In a timeless pub like this - standing small and stout and proud at over 200-years-old - the menus alter, the draught changes, and the ivy on the walls grow and whithers.

It’s the people who keep this pub going, and have been for many years.

Under new management since January this year, the Glan Yr Afon Inn, near Dolphin, Holywell, is still as ever the nicest place to let your hair down, chat with familiar faces, and tuck in to a wholesome bite to eat.

The specials board - carved onto the age old slate, greeting you as soon as you open the door - boasted a garlic chicken and it’s safe to say I’m glad of my option.

My friend opted for the same, and the other for the lasagne, and the food arrived at the perfect time, along with faultless hospitality.

I had requested extra salad as opposed to fries and this came with no disappointment. What an element I was in with my lightly baked chicken and a crisp salad with tasty dressing.

The chicken, succulent and soft, and I must say, the garlic sauce which came in a little pot was absolutely divine. I’ll be asking the chef for that recipe soon in a bid to replicate the jar of divinity at my own dinner parties.

My friend’s lasagne was also a point of envy as it arrived sizzling and hot, with extra garlic bread, and for once, I wished I ate red meat.

No doubt the Italian dish satiated an empty tummy, and next time, I think I’ll branch out for the piping hot layers of cheese and meat, of which plenty a portion was served.

The new menu looked promising, with a wide array of breakfast, lunch, dinner and smaller snacks available, and I’ve even heard the Glan Yr Afon serve the classic “chip butty” on match days too.

It seems the “local” vibe has been encapsulated as the pub is seen to
be overflowing with Holywell and Brynford residents during football and rugby matches, who enjoy the guest ales and roaring fire.

The entire ambiance of our evening was just what was needed - a classically filling tea to end a hard day’s work and mull over life with a glass of merlot.

As ever, the coal fire was alight and welcoming as always, but the focal point of pride ought to be the staff.

My thanks goes to the lovely waiter who stayed to chat after our food, and it really is true that a smile - and conversation - goes a long way.

It’s difficult not to love the Glan Yr Afon Inn, which epitomises the words quaint and cosy, no matter which day of the year.

For me, it’s a must-visit, and offers diners or punters a chance to wander the beautiful area overlooking the River Dee - and of course, chat to the lovely staff who always offer a smile and pleasant conversation.

My sincerest best wishes to the new management.

How it rated:

Glan Yr Afon Inn, Dolphin, Holywell. Tel: 01352 710052

Ambience – 10/10

Service – 10/10

Food quality – 10/10

Children welcome – yes

Disabled access – yes