I wanted to bring you tales of Susan Tully and One Direction cover bands today (ten points for guessing where they’re from) , but circumstances dictate that I confess to a first-order cock-up.  I know how much our US readers enjoy my misfortunes, following “locked in Victoria Park-Gate” and “Gatecrashing a Wedding-Gate“.

I booked a night in lovely Middlewich on the way north, in order to tick an irritating GBG loner (Big Lock) staring at me in in south Cheshire.  And, of course, Middlewich is the party capital of the salt towns.

After a pleasant afternoon in the Whitchurch sun, I was only 20 minutes away when my I-phone (tucked away in the boot) started saying something about u-turns.  Parked up a little too close to Little Budworth for comfort, I worked out I seemed to have booked a night in Ellesmere by accident.

I have no idea how. It’s 35 miles away, in a different county; you have to pass through Wales to get there. It could have been worse, it could have been Maidenhead, I suppose. It did mean that the Ordnance Survey maps I’d dutifully packed were useless, of course.

Anyway, I owe Ellesmere a little re-evaluation after my lukewarm review last August..  The Red Lion is £30* B&B, is clean and well-equipped, and has the bonus of church bells pealing.  If the breakfast is terrible you’ll know about it tomorrow.

The Mere was at its best tonight, I met some interesting ducks, and the Co-Op had some Welsh cakes so I feel I’ve been aboard.  It’s the East Dereham of the West.

But it’s the Swan you want to hear about.  Back in August, the bunting left over from England’s triumphant Euro ’16 campaign (we beat the semi-finalists) gave the impression of a rough joint.  Stuff the GBG pub, how could you resist this;

It’s very Greenall, and very Scouse.  Quite why a Liverpudlian would choose to leave Birkdale or Wallasey for Ellesmere I cannot guess.

Anyway, they were transfixed by Corrie, which I’ve still never seen.

I like that folk come here en-masse to watch Corrie after tea.  I liked the plush red bench seating as well.  I’m not sure I’d have liked the inevitable “Tom Jones” tribute act that I presume was due in later.

Really, I ought to have had the Cloudwater DIPA, but you don’t come in a pub like this and not have Tetley.  It was OK, perhaps NBSS 2.75, and that was good enough.

The greeting and farewell was genuine, though as I left the curtain was drawn.  I think they were going to eat the Easter eggs arrayed round the bar, which of course is an offence in the Marches.

Some of the pubs in Ellesmere seem to open incredibly early in the morning, but I shan’t be reporting on them.  If you do know of an Ellesmere classic that isn’t listed on WhatPub, please keep it to yourself.

*Though I had to park in the public car park, which is costing me 10p (ten pence) for two hours tomorrow.


  1. Perhaps the Liverpudlian in question thought they were headed for Ellesmere Port (a very different kettle of fish!)

    I’ll be interested on your views on The Big Lock – we were there last summer.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Are you sure about the Big Lock? The King’s Lock is new in the GBG this year, but it’s at the other end of town to the Big Lock (and the King’s Arms…) Great food, but it’s the kind of pub that’s tiny with a big beer garden so you want to be there when it’s nice enough to sit out.


  2. The Swan looks classic. Was anyone using the computer that is on the stand? Kind of funny how permanent that set up looks. How was the breakfast?


      1. That is the second time on your blog that I remember Bass not being on at the Unicorn. Hard to believe that it is not a continuous offering. Dave and I were lucky to catch it while it was available. Do not blame you for leaving. Very disappointing.


      2. My best Manchester memory is the back room at the Circus Tavern. Very chatty pub. Fun people.


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