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Ye Olde Swan, Woughton

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user reviews of Ye Olde Swan, Woughton

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

A large and attractive pub in a pleasant location a few minutes walk from the canal, this seems a popular spot and was almost full on a recent mid-week evening visit, albeit predominantly with diners. First impressions were not that encouraging with a sign in the car park proclaiming that they were "proud to serve Costa coffee" and Christmas menu leaflets just inside the door. In July.

The pub is split in to several different areas, and many of these are clearly aimed more at eating than drinking. It's had a contemporary makeover at some point which may have removed some of it's original charm, but it's not at all unpleasant. The main bar area has an attractive farmhouse tiled floor, and there is cream wood panelling on much of the walls. To the left is a small snug with green wood panelling on the lower part of the walls, maroon paintwork up above, several old black and white photo's on the walls and some comfy looking leather armchairs. The pub then extends on in to numerous different areas with either dark laminate on the floors or carpet. Many of these are quite cosy with low beamed ceiling, suitably sagging in places, and some of the lower beams having had padding applied. Obviously the Health & Safety police felt that the "Mind your head" signs were insufficient. Candles adorned many of the tables, and many of the rooms offered views out to the gardens. A free standing, dual aspect brick chimney breast separated two of the rooms and was an attractive feature, although whether it's still used I'm not sure.

Outside there is a beer garden with picnic benches as well as a patio with modern wicker chairs and high tables and this looked to be a pleasant spot. The food menu s extensive and split in to different sections such as Salads &Vegetarian, Meat/Poultry, Fish, Pies, Burgers and Grills. Prices were slightly above the budget end of the scale, with main courses starting at around 9 and going up to 15 or so. I had the Oven baked salmon wrapped in pancetta with a cheesy mash, green beans and a white wine and pesto sauce, which was a decent enough and attractively presented dish, although the pancetta was noticeable only by it's absence. At 13.29 it wasn't the cheapest option, but I was quite happy with it.

Beers on tap were Greene King IPA, Marston's Single Hop Styrian and one which the barman described as Young's Gold, although I didn't see a pump clip for that and can't see it listed on the Young's website. Ciders were Aspall's Suffolk and Weston's Traditional Scrumpy which makes a very pleasant change when the rest of Milton Keynes is drowning in a sea of Strongbow. This is a tricky one to mark - it's a pleasant pub, staff were friendly and there was good food. On the downside, the choice of beer wasn't great and it's not really that "pubby" although having said that they do hold Tuesday's quiz nights, which is not perhaps what you might expect. Overall I'd say give it a go if you're passing, but it's probably not worth making a special effort to get there - unless of course you're in Milton Keynes itself and want to avoid all the dross that is there.
Blackthorn - 1 Aug 2012 08:08
Ate in here over the Christmas period. A good looking pub which is more of a restaurant, definately not a locals pub.

Food is pretty good but as another reviewer says below it a a "Chef and Brewer" pub so has a uniform menu. Slightly more expensive than you'd expect from a standard chain.

Four well kept ales were on offer but nothing exciting (no micros). Large garden, ideal for those long summer afternoon / evenings.

Large car park and number 18 bus stops outside.
rwjc22 - 4 Jan 2012 04:03
A lovely garden, what a shame the food was so disappointing. I work very close by to this pub, so as it was a sunny Friday, I decided to go for lunch. Having decided on a Brie and Bacon sandwich with chips (6.50), I sat and waited for 25 minutes for my food to arrive. When it did, I was rather disgusted to see that the chips were in fact oven chips: you know, the kind with no taste and the texture of cotton wool inside. This was rather surprising for a place that advertise itself as a 'Gastro pub'. (A portion of Oven Chips would have cost you 3.50 BTW.) I also had to work rather hard to find the Bacon in my sandwich.

AVOID AVOID AVOID!
AJN - 21 May 2010 14:24
Have had two meals at Ye Olde Swan and both were superb. Children welcome. Excellent Service. As good as the Birch at Woburn but more reasonable prices.
ladyfromDerbyshire - 16 Jun 2007 17:06
Looks promising, but the Chef & Brewer sign outside gives a clue to the disappointing fare on offer inside. The menu is way to big. Quality, not quantity should be the theme here. Prices are on the high side for the standard of food. Beer was pretty good and staff tried hard to please. Little chance of a return trip however.

Interestingly, the pub stands on the border of the good part of Woughton on the Green and the not so good part. Go there and you'll see what I mean.
the.authority - 13 Jul 2006 08:54
Either this place has changed in the 2 years since most of these reviews or it was because we had spent all day in Bletchley Park and got there 5.30pm last Sunday.
Food was good although several of our first choices were unavailable (roasts, salmon, duck breast) and did not take too long to arrive. Service at the bar had the big company feel as did the style of the menus but which didn't seem to be advertised. Ales included Deuchers IPA which according to my mate is a regular here
lout_from_the_lane - 6 Jun 2006 14:29
Went there last night and had a much better experience than those below. Nice place, quick service, good food, choice of real ales.
Vindaloo - 25 Oct 2005 16:40
The beer and service have been ok if unremarkable. I've not eaten there. There's an lovely large garden for the summer, but indoors it's pretty smoky.

There's something wrong with the place, though. It should and could be an absolute cracker, especially given the abysmal quality of most MK pubs, but the atmosphere is, in my view, lacking in the personal touch and the menu is pretty big and thus pretty ordinary. If they cut down on the size of the thing, and produced a few really good dishes, I think it would do better.

I go there for a pint outdoors. It's fine for that.
Allan - 25 Aug 2004 12:07
Have visited twice & been thoroughly dissapointed on both occasions, service very poor & food expensive, we waited for 1.5 hours for meal & 45 minutes to be able to pay for it afterwards, when we asked a waitress if she would get us some fresh drinks whilst waiting for food she abruptly said NO & walked off! will not go there again.
Sarah - 18 May 2004 13:43
Two of us had our meal and drinks, and then were given a bill for 50.
When we queried it we were told that the tab had been wiped, so it couldn't be checked, and that we had had quite a lot to drink.
After checking, the bill was reduced to 40
crad - 9 Apr 2004 23:15
Remarkably imaginative and interesting food menu, quite reasonably priced. Pleasant garden for summer days.

Beer no longer such a wide selection as mentioned, no more than 4 real ales; but those are generally well kept. A good (if slightly unimaginative) selection of wines is also available.

Service is indeed variable; it can take a very long time to get served at the bar, but in my experience that's from understaffing, not disinterest. Management has changed recently and service speed seems to have improved.
Colin Zealley - 16 Oct 2003 21:46
Its a nice pub in a decent setting but unfortunately I've discovered on a couple of visits the service is poor and the staff snooty. Otherwise it would be a good pub. Watch your head if you are tall!
Keith - 24 Jul 2003 11:03

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