"meet me at an inn outside London"
The George Inn at Southwark, London's only surviving galleried coaching inn
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe George Inn at Southwark, London's only surviving galleried coaching inn - Credit: Nick Fraser

Coaching inns were a vital part of British infrastructure between the 17th and 20th centuries. As journeys made by horse-drawn coach were often long, it was crucial to have regular rest-stops to replace the teams of horses and allow weary passengers to stretch their legs, get refreshment or sometimes stay overnight. Traditionally inns were supposed to be seven miles apart so that there was always a stop within easy reach, but many towns had more than one inn and competition between them was fierce. With the arrival of the motorcar coaching inns became redundant – many closed and others now fill the role of the traditional pub, some still with guest rooms and some just serving food and drink.