The Swan Inn, Denham Village – The Professionals’ Choice: Brian Widsom

This week Brian Wisdom, Chief Executive, People 1st explains his high regard for a local hospitality experience…

About Brian

Brian has been Chief Executive of People 1st since November 2004. He is responsible for promoting the company’s work at the heart of the skills agenda in the UK. This includes representing the sector and its needs to Government, its agencies and learning providers.

The Swan Inn, Denham Village

I admire, for different reasons, Nandos, who combine volume and quality; Four Seasons Hotels for the sheer quality and consistency of their international service; and the Waterside Inn at Bray and Le Manoir au Quat Saisons, both for their individual excellence. And, yes, McDonalds too for dedication to training.

So how to pick a favourite? It needs to be able to bridge the divide between work and play.

From my career in working with retail brands I admire owners who can reproduce success in multiple locations without the repetition becoming oppressive.

At People 1st we conduct some of the most intensive research on the challenges the industry faces with changing demographics and look for strategic growth trends and businesses who have challenged themselves to deliver more skilful operations than their peers.

I like an underdog, and one industry that has been shrinking faster than any other in our sector, and yet when the proposition is delivered well it provides unrivalled hospitality, is the village pub.


So my favourite is the Swan Inn at Denham village. This is a proper sensible grown up pub which has focused on good food, without losing the locals who want to have a pint or two of decent beer. I use it to entertain clients and friends alike. I feel as comfortable popping in for a glass of wine as dining with a customer, and the service and food never fails.

David and Becky Salisbury also run a number of other establishments and although I haven’t visited them all I can attest that from less regular visits to the Alford Arms in Frithsden that they have replicated this formula, and have discovered an affluent and growing demographic market of 40-plus aficionados who appreciate a good, authentic down-to-earth environment, good quality cooking and conversation without the ubiquitous presence of music or machines.

The Swan Inn in Denham Village was Les Routiers Gastro Pub of the Year 2011


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