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The story behind The Swan

How it all beganWhen Paul and Donna met, long before The Swan, Paul had been running other award-winning pubs with his mum in Buckinghamshire and Donna was chef-ing in and around Torquay and Babbacombe in Devon.

They really wanted to go into business together and dreamt of having a country pub with the roses around the door.

Pestered Paul

Donna says: “I really pestered Paul into going for it and coming to the Westcountry to find a pub! To begin with the big debate was who was going to be front of house and who was going to be in the kitchen. I started out doing the front of house job but now our roles have reversed.

“My idea was to run a wonderful country pub with stunning food and a warm welcome.

“We haven’t quite got the roses but everything else is as I’d imagined it really.

Second childhood

“I have two sons and working for other people as a chef was easier in some ways, as I had definite time off and holidays, but I think moving here to Bampton and having our own pub actually gave them a second childhood. It’s such a lovely place and it was a very safe environment for them to grow up in. Everyone knows everyone and everyone looks after everyone else here.


“Also having our own business meant, we were always here. The upstairs and downstairs, as we live in the pub, all sort of merged into one for them. If they needed us they knew where we were. Sometimes, if we couldn’t answer a homework question, a customer could! They know all the locals and when we did have time off together as a family we made sure it was very precious and special. Now they are grown up – so it’s a little bit different. 

The Swan

Perfect balance

“I do think we’ve managed to strike the perfect balance here at The Swan between a traditional pub that suits the regulars and a more contemporary eatery with good décor, service, ambience and food to bring in clientele from further afield.

“We’re big on our food offering here and are dedicated to sourcing all the local or regional produce available to us.

On the doorstep

“Needless to say, we are so lucky living where we do. We have local farmers supplying their beef, pork, lamb and poultry. There’s also fishing communities providing us with the freshest cod for our classic cod and chips too.

“We’ve also got rooms at the pub. People come and stay and use us as a base to explore the area. It’s perfect for popping on to Exmoor or going down to Exeter for a bit of shopping. So, when the restrictions have been lifted we’d love to see you at The Swan!”

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