Walton – Swan at Walton (White Swan)

To provide a little context, we visited this pub in Walton whilst on our sixth LDWA 100 training walk.

The pub is operated as part of the small Chilled Pub Company estate, which seems to focus on providing a strong food offering. The pub has traditionally been known as the White Swan, but has recently been rebranded as the Swan at Walton. It first opened in the 1820s and it feels like the sort of pub which was targetted at the agricultural labourers of the period.

We didn’t get to see much of the inside as we remained outside in the rear beer garden, which was our plan initially given the slightly muddy fields we had just traipsed across. Not that we would have had much choice, the pub was clearly popular and they were fully booked for the next 90 minutes inside, as we discovered when some other customers tried to get in.

The staff here were welcoming and friendly, offering a prompt greeting at the door and explaining that there was table service. The beer selection was a little limited, so there was a choice of Fuller’s London Pride or Marston’s Pedigree. Despite the impressions above, we opted for the latter and it was well-kept and at the appropriate temperature and all that.

Actually, on the beer selection, looking back on Untappd it’s clear that the pub can come up with some decent craft beers. Although on our visit, the only dark beer listed on their extensive on-line database was Guinness, which was disappointing given some of their marketing. But, perhaps things will improve when some form of normality returns.

We did consider for a while waiting well over an hour as the food coming out, such as the pizzas, did look rather lovely. However, we were meant to be walking over 20 miles (which we did) and would have struggled to justify waiting around for that long. But, the food did look good and the reviews are positive. Well, mostly positive, but I quite liked this one:

“They have a loyalty app where you can collect points. I sent a simple email to the pub asking how I transfer the sale from this night on to the points. 4 days later I get a reply from the manager giving great instructions but also telling me I have lots the points because they need to be actioned within 48hrs. So my response was I have lost them due to the delay in reply from the email. I then get an email from the owner Loren actually telling me she doesn’t pay her manager to sit answering emails. So you could imagine my reply why have an email system if no-one replies and why have a point system which has a time period of 48hrs. Loren then sent me an email that wasn’t meant for me but was about me basically this was to her manager ditching me..this was so unprofessional of an owner of at least 3 establishments in the area none of which I will ever attend again.”

This does have a ring of truth about it, it’s a shame that the pub doesn’t reply to reviews as I would have quite liked the answer as to what happened here…. Anyway, I digress.

The pub felt well-run and organised, customers seemed quite content and the beer was reasonably priced. One group of customers took a table outside (took as in sat down, they didn’t pinch it) which didn’t have a parasol arrangement, with the staff commenting they weren’t coming inside if it rained. The staff were being helpful, but I was amused by the image of this group just having to sit there in the rain.