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Published January 15th 2018
Enjoy Good Food And Real Ale At Historic Canal-Side Pub
In the days and years before motorised transport, The Swan pub at Fradley Junction near Alrewas in Staffordshire was probably in one of the more enviable locations in the country. For the grade ll listed hostelry, which has been serving customers since the 1770s, is situated at the busy waterway junction of the Coventry Canal and the Trent and Mersey Canal. In fact, The Swan, which is also known as The White Swan because of its white frontage, or the more colloquial 'Mucky Duck' for reasons I was unable to discover, sits directly opposite the point where the two canals meet.
The Swan, which sits in the middle of a small row of terraced buildings, forms part of a compact canal-side settlement at Fradley Junction. The settlement was established after the Coventry Canal was linked to the Trent & Mersey Canal at the end of the 18th century. Both canal companies built houses and cottages for their workers, while two warehouses, complete with hoists, were erected alongside The Swan. The pub has its own car park on the side of the building, together with a small seating area outside directly opposite the Trent & Mersey Canal, although it wasn't the weather to be sitting out when we visited in January. The Swan still retains many of its original historic features, although it has apparently had a major revamp in recent months.
We chose to sit in the small but cosy lounge rather than the separate bar area opposite. There is also a further dining room area at the bottom of a flight of stairs which apparently used to be a stable. But, unlike the rest of the pub, dogs are not permitted in this section. Fortunately there was plenty of space available in the lounge as we had a small dog with us. There was a comprehensive menu to choose from, including a selection of pizzas. I had the Gammon, egg and chips for only £6.95, with two eggs if I wanted them. Fortunately I decided one was enough as the quantity of ham was enough for at least two meals. My wife chose the Chicken burger at a slightly dearer £8.95 which was served in a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, plus chips, salad and coleslaw on the side. Our two friends went for the beef burger at £8.95, which came with the same accompaniments, and a small portion of beer battered Haddock and chips with mushy peas or peas at £6.95. A larger portion of fish was available for £10.95.
The Swan regularly stocks Everards ales as well as various guest beers. I enjoyed a pint of Anchor Titanic while my mate chose the Beacon Hill amber ale, with the other people in our party having a half of Beacon Hill and a soft drink. Although we didn't go in there, the bar is equally cheery and traditional with the addition of a wood burner and open fire. Visitors to The Swan are also able to enjoy the other attractions that the Fradley Junction complex has to offer, including a craft and gift shop and a café on the opposite side of the canal from The Swan. Visitors are also able to enjoy the canals and the various locks themselves.
However, visitors can also enjoy the neighbouring Fradley Pool Nature Reserve, particularly if you overindulged during lunch. The nature area, which is free to visit, centres around a sizeable pool which people can stroll around or try their hand at fishing. There is also an adjacent woodland area which people can stroll around.