, Gloucester, Guildford, Havant, Hereford, Margate, Monmouth, Oxford, Petworth, Portsmouth, Sevenoaks, Shepperton, Tewkesbury, Tunbridge, Twickenham, Walton on Thames and Wells (Somerset).
The Age of Coaching
The world of long-distance coach travel
Beginning to End
How long did the Great Age of Coaching Last?
Travel in the Coaching Age
The world of coach travel - surprisingly familiar; just slower and wetter
A list of destinations which is remarkably familiar to the modern day traveller
We’re familiar with railway termini but what were the departure points like in the Age of Coaching?
Here are most of the coaching departure points in London, together withe here you could travel to from each one
An example of how politics influenced attitudes in some inns along the road
Not a war, just passengers trying to grab a bite to eat on the road
Coach drivers were an elite group, but as the coaching age declined, they lost their importance
Illegal, but overlooked by the proprietors, this was a coachman’s perk
William was one of the most successful coach proprietors - and he survived the move to railways
Coach travel was not without risk. Here are some reported coach accidents
The story of the Mail Coaches, how the mail evolved and what they were like
Anecdotes written by people who actually travelled on the coaches
The coachmen, the inns, the coach proprietors - they’re all here. Come in and meet them
Britain’s roads were pretty impassable for most of our history. Coach travel was very difficult until they improved
Wheeled transport evolved over many years. Find out how coaches developed
Home Page of the Coaching Website
Sources and information about how I came to create this website