I THINK it's fair to say that there is a dearth of traditional pubs in our town centre's today. Sadly, a change in drinking culture and the smoking ban, has primarily contributed to its demise.

Thankfully, the historic Swan Inn, situated in Burnley town centre, still bears all the hallmarks of a traditional British pub.

Originally a farmhouse, it was converted into an inn towards the end of the Eighteenth Century and has been utilised over the years as a makeshift morgue and prison. The original cell entrance door remains. However, none of the town's reprobates are housed behind it.

This Thwaites' owned, wet-led drinking den, is split into three rooms. The main bar area boasts original stone flagged floors, ornate lighting and an open cast iron fireplace. There is also a small, cosy, elevated area.

The two other rooms offer a choice of a more relaxing environments, one offering a pool table. Both rooms having soft upholstered, fixed bench seating and original open fireplaces.

You are guaranteed a warm, friendly welcome from the affable tenant, Craig Smith. Craig has been here 13 years, nine of them as landlord - and he has seen a change in pub culture during his tenure in the town centre.

He lamented: "They are mostly all bars now but, they have no real character. There are very few traditional town centre pubs unfortunately."

There was a good buzz around the bar. The regulars were exchanging lots of friendly banter. One cheery chap, Phil, was interested in my drinking preference. Well, on this occasion it was the Thwaites' Wainwright, a beer that has been tinkered with in recent times. However, it was in great condition and just £2.40 a pint.

Craig said: "It's a lower profit margin beer for me. However, Burnley is a very competitive market. Especially with two Wetherspoon pubs within a short walking distance."

He added: "My best sellers are Thwaites keg bitter at £1.90. And the Kaltenberg lager at £2.10. The permanent cider, Weston's Old Rosie, is also another good seller, at £2.90."

Old Rosie is an excellent refresher and I was tempted to have a half (7.3%) in the afternoon sunshine in the Swan's fine, spacious beer garden at the rear of the pub.

I really enjoyed my visit to this friendly hostelry. Landlord Craig Smith has to be commended for his passion and enthusiasm, in efficiently maintaining traditional pub values in the town.