The Bull & Swan Pub with rooms in Stamford, Lincolnshire

Prices from:
£120 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Perfect hideaway in Georgian Stamford
  • Super cosy bar with log fires
  • Wholesome modern British food
  • Individual rooms with Rajhastan feel
  • Pizza Potting Shed & Outdoor Cinema

PerkInn Places Perk

A Free Room Upgrade if Available

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsOutdoor PursuitsCandlelitVisit a Stately PileNo Car Needed15 Minutes from the Motorway

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Call this inn 01780 429233

Overview

The Bull & Swan Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2LJ

The personal touch

Stamford is England’s consummate Georgian coaching town, and here is its perfect hideaway: the Bull & Swan a low-slung tavern from 1624, complete with honey-stone gables, mullioned windows and picturesque coaching arch. The location could scarcely be better: just a five-minute stroll from the high street and riverside meadows, but with the galloping grounds of Burghley House for a back garden. Inside, owner Christoph Brooke has made things super-cosy, with guttering lamplight, a log fire every four paces and walls dangling with vintage artefacts. No intrusive music here, just the rustle of broadsheets and the contented snore of a dog. And if you fancy making your own crib look this snug, why not walk off lunch by getting lost inside the neighbouring St Martins Antiques Centre, packed to the rafters with curious booty. On warmer days make the most of the secluded kitchen garden and Pizza Potting Shed.

Sticky fingers

‘Little Adults Menu’ served noon-2.30pm and 6pm-8pm, including cheese omelette and skinny fries; buttered linguine with parmesan, mushrooms or bacon; and mini ice cream sundae. Main dessert and a drink costs £7.95. As for sleeping, Room 1 has an extra daybed and five others can accommodate a zed-bed, while Rooms 6 and 7 have interconnecting doors, perfect for families.

Muddy paws

Dogs are de rigueur at the Bull & Swan in Stamford and are welcome in the bar areas, and five of the rooms (classic & chic) for a £20 per night supplement. There’s even a doggie room service menu, featuring steak, chicken and other pooch-pampering morsels.

Alfresco

The sheltered courtyard has been converted into a stunning kitchen garden replete with a new Pizza Potting Shed and an outdoor cinema (Thursday evenings; weather permitting).

What’s the Damage?
Classic room £120; chic rooms £140; luxury £160; Dinner, bed and breakfast starts from £200 per night for two

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 4 Gold Stars and 1 Rosette; Michelin Bib Gourmand

Sleep

The Bull & Swan Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2LJ

Do not disturb

Christoph also owns the William Cecil Hotel, a few doors up St Martins hill, but the rooms at the Bull & Swan in no sense play second fiddle. There are nine altogether, not huge but supremely comfortable, and each as wonky as the next, with rolling floors and bump-your-head beams as standard. All are trimmed in dapper white linens, and the ornate hand-carved beds, sourced personally by Christoph from Rajasthan, add a dash of panache. There is a “classic” single, with shower only, two “classic” doubles, while two others are “chic” doubles, and the four “luxury” doubles are roomier and have either come-hither free-standing bathtubs or luxurious rain forest showers. With the two rooms downstairs themed – one on Newton, with antique science paraphernalia, and one on Marco Verrio, the Italian master who painted the state rooms at Burghley House, the remaining seven are named after a debauched member of the Order of Little Bedlam – ‘Wild Horse’ for the Honourable John Noel; ‘Greyhound’ for the Earl of Gainsborough – and their lordships would no doubt approve of the organic flavoured vodka offered as a treat by every bedside. How decadent can you get?

Creature comforts

As well as that vodka, rooms come with local coffee from Palmer & Palmer, and tea pigs as well as cafetières. Plus Egyptian cotton bed linen and Pharmacopia Citrus smellies everywhere you look. Oh, and if you’re really lucky a mysterious Grey Lady in Room 5, hovering at the end of the bed.

Gadgets

Flatscreen TVs and Sony docking stations in all rooms.

What’s for breakfast?

A full-tilt “Burghley breakfast” or lighter options including eggs Royale, eggs Benedict and smoked salmon with scrambled. There is a heaving buffet table on the side.

What’s the Damage?
Classic room £120; chic rooms £140; luxury £160; Dinner, bed and breakfast starts from £200 per night for two

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 4 Gold Stars and 1 Rosette; Michelin Bib Gourmand

Eat & Drink

The Bull & Swan Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2LJ

Mastering the menu

Eat informally amid the hubbub of the bar, where sauces and cutlery come in trugs on the table, and where you can expect to find every home comfort on head chef Phil Kent’s all-encompassing menu, including bar bites (devils on horseback; ox cheek nachos), Lincoln red burger with avocado, bacon and triple-cooked chips, and lunchtime sandwiches (roast beef and horseradish). There’s starters of crab cakes with shredded fennel and capers or chicken liver parfait with rhubarb and toasted rye bread, classic main dishes like fisherman’s pie, haddock and chips, and pork chop with creamed black pudding mash, curly kale, spring onion and sesame sauce, and interesting salads are a feature too: feta, pine nut, heritage tomato and basil. Tuck into great pizzas from the new Pizza Potting Shed in the kitchen garden on Thursday and Friday evening and all-day Saturday, surrounded by raised beds of herbs and vegetables. The pared-down weekday lunchtime deal is a steal at £9.50pp with a main course and tea or coffee.

