Nestled in amongst the idyllic Chilterns scenery in Ley Hill stands The Swan; a delightfully quaint Grade II listed pub which provides an enticing range of traditional food and ale to punters.

As you go inside, you can really feel the charm and history of the place. The pub originates from the 1520s, when it was three cottages.

Lots of the original features were left after a big refurbishment back in 2011. Low wooden beams, an inglenook fireplace and a cast iron stove give it a very traditional and cosy feel, whilst being light and airy.

Owners Nigel and Sam Byatt are celebrating ten years in charge after leaving their office jobs in the city to run The Swan and it seems like this is what they were born to do. They are both incredibly warm and welcoming and treat all their customers like friends.

My boyfriend Stephen and I went along to The Swan on a warm Friday evening and were seated in the snug, a lovely, private little booth – perfectly placed in the corner of the pub, but conveniently near the bar. It can seat around six to eight people comfortably, so it’s a great place to enjoy the company of friends and family in peace.

The pub stocks such a vast range of beer, cider, wine and champagne that it was tough to choose, but I opted for a San Valentino Pinot Grigio (£5 for 175ml).   

On to the food and for starters, I went for the homemade soup of the day (£5.25) which was roasted red pepper and tomato, served with a generous helping of crusty bread and butter. I never usually choose soup at restaurants, but I was quite impressed with this one. The soup was very creamy and tasty and the portion was very generous.

Stephen chose the black pudding with sautéed new potatoes, crispy bacon and a poached egg (£6.95). Everything was fresh, tasty and hot and the egg was poached perfectly.

For mains, there is a wide range of different meals to suit every taste, including fillet of sea bream, sirloin steak and tiger and Atlantic prawn linguini as well as pub classics like ham, egg and chips or beef burger.

I went for the belly of pork, slow cooked and incredibly tender with crackling, fondant potato, seasonal vegetables, apple puree and a red wine jus (£14.75). The huge slab of crackling was crunchy and full of flavour and added texture to the meal.  Black pepper on the pork gave it a welcome kick. The vegetables were just soft enough and the apple puree was a refreshingly sweet accompaniment. I also noticed there was a very generous amount of jus compared to what you usually get, which was nice to see.  

Stephen opted for confit duck leg with dauphinoise potato, bok choi and a plum sauce (£14.50). The duck was juicy and fell off the bone and was complemented by the rich, flavoursome plum sauce. The dauphinoise potato was creamy and seasoned well with garlic; definitely the best I have tasted.

The dessert list, which includes vanilla crème brulee with fresh berries and sticky toffee and date pudding, was too delectable to miss out on so I chose the dark and white chocolate fondant with berries and vanilla ice cream (£6.50).

This dessert is a chocolate lover’s absolute dream. Fondant is very difficult to get right and the sponge was perhaps a little overdone for my liking, but the centre was just as it should be – when I cut into it, warm chocolate came oozing out.  Accompanied by soft vanilla ice cream and tangy compote with berries, the dessert is very well balanced.

Each fondant is cooked to order so there may be a waiting time of up to 15 minutes for it, but it was worth the wait.

Stephen chose strawberry mess with strawberries, ice cream, crushed meringue and fruit compote (£5.75).  It was presented nicely and had lots of fresh fruit and creamy vanilla ice cream.

Overall, The Swan has a lovely charm about it and I couldn’t fault Nigel and Sam and their team for their dedication to the pub and their visitors.  

Every ingredient was good quality, fresh, homemade and sourced locally where possible. The presentation on each plate was very impressive; more reminiscent of a top restaurant instead of a village pub.

And I would definitely recommend you book the snug if you can; the cosy, private space made the delicious meal even more special.

Visit to view the menu or call 01494 783075 to book a table.