I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Published April 1st 2017
Splendid Victorian Village Pub Serves Up A Real Treat
It would seem that the Victorians certainly knew a thing or two about ale. For the splendid village pub, The White Swan, apparently dates back to Victorian times, with the earliest record of its existence going back to 1821. Whatever it was like then can only be imagined, but it clearly couldn't have provided a more relaxed, friendly and welcoming atmosphere than when I visited for the first time recently.
The White Swan sits on the Staffordshire and South Derbyshire border in the pretty village of Walton-on-Trent, so named because the river Trent flows along just yards from the imposing front entrance of the pub. It is currently going through something of a gentle transformation having been taken over around a year ago by the recently created Chilled Pub Company based in Repton in Derby. The company, which also owns the Bull's Head in Repton and the Joiners Arms in Quarndon, Derby, have been overseeing changes since taking over The White Swan at the start of 2016.
The White Swan is probably one of the larger village pubs you are likely to come across, perhaps reflecting the Victorian's keen taste for real ale. There are a couple of car parks at the rear which provide plenty of space even at busy times of the day, such as the lunchtime visit I paid. And the pub's large exterior is reflected inside with a choice of three dining areas contained within the well laid out open plan interior. The sizeable well-lit conservatory, which looks out onto a pleasant outside seating area, was unfortunately pretty full when we arrived, so my wife and I chose to eat in the main area rather than a second restaurant space to the side.
By and large, the bar area is probably intended for drinkers, with the addition of a couple of fairly secluded snug corners if you want to be alone! The outdoor patio area can also be used by drinkers, while there is also a small grassed area above the lower of the two rear car parks which has been laid out with picnic tables and chairs. The White Swan serves one regular beer, Marston's Pedigree, as well as two changing beers which, on the day we visited, were Hobgoblin and Tribute pale ale. The pub is said to have a stock of 100 craft beers and ciders. But our main reason for visiting was to try out the lunch menu. And what an extensive menu it was.
The pub clearly specialises in pizza, as demonstrated by the impressive wood-fired pizza oven in full view from the bar area, as well as something called Yakitori sticks which are apparently fired on an authentic Japanese Yakitori grill. The sticks range from fillet steak and minted lamb to Tiger prawn and even monkfish, while for steak lovers the range of choices even includes a 32oz T-bone for sharing. Other available dishes include a choice of burgers, pies and sandwiches and, after much deliberation, we opted for a couple of sandwiches which were excellently priced at just £6 each.
My delicious toasted parma ham sandwich with accompanying soup
I opted for the Toasted Parma ham and buffalo mozzarella with sun blushed tomatoes and rocket on granary bread, while my wife chose the BBQ Orchard Farm pulled pork with homemade appleslaw and rocket, also on granary bread. Both sandwiches also came with either a 'handful' of what the menu called 'real chips' or a cup of soup. Once we learnt the soup was cauliflower and bacon that was what we both opted for, and neither of us regretted the decision. In fact, both meals were absolutely delicious and the bar and waitress staff were thoroughly warm and pleasant throughout, which clearly enhanced our enjoyment.