Reviewed by Emma Legge
Things my husband Adam and I particularly like:
Beer – Got to be real ale – particularly from small breweries.
Cake – home made all the better!
Small ‘proper’ pubs, not big chains.
So, reviewing The Old Swan Inn at Lechlade in Gloucestershire was right up our street!
We arrived mid afternoon and parked very easily outside, it was only later that we found out they have a large carpark at the back. From the exterior, the pub looks like a charming, quintessential inn and indeed, so proclaims a sign stating that it’s the oldest pub in Lechlade. It’s obvious even from the outside that the pub has recently undergone refurbishment, with fresh paintwork and smart signs. Whilst this has given it a modern and appealing look, I was pleased to find on entering that the original features and charm have still been maintained.
We first went into the restaurant side and were greeted by the first member of this happy and welcoming team who invited us to sit by the fire (unfortunately or maybe more fortunately not lit due to it being a quite warm albeit damp day!) while she informed the manageress, Janine, that we were there.
Janine greeted us very warmly and immediately offered to take us up to our room. We were led through the small bar area and up the original staircase that just oozes character. Janine apologised for the works that are still ongoing in the corridor but I never really noticed as was too busy looking at all the furniture and pictures that are so in keeping with the age of the pub. The pub has just four bedrooms, a standard twin room, a standard double and two deluxe rooms with four poster beds – all the rooms are en-suite and the two deluxe rooms can be made up as family rooms for up to two adults and two children.
Of course, I was thrilled to find that Janine was leading us into the biggest of the rooms with a king-size four-poster bed – well, if you’re going to leave your three children for a night, then you may as well do it in style! The room is beautifully decorated in a traditional yet modern style, keeping all the wonderful features of bare brick walls, fireplace and stunning bay window. The bathroom was large with a double shower (plus biggest shower head ever seen!) and a romantically inviting roll top bath and modern smart tiled flooring. The room had a 42″ wall mounted TV and tea and coffee making facilities. It also had a spacious sitting area and a lovely traditional dressing table. It was comfortable, stylish, traditional, sumptuous and perfect!
We decided to go into the bar for drinks before taking a wander around Lechlade. Adam and I had come to a pleasing agreement – I would review the cake and he’d review the beer! The cakes are homemade on site and I was given a huge slice of Victoria Sponge – it’s the little touches that really make this little gem of a pub special, the cake was topped with sparkle dust which, when at just £3.50 with a cup of coffee makes it amazing value for money and very special too. They do a good selection of coffees and apparently Monday’s baking day, so this makes the pub a perfect stop off at any time of day! Adam opted to try some of their own beer, brewed at their micro brewery, The Old Forge Brewery, at their sister pub The Radnor Arms in nearby Coleshill. First he tried Hammer and Tongues and next Blacksmiths Gold. Adam is a ‘real ale aficionado’ and very much enjoyed both these ales. The bar is an eclectic mix of traditional features with the modern style of furnishing such as agricultural accessories yet someone is obviously a motoring fan too as further down the bar, an old motor bike, petrol pump and various motor accessories are also on display – our 9 year old son would love it! Children, dogs and walkers are all made very welcome here.
We then took a stroll around Lechlade before getting ready for dinner. It’s a lovely small market town right on the River Thames. There are plenty of pubs and cafes plus antique shops and gift shops – there’s even a Christmas Shop but I couldn’t persuade Adam to let me wander round it in April! What with boat rides available at The Riverside Pub, Lechlade really is a perfect location for a relaxing break while still being close to larger picturesque towns such as Cirencester and Oxford.
Whilst relaxing on the leather sofas and reading the paper in the restaurant after our walk, we’d both clocked one of the specials, asparagus, smoked salmon and a poached egg with a balsamic dressing so we started off our evening meal with one decision already made!! The restaurant is small so I’d advise booking a table.
Janine and the chef, Lu-Ann advised us on that night’s menu so we ordered the starters previously mentioned followed by our mains, I opted for an 8oz Sirloin Steak with mushroom, tomato, chips and peppercorn sauce (£15.95) and Adam chose Maple Glazed Chicken Breast with parsnips and sugar snap peas (£12.95). The food was truly tremendous made even better by the friendliness and attentiveness of Janine and Lu-Ann. Adam said his chicken was particularly special – think it was the glaze that made it so different and tasty. Despite being full we couldn’t resist the tempting dessert menu and while at £6.95 a dessert they’re not cheap we were really pleased we didn’t miss out! Adam chose the cheese board and WOW! It was the best selection he’d ever had! Definitely worth the money and the indigestion that that much cheese undoubtedly gives! I opted for the Homemade Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream and hats off to Lu-Ann, this was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had, fantastically presented on a slate board and again garnished with sparkle dust and delicious strawberry sauce, it really was a very special sweet.
After a great night’s sleep in the super comfy bed it was time for yet more food, again attentively served by Janine and Lu-Ann. A full English breakfast is included in the room price of £98 for our deluxe room with a choice of bread rolls, croissants, cereals , fruit and juices. Adam polished off the delicious breakfast but I’m afraid I was simply too full from the dinner the night before!
Thank you Janine, Lu-Ann and the rest of the staff, we thoroughly enjoyed our lovely stay at The Old Swan Inn and really feel that its good value for money, not ridiculously priced either for the accommodation or the food and we will most definitely be returning soon.
A very well deserved 5 out of 5 from us.
For more information, to view menus or to make a booking call 01367 253571 or visit swaninnlechlade.co.uk.
The Old Swan Inn, Burford Street, Lechlade on Thames, Gloucestershire, Gl7 3AP
01367 253571 | swaninnlechlade.co.uk