“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea,”...
Image courtesy of www.theswanbroadway.co.uk
Broadway is one of those Cotswolds towns where you can meander down the main street, nip in and out of gift shops, stop off for afternoon tea, browse amongst antiques, and of course, relax with a pint in one of the numerous pubs. But the pubs in Broadway serve not just a local ale or two, they also dish up a rich and intriguing history of the town, with tales of past wars, visiting kings, and hidey holes for banished priests. So while we touch briefly on the past history of these pubs, we’ll also be looking at the present, as in what kind of food these pubs offer and the types of beer and ales that are on show.
Here are our recommendations on pubs to visit in and around Broadway:
It is fitting to start off with the Lygon Arms, (pronounced Liggon), as this is one of the oldest inns in England, dating back to the 15th century. The first recorded date of The Lygon Arms is noted in the Broadway Parish Register in 1532. The Lygon Arms has seen a host of important visitors such as King Charles I, who stayed during the Civil War, and Oliver Cromwell who actually slept at the inn.
Today the Lygon Arms remains an imposing and integral part of Broadway’s main street, with mullioned windows and golden walls covered in lilac wisteria in the summer. Once inside you literally step back in time a few hundred years as you pass by the wooden panelled walls, the beamed ceilings, onto the luxurious plush sofas, to sit beside a roaring log fire in the winter as you escape in a cosy cubbyhole.
The Lygon Arms is actually a hotel, and as such has extra features such as a health spa, an indoor swimming pool that has Roman Bath theme, but they also serve fresh and local food at the bar at the front. Expect hearty food and local ales with a good selection of wines.
From the outside The Swan looks like your typical Cotswolds pub, the ubiquitous stones making up the building, complete with hanging baskets and pub garden. Step inside however, and there is a much more contemporary feel, with Scandinavian bleached wooden panelling at the bar, large flagstones on the floor, and fat leather settees in the corners.
Described by the locals as a gastro pub, this inn serves unpretentious food, which changes with the seasons, and also regular ales. Expect anything from a light lunch, including tapas and sandwiches to full on British favourites, such as fish and seafood to pies and steaks.
The Swan is also a vibrant pub that adds to the thriving community at Broadway, not only by providing live music, but people can also sit on the pub terrace and watch the festivals that take part on the village green.
The Horse and Hound is a real favourite amongst the locals in Broadway. Built in the 17th century, this is the kind of traditional pub you go to on a Saturday with the kids if you are a Broadway resident, or feel welcomed if you’re a visitor. Real ale lovers flock here as the pub stocks a wide range of local cask ales, lagers, ciders, wines and spirits. In fact, the pub has recently been featured in the Perfect Pint website.
The Horse & Hound has a bar within the pub where you can chill out and order pub meals, or there is a restaurant complete with obligatory cosy roaring fires. Food is no nonsense British grub at the bar, with more elegant cuisine on offer in the restaurant.
Finally, we have another 17th century inn here, situated just at the back of the village green, and next to the village church, the ever-popular Crown & Trumpet. The front fa├ºade has been constructed with Cotswolds stone, but the rest of the pub has been built with red brick; quite unusual for buildings in this area.
As for food, if you are hankering for a Great British roast dinner on a Sunday then head over to this pub, where they cook a fabulous roast, made with locally sourced Cotswold Beef, which is even served with Tewkesbury Mustard. As for real ale drinkers, CAMRA regularly recommend The Crown & Trumpet, who also appear to be a bit of a dab hand at brewing themselves, Each season they come up with a new beer, for instance, this autumn it is 'Wizard Brew', and for the winter they are brewing 'Lords –a– Leaping'.
Music lovers should head over to The Crown & Trumpet on a Monday as they hold Jazz and Blues evenings every month as well as a music event on a Saturday night.