Hoop & Toy

34 Thurloe Place, Kensington, London, SW7 2HQ

Established in 1760, The Hoop and Toy is the oldest established pub in the Knightsbridge area. It was originally called the Hoop and Grapes. This name signified that it was an establishment selling beer, and referred to the metal hoop around beer barrels, as well as wine which is represented by grapes.

When the first London congestion charge came into force in 1796, the owner built another pub just 1 mile up the road in Knightsbridge called The Bunch of Grapes, and as such changed the name of the pub. The renamed Hoop and Toy now had an added stable to look after commuters’ horses for the day, to avoid the daily charge levied at the Brompton Gate where the Victoria & Albert Museum stands today. The 'Toy' is symbolic of a rum soaked leather bound peg which could be placed in a horse's mouth to stop it grinding its teeth or biting its gums.

The original building suffered fire damage in an incident that started at a bakery just three doors east of the pub, and was re-opened at great expense by the new owner Lord Rothschild in 1885. It had many high class patrons including two King George's. The current building dates back to just after World War II as much of this area suffered damage from bombing raids as can be seen from the museum walls along Exhibition Road.

The Hoop and Toy’s basement is claimed to be haunted. The story goes that it was formerly part of a grave site. The bodies of Priests were said to be bound and entombed in the underlays of the building. When the tube stations were built, the railway workers disturbed their graves, and subsequently their route to the monasteries and Churches in London were obstructed. As a result, the souls of the priests wonder the pub, creeping up and down the stairs as they attempt to find an alternative route to their places of worship.

In later years, the pub was featured in several brief scenes in the classic 1960’s film ‘Repulsion’. The traditional decor is enhanced by old books, rustic ornaments and framed prints and cartoons.

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  • About the Hoop & Toy

    The Hoop & Toy is the oldest established pub in the South Kensington / Knightsbridge area and opened in 1760, originally called the Hoop and Grapes. This name signified that it was an establishment selling beer (metal hoop around barrels) and wine (grapes), but when the first London congestion charge came into force in 1796, the owner built another pub (The Bunch of Grapes) just 1 mile up the road in Knightsbridge and changed the name. The renamed Hoop and Toy now had an added stable to look after commuters’ horses for the day, to avoid the daily charge levied at the Brompton Gate where the V & A stands today.
    The 'Toy' was a rum soaked leather bound peg which could be placed in a horse's mouth to stop it grinding its teeth or biting its gums (or so we are told by modern day historians!)

    The original building suffered fire damage in an incident that started at a bakers just 3 doors east of us, and was re-opened at great expense by the new owner Lord Rothschild in 1885. It had many high class patrons including 2 King George's (the crazy one and the 'Blackadder' one). The current building dates back to just after WW2 as much of this area suffered damage from bombing raids as can be seen from the museum walls along Exhibition Road.

    Our range of drinks includes cask ale and an extensive wine list as well as a great range of soft drinks and coffees.

    With fabulous British food to accompany our drinks, you can relax at this Taylor Walker pub over classics such as hand battered cod, chips and mushy or garden peas, traditional British recipe bangers & mash or a classic British roast seven days a week. Our pub food is freshly prepared and includes all your British favourites. We also offer a range of sandwiches and wraps.

    We are delighted to welcome you at Taylor Walker and assure you of friendly service in a relaxing British pub with a welcoming atmosphere.

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    Facilities

    • Air Conditioning
    • Coaches Accepted
    • Family Friendly
    • Historic Pub
    • Meeting Rooms
    • Offers Functions
    • Wifi
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    Book a table from tomorrow onwards. Want to make a booking for today then why not give us a call.

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