Meals at pubs are a part of experiencing England.
When you find you’re hungry and there’s a pub around, you’re usually in for a treat, even if you don’t adore the food.
My first pub food this trip is in a small town you’re likely not to get to but I’m sharing it with you anyway because it’s worth seeing the menu.
And of course, if you get to Thornbury, I recommend The Swan.
My First Pub Food in England This Trip
On my first solo visit to the town of Thornbury, a suburb of Bristol in the south of England, I slowly walked one mile to the High Street, enjoying the walk.
Of course, my time in Thornbury will include many a slow pub meal, so one thing I did on this day was to stop and see any pubs I passed.
Outside of town, closer to “home,” I’d passed a modern pub where I intend to come for ribs.
In town, just past the ALDI supermarket, as I walked toward the High Street, I passed what looked to be a tiny old pub, The Swan.
I had an errand to run (we still need dentists and doctors as we travel) so I continued on after taking this photo of it.
After the dentist’s office, I walked back up toward the top, main part of the High Street.
However, before seeing the High Street, I was interested in checking out that small pub I’d passed before. So I went back to it and turned right, into its alley, seeking the pub.
It turned out that the building I’d thought to be the pub may have been a part of the business but it wasn’t the pub and this pub wasn’t so tiny.
The alley led to a larger building. I’d come through the back.
I was there at an off hour. I think a bingo game had ended. Several retired folks were sitting around enjoying the company of friends.
Coming upon the bar and dining areas, I liked the menu and stopped to order a meal with the helpful, friendly, young bartender.
After ordering and taking a seat, I walked out the main entrance to have a look.
This is the High Street entrance.
According to the menu of the Swan, there were as many of 17 pubs or beer houses in operation at the same time in 1830. However, the one true coaching in was this one in in the High Street. “The Swan was one of Thornbury’s most important pubs for centuries and was probably owned for much of the time by the Lord of the Manor.“
I must say that ordering was not an easy feat. As soon as I was interested in one thing on the menu, another caught my attention. Ordering required some help. After some challenging deliberation, I decided upon the Minted Lamb Shank. (£8.50 / $10.99)
At the recommendation of the barwoman, I took a seat at the empty round table in the bay window of the pub so I could watch life go by on the High Street. I was happy that while other tables were taken, that one was free.
My views as I waited and then dined on my first true British fare in decades. (People were dining out back and in the back bar but the inside area had emptied out as I finished my main course, enabling me to take these photos.)
I used my knife for my first cut of meat of lamb shank and it cut easily. It tasted so nice. After I cut and savored a few small pieces, the meat simply fell the bone.
The plate was quite full and I liked that it contained a surprising amount of vegetables. Peas, carrots, spinach with a clear taste of nice butter, yellow mashed potatoes, turnips and some pickled cabbage.
The mint sauce was brown and rich but not too rich — and it wasn’t even a bit salty. It was great. Next time, I’ll ask for extra!!
(There have been times I’ve been disappointed by the saltiness of pseudo pub food, obviously made from mixes, in other counties. )
The meal was quite filling and took me quite a while to eat. It really would have been enough.
How could I resist that when I have not yet tried the unique English traditional delicacies this millennium?
I quite enjoyed their hot Sticky Toffee Pudding with Custard.
There are other toppings you may choose for your Sticky Toffee Pudding but I’d loved having British Custard on my desserts when I last lived in England and have been looking forward to having it again while here once more.
Here’s some more a pictorial visit.
It was the first part I passed from the back before entering the building.
The Swan’s Menus
Oh! You might be curious as to what’s on the menu here. There are several menus providing lots of options including a 60+ smaller-portion meal (shown below) and a Curry menu for the Wednesday Curry Club option and Light Bites (shown here).
(All photos here can be clicked on to see larger.)
This is the British Pub Food part of the main menu. The left side of the menu lists Starters, Sides, Kids meals, and Burgers.
Contact & More Info about The Swan
17 High Street
Thornbury BS35 2A4
+44 1454 413062
Open: 10 – 23 (that’s 10:00 am to 11:00 pm)
(But I’m not sure the menu online is accurate. The specials seem to be different or I saw more in person.)
By the way, you can also host special events there.
PS: As with many of my pages, all photos here can be clicked on to see larger.