On the menu

(Starters: £6.50-£9; Main courses: £12.50-£21; Desserts: £7)

Potted ham hock, gooseberry jam, charred sourdough
Garden pea, mint & broad bean risotto
Sirloin steak, confit tomatoes, triple-cooked chips, peppercorn sauce
Treacle tart, salted caramel ice cream

Sunday roasts

(£15.50; roasting pot for 4 or 6 people £55 & £80)

Middlewhite pork; Lavington lamb; Lincoln Red beef with all the trimmings.

Foodie extras

The team take part in the Burghley Fine Food market (August Bank Holiday), hosting a scotch egg stall where they have 5 flavours of their famous runny Scotch eggs for sale. Freshly made pizzas are served from the Pizza Potting Shed on Thursday and Friday evening and all day on Saturday.

Time to eat

Breakfast: 7am – 9.30am (Saturday & Sunday 8am – 10am)

Lunch: 12 noon – 3pm

Dinner 5.30pm – 9.30pm

Food all day Saturday (12 noon – 10pm) & Sunday (12 noon – 9pm)

Local, local, local

Bread – Hambleton Bakery, Exton (www.hambletonbakery.co.uk)
Cheese – Stamford Cheese Cellar (www.stamfordcheese.com)
Steaks – Nelson’s Butcher, Stamford (www.nelsonsbutchers.co.uk)
Pork and sausages – Grasmere Farm, Deeping St James (www.grasmere-farm.co.uk)

Behind the bar

The ale offer is exceptional here: there’s always toothsome Adnams Southwold plus three local guests: it might be Jeffrey Hudson Bitter, named after a notable local dwarf; or Astral, brewed up the road in Bourne. Oakham-made Grainstore cider is tapped straight from the barrel downstairs, while the gins are a particular favourite of owner Christoph – especially Pinkster. A new streamlined roster of reds and whites, put together by Liberty Wines, is going down very well indeed: nine are offered by the glass.

Bar snacks

These are as classy as the rest of the place: Bull & Swan famous runny Scotch egg with English mustard; home-made organic Godminster cheddar and chive sausage roll; Nelson’s the Butcher pigs in blankets with cranberry jelly.

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm (Friday & Saturday 11am – 12 midnight; Sunday 12 noon – 10.30pm).

What’s the Damage?
Classic room £120; chic rooms £140; luxury £160; Dinner, bed and breakfast starts from £200 per night for two

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking

Gongs
AA 4 Gold Stars and 1 Rosette; Michelin Bib Gourmand

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Bull & Swan

2

Nelsons Butchers, Red Lion Square, Stamford PE9 2AJ

Nelsons High Class Butchers have been baking in a purpose-built pie factory in Stamford since 1959, and it's the home of authentic Melton Mowbray pork pies, as well as Lincolnshire sausages. Their pork pie recipes use meat sourced direct from nearby farms or through the local market and their sausage rolls are filled with Lincolnshire sausage meat. The range has now expanded to include their own cooked hams, roast meats and local delicacy haslet.

3

The Wheatsheaf, Greetham LE15 7NP

Grade II-listed stone-built village inn run by chef Carol Craddock, who used to work with legendary chef Simon Hopkinson at London's influential Bibendum. Not surprisingly, the philosophy is all about seasonality and the very best local produce.

5

Lord Nelson, 11 Market Place, Oakham LE15 6DT

Dating back to the 1500s and in the heart of Oakham, this lovely old inn is one of the Knead Pubs group and specialises in local ales, stone-baked pizzas and beef and lamb from the owner’s nearby farm.

7

Berkeley Arms, Wymondham LE14 2AG

Seven miles from Oakham, this award-winning pub is well positioned for walkers exploring the nearby Wymondham Heritage Trail. As well as sandwiches and light meals served in the bar, the restaurant serves a full a la carte menu.

8

Northfield Farm Shop, Cold Overton, Oakham LE15 7QF

The shop at Jan McCourt's award-winning farm stocks a diverse range, from their award-winning meat, to honey, jams and sloe gin and damson whisky, which is made on the farm. Other alcoholic treats include Bitter, Mild & IPA from The Grainstore Brewery in Oakham, while a variety of cow, goat and sheep's cheeses can be found here, along with pork pies, pickles and preserves.

9

Stamford Cheese Cellar, 17 St Mary Street PE9 2DG

Founded in 2010, the Cellar is a treasure trove for lovers of Artisan cheeses. The owners, Karen and George Brammer, are committed to the use of local produce and also offer an excellent variety of gift items, including cheese boards and hampers.

