IF you run a pub then it’s fair to assume January won’t be your favourite month.

Customers are trying to rein back after festive overindulgence, the weather is either cold or wet or both and it’s dark by 4pm. The invention of Dry January – done with the best of intentions, admittedly – a won’t be helping the balance sheet either.

Swindon Advertiser:

For those out in the villages that surround Swindon with limited footfall, things are probably even more challenging. The Adver reported this month how The Angel in Purton is offering free taxi rides home to punters in a bid to boost trade.

At a loose end on a Saturday night and with Blue Monday looming large, we were in need of a post Christmas pick-me-up and decided to treat ourselves to a bite to eat in Wanborough.

You’re not exactly short of options here. The village boasts an impressive five hostelries. All of them are incorporated in a summer beer run – the borough’s fastest pub crawl – that has been going for more than 60 years.

Swindon Advertiser:

After scanning the various menus online, we plumped for the Brewers Arms. It seemed to tick a lot of boxes for the four of us – my wife and I and our two teenage children.

I’d also read about initiatives planned by landlord Paul Studholme, whose aim is to create ‘a stylish town pub in a country’. When his step-parents were in charge of the Brewers back in the 1970s, the company of monkeys and macaws kept people coming back for more.

Sadly, there were none of those in attendance when we pitched up for a 7pm booking. But the staff offered a cheerful welcome and we were made to feel at home straight away.

Swindon Advertiser:

The former coaching inn, with its open beams, was given a revamp in 2017 and the bar and restaurant has a clean and contemporary feel.

Swayed by a specials board offering a few tempting alternatives, we needed more time to ponder the menu and ordered a round of soft drinks (less to do with Dry January than my frugal nature – plus the fact one of us drove and two are under 16).

There’s a decent range of starters, most around the £6 mark. With credit card bills about to drop through the letterbox in this longest of months we decided to give these a miss and instead ordered sides of cheesy garlic bread and onion rings to go alongside our mains.

The thing that strikes you first about the menu is the pies – 17 to be precise – and this is clearly a USP for the Brewers.

Swindon Advertiser:

Wild boar and pheasant are among the options, as are seven vegetarian varieties including red Thai curry. The most expensive is a reasonable £11.95. My wife went for the steak, stilton and mushroom filling alongside skinny fries. We were told the pastry was just right and the helping of British beef was so generous that when it came to the desserts, she could only squeeze in a cappuccino.

Pizzas are another speciality, with a two-for-one promotion running on Sunday afternoons. My daughter chose classic pepperoni, featuring the Brewers’ own tomato base. She said she could really taste the difference here and was delighted with the amount of mozzarella on top.

Swindon Advertiser:

The Brewers’ ‘classics’ selection is inviting enough but my son and I went for specials instead. He chose chicken and chorizo paella (also available as a starter). Jamie Oliver was once panned by the good people of Valencia for including the Spanish sausage in this rich dish but my son, trying this for the first time, said it made it a winner.

Swindon Advertiser:

I wanted a traditional pub favourite and opted for scampi and chips over cod. The chunky chips were really good and the scampi delicious – it left me full, which is no mean feat.

The youngsters, not watching their waistlines, finished off with a chocolate brownie and chocolate tart.

The bill came to a reasonable £77.30 – we’ve certainly eaten in more expensive places and felt this offered decent value.

Swindon Advertiser:

As we headed off into the night, I couldn’t help but notice the garden bar looked like a lovely place to enjoy a pint and alfresco dining.

Given that ice was forming on the car we’ll probably need to wait a few months to give that a try, but would certainly be up for a return to the Brewers.


The Brewers Arms, High Street, Wanborough SN4 0AE. 01793 790707


Food served: Mon-Fri 12-2.30pm & 5.30-9pm.

Sat 10-5pm (breakfast & waffles), 12-4pm & 6-9pm.

Sun 10-5pm (breakfast & waffles), lunch 12-6pm, pizzas 2-4-1 4-6pm.

Our rating:

Food: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Ambience: 8/10

TripAdvisor rating: 3.5 stars

Parking: Yes

Disabled access: Yes