An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
10 Lower Street
Tel: 01692 630316
An idyllic riverside pub, oozing with rustic rural charm, with a classy beer garden on the water’s edge to watch the world go by. Pure relaxation guaranteed.
Where to find it
Horning, only three miles from Wroxham, is easy to find but best arrived at by boat. Not because the drive is difficult but because the river is too beautiful to miss. I’d recommend hiring a Broads Tours day boat and climbing aboard the waterways. In approximately 60-90 minutes you’ll find yourself outside The Swan Inn. The river Bure turns a sharp bend with the sailing club on your left. The Swan is along the straight next to a couple of nice little shops and a tea room, as well as The Galley deli and gift shop (click here for a review). There are several places to moor up all along here but it can get very busy in summer. If you decide to drive, there are car parking spaces too. If steering your own boat concerns you but you’d like to experience the water, you can always hop on one of the Southern Comfort double decker paddle boat tours that depart right next door to the pub.
What to expect
A striking black and white timbered structure, The Swan originates from a cottage built in 1696; the main building has been around since the early 19th century. In the tradition of welcoming travellers, it is now part of the Vintage Inns group and offers comfortable and affordable accommodation. I’ve not stayed here myself so cannot vouch for the eight rooms on offer but you’re sure to get a good view at breakfast. Looking out over the river is a beautiful sight.
Whilst the pub is tastefully decorated and full of rustic charm offering roaring log fires in winter, the best part for me is its beer garden. Occupying a large area out the front, it has parasols and wicker furniture right by the water’s edge. A sunny spot, all day long, it’s the perfect place to unwind and chill. Life on the river is busy so there is plenty to sit back and observe plus being near the sailing school you’ll see dingy boats too and the joy of sails flapping in the breeze. It really is an idyllic location.
Food and drink
Thumbs up for a top spot but does the food and service let it down? I’m delighted to say the complete opposite. The staff are attentive and friendly appearing to love the place as much as the customers do. The food is hearty seasonal pub grub but nothing tacky I can assure you. The menu is refreshingly unique with options such as handmade haddock and wholegrain mustard fishcakes hitting the spot. Sandwiches are varied and original. There’s a fixed price menu Monday to Friday until 5pm that offers exceptional value and the kids menu, providing smaller portions of classic main dishes, is reasonable. They do breakfasts at weekends and a Sunday roast, plus Wednesday is pie day and Friday fish day where great value offers on special dishes can be found.
Cask ales are always available from the likes of Adnams and Fullers and there’s a good fine wines list to choose from. I really cannot fault this pub. It has all the ingredients for an enjoyable visit and I’m confident you’ll love the place as much as I do. It’s the Norfolk Broads at its best.
The Swan is open Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 11pm, Sundays 12 noon to 10.30 pm. The fixed price menu is £6.50 for one course, £8.50 for two courses and £10.50 for three courses. Children’s menu is £6.95 for two courses and a fruit shoot drink. Gift cards are available, visit the main website for more information.