10

All Saints' Brewery, 22 All Saints' Street, Stamford PE9 2PA

All Saints is a steam-powered brewery that was established in 1825; it was restored in the late 1990s. The site is open for guided tours and tastings by prior arrangement and inside you’ll find a brewery shop, restaurant and coffee lounge.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Bull & Swan

Activities

2

Burghley Park Golf Club, Stamford PE9 3JX

Established in 1890, Burghley Park Golf Club at Stamford is situated in attractive parkland surrounding Burghley House; the park itself landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century. Visitors to the club can play on weekdays or after 2.30pm at weekends and on Bank Holidays.

3

The Nene Valley Railway, Stibbington PE8 6LR

In operation as a visitor attraction since 1977, this railway was originally a vital cross-country route linking East Anglia to the Midlands. The line closed to passengers in 1966 but today offers enthusiasts the complete steam train experience.

4

Burghley Horse Trials, Stamford PE9 2LH

Burghley has been staging this famous three-day event on its estate every autumn for more than 50 years - no other international horse trial has hosted as many championships. The prize money for first place is £50,000.

Shopping

11

St Martins Antiques Centre, High Street, Stamford PE9 2LF

Here, you'll find the largest collection of antiques in Stamford. Founded in 1993, the centre leases space to many knowledgeable exhibitors and the experts are always on hand to discuss your requirements and assist you in your search for antiques.

13

Bubble and Squeak, High Street, Stamford PE9 2BB

At this shop, next to the Corn Exchange Theatre in historic Stamford, you'll discover children's clothes from babies to eleven years. There are also toys, puzzles and games and a whole host of other items.

14

St Mary's Books, 9 St Mary's Hill, Stamford PE9 2DP

Browse among the thousands of books at Stamford’s premier bookshop. Here, among the crowded shelves, you’ll find many rare and unusual books on a host of subjects, as well as a few familiar old favourites. A real treat for book lovers.

Places to visit

6

Belvoir Castle, Grantham, NG32 1PE

Pronounced 'Beaver', the castle occupies a romantic hilltop setting. It has been the home of the Manners family for 500 years and seat of the Dukes of Rutland for more than three centuries. The castle's splendid staterooms are open to the public and include many fine works of art.

7

Rutland Water, Oakham LE15 8BT

One of the most scenic features of this corner of the country, Rutland Water is home to an internationally famous nature reserve, one of the most important wildfowl sanctuaries in Britain, regularly accommodating over 20,000 waterfowl.

8

Easton Walled Gardens, Easton NG33 5AP

Lincolnshire's nationally acclaimed 'lost gardens' are a must for all serious horticulturalists as well as those who simply like to visit grand gardens to admire all the hard work done by other people. Here, 400 years of gardening have produced stunning results - carpets of snowdrops in February, for example - and a tranquil atmosphere.

9

Burghley House, StamfordPE9 3JY

Within walking distance of the Bull & Swan, Burghley is often described as the finest Elizabethan house in the country. The grounds are open all year round, the house during the spring and summer months. Be sure to visit the Garden of Surprises, opened in 2007 - a popular feature of the visit to Burghley House.

10

Stamford Museum, Broad Street PE9 1PJ

With displays, galleries and exhibitions, Stamford's museum explains the fascinating history and archaeology of the town from its origins to the present day. Its archives are available to view for students and researchers and the museum also organises a series of annual public lectures.

Walking

www.walkinginlincs.co.uk
There are numerous walks of varying lengths near Stamford and close by is Rutland Water, with its breathtaking wildlife, lakeside paths and pretty views. The Lincolnshire Wolds have plenty of gently undulating routes and to the south of Stamford is sprawling Rockingham Forest, with its visitor centre, café and network of woodland trails.

Cycling

www.cycle-route.com
Lincolnshire’s essentially flat terrain and pleasant farming landscape make it cycle friendly and around Stamford you’ll find plenty of enjoyable routes. From the Bull & Swan you can explore local villages, but for something more ambitious, plan a trip to Market Deeping or even the historic city of Lincoln, renowned for its magnificent ancient cathedral.

Events

www.stamfordartscentre.com
www.stamford-corn-exchange.co.uk
At Bourne, a few miles north of Stamford, is a purpose-built auditorium in the grounds of Tolethorpe Hall, providing the setting for the annual summer season of outdoor Shakespeare. Prior to performances, theatregoers can dine in the Hall or picnic on the lawns; collect tickets for the Stamford Shakespeare Festival from Stamford Arts Centre. The Corn Exchange Theatre in Stamford is also a popular arts venue for Live music, drama and comedy.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Exit the A1 on the southern edge of Stamford, signed for Burghley House. Follow London Road for a mile towards the town centre; the Bull & Swan is on your right.

By Train: From Stamford Railway Station, follow Gresley Drive and Station Road towards town; turn right at the George Hotel and the inn is a few minutes’ walk up the hill, on your left.

Address:

St Martins,, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2LJ

Rooms rates & booking
Reviews

Reviews

Featured in 50 best pubs for summer 2014, Sunday Times 2015

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