A POPULAR country pub near Pershore has new owners and is getting a bright, new look.

Thought to date back around 500 years, the Swan at Birlingham has been bought by the Russon family – well known in the area after running a number of local pubs and restaurants in and around Stratford-on-Avon.

Peter Brunt from Colliers International said the ‘roses around the door’ pub - which sold off an asking price of £439,950 freehold – would hopefully re-open later in July.

He said: “The Swan Inn was rightly renowned and regulars can be assured it will be in very safe hands now the Russons have taken over the reins.

“This is an idyllic country pub with thatched roof and roses around the door in the tourist hotspot of the Wychavon between Worcester and Cheltenham. In terms of archetypal English pub it’s truly got the lot.”

Zoe Haines said the family had big plans for the Swan Inn – but were determined to preserve its traditional country character.

She said: “We are aiming to beautify the building, moving the bar and creating a more contemporary interior, refurbishing the conservatory as well as updating the gardens and restoring the property to what it should be - a traditional black and white thatched inn.”

The Russon family has operated many pubs in the area including the Howard Arms in Illmington, the Ferry Inn in Alveston and the Russons fish restaurant in Stratford, but it is the first time Zoe and husband Will have taken over day to day responsibility.

Zoe said she was excited by the prospect of having the entire family lending a hand.

“At the moment it is very much a drinkers’ pub but we want to add classy food alongside traditional pub favourities. There will also be lots of fish dishes!”

Peter Brunt – who specialises in finding new owners for pubs and hotels in the greater Cotswolds region – said being in close proximity to Worcester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Evesham gave the Swan a rich catchment area as well as thriving visitor trade.