The Swan Inn

UK England South East England Oxfordshire Burford

We love a pub with bags of personality, and the Swan at Swinbrook is a paragon example. In the 1920s and 30s scenic Swinbrook was home to the Mitfords, the madly talented debutante sisters who came to fame as writers and revolutionaries. The youngest, Debo, who became the Duchess of Devonshire, bought the wisteria-clad village pub, filled it with her family photographs and asked Archie and Nicola Orr-Ewing (whose Kings Head at nearby Bledington had won much praise) to manage it. Now, some years after her death, it’s owned by the Chatsworth Estate, leased by the Orr-Ewings and still filled with Mitford memorabilia. Set beside the River Windrush, it emanates charm. The front is a 16th-century tavern with creaking parlour rooms. At the back is a sunny extension giving on to an idyllic garden strolled by bantams. Meals are an unfussy joy – the likes of homemade soup with sourdough bread, and fish cakes with beetroot salad. In a similar way, the accommodation is pleasingly understated. The rooms are in two separate annexes away from the pub bustle; five in a riverside cottage, six in the old stable block. Clad in creams and taupe, all are devised with sophisticated simplicity.

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The Swan Inn, Swinbrook, Near Burford, Oxfordshire OX18 4DY

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