A new and luxurious port of call in Staffordshire

The Cheshire Cat’s grin just got that little bit bigger.

So big, in fact, that it now extends well into Staffordshire.

With 14 years of experience in running pubs, bars and inns across Cheshire and Staffordshire behind them, Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin’s latest venture has introduced luxury boutique accommodation to one of the most underrated spots in the heart of England.

Having already overseen a complete transformation of The Fitzherbert Arms over the past eight years, the duo behind Cheshire Cat Pubs and Inns have just unveiled the results of many months of hard work, which has resulted in the creation of the 10-bedroom Fitzherbert Farmhouse – much to the delight of local tourism body, EnjoyStaffordshire.

Unlike other properties in their multi award-winning portfolio, The Fitzherbert Farmhouse in the quiet village of Swynnerton is well-placed to not only offer luxury overnight hospitality to visiting friends and relatives, or a bolthole for onwards travel, but also opens-up all kinds of possibilities for ‘staycations’ in a part of a county blessed with some of the best attractions in England.

Situated a couple of miles from The World of Wedgwood and its V&A Collection; four miles from one of the most visited garden attractions in England and the UK’s only Monkey Forest, at The Trentham Estate; 10 miles from a world capital of ceramics in The Potteries; and within striking distance of Alton Towers, The Peak District and the National Trust’s Shugborough Hall, Biddulph Gardens and Little Moreton Hall, “The Fitz” is more than just an overnight sensation. It’s theperfect base for exploring Staffordshire.

Best of all however, it’s less than a minute’s stroll past two thatched cottages to The Fitzherbert Arms which, in the words of Mary McLaughlin, is “a proper pub” – with all of the traditional trimmings.

Visitors here can settle back in comfort, rub shoulders with the locals, and browse a mouth-watering menu which not only specialises in honest pub grub – pie, burgers, and fish and chips – but also signature dishes which have helped to put this place well and truly on the map of every good pub guide in Britain.

“All ales are selected from those available from within a 35-miles radius,” says Mary. “It’s the same in all seven of our pubs and bars. In common with several of them, we’ve also specialised in one other particular drink from behind the bar. In the case of The Fitzherbert, that’s port”.

And here at The Fitz, that’s created quite a storm. Not least, because Graham’s Port, owners of some of the best vineyards in the Douro Valley, has named them as one of only a small number of establishments in the world to be named as one of their official Port Ambassadors. A genuine case, no less, of: “London, Bruges, Porto and Swynnerton”.

Doffing their cap to this accolade, Tim and Mary have named each room in the farmhouse after the after their extensive port collection: “Bomfim”; “Malvedos”; and “Santinho” to name but a few. The rooms themselves – one of which features a log burning stove – have been created within three clearly defined areas of the property: the Cottage, the Farmhouse and the Port House.

Much of the décor and decorations throughout the property, while combining the ultra-modern with the original fixtures and fittings of this 100-year-old farmhouse, add to its strong ‘sense of place’.  And, it must be one of the very few “tea trays” in the UK to offer a glass of port to all guests who stay here.

Anyone booked-in for more than just one night, meanwhile, will also be directed to another of the Cheshire Cat’s Staffordshire pubs for a change of surroundings but the same warm welcome, at the nearby Mainwaring Arms on the neighbouring Whitmore Estate.

Dog friendly, both the pub and the farmhouse in Swynnerton have all of the tourist signposting that’s required of a rural retreat: custom-made lists of ‘Things To Do’; maps for walks that lead from the front door; and as much information on the local area that anyone could need.

Underpinning it all is the confidence that comes from the reputation Cheshire Cat Pubs and Inns has established within the industry, and from the awards and accolades that adorn every one of their bars and inns. Not least, The Cholmondeley Arms in Cheshire, which recently took home the title of Best Country/Rural Pub before then being named the overall “Great British Pub of the Year 2023”.

Rooms at The Fitzherbert Farmhouse, ranging from Cosy and Comfy through to Roomy, start from £135 per night, bed and breakfast.

For more, visit https://fitzherbertfarmhouse.co.uk

For all tourist information about Staffordshire, see www.enjoystaffordshire.com