Swan, Little Totham
The Swan - hidden away in rural Essex - has been showered with a raft of awards and accolades. Not content with being CAMRA National Pub of the Year in 2002 and 2005, it was also awarded CAMRA Essex Pub Of The Year 2007 and NFU countryside magazine rural pub of the year (to name but a few). As you might then expect, there's real ale and cider aplenty, with at least eight to choose from, while regular beer festivals promise many more. Add a lovely, wooden beamed, Grade II listed property and this is the kind of idyllic retreat to spend a relaxed afternoon. On our first ever visit we could only give a surprisingly poor rating due to some unfortunate clientele and badly kept beer. This time, there were no such problems. The Oscar Wilde mild was superbly kept and the regulars were a friendly bunch, giving the place a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere. It goes to show that country pubs don't have to kit themselves out in jarringly contemporary furniture and serve overpriced food to attract the punters. Certainly a well deserved four pint rating, we'll give the food a try on our next visit and see if it can't be upped to a five.
School Road, Little Totham, Little Totham, Essex, CM9 8LB
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