What did you do for Christmas? What was top of your list?

Well, for me it was a visit to Swanley’s Lullingstone Castle. Do you remember my last report - the sex and violence? Can you imagine my joy at setting off there on Christmas Eve of all days?

It seems the Greene King PR team had been giving my editor an ear bashing and insisting the place has undergone a miraculous transformation, so my boss cheerily contacted me saying: “Would you mind awfully paying another visit to the Lully old chap?”

“Would I!”

So, imagine my surprise when I rocked up in Swanley on my favourite days of the year.

I was desperate to find fault, I really was. I was ready with my ‘told you so’ reply long before I set foot in the place.

But, this PubSpy is an honest, fair, decent fellow and will therefore, report exactly what he found.

News Shopper:

The place has been transformed, both inside and out.

The welcome from the barmaid was second to none and she couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful. Service was attentive, friendly, even a touch on the cheeky side – just the way I like it.

The drinks were perfectly served and the food I ordered was equally good value and superbly presented.

There was even a friendly buzz around the bar and the locals quickly involved me in their conversations.

I’m telling you, the Lully’s transformation is as marked as that moment when Shrek’s missus changes from a princess to an ogress (in fact, the guy at the bar did look a bit like Shrek).

But this is a changed pub.

It has been completely done up – it was a pleasure to use the revamped gents and leave my PubSpy card tucked behind the mirror. The decor everywhere is much, much better.

News Shopper:

I ordered a spicy chicken burger and it was a joy. Hot, perfectly spiced, superb presented with great chips – spot on. And the barmaid even took a moment to check it was good.

I can now see why the good people at Greene King PR were so keen to get an update following their October refurb of the Lully. They say they are now proud of the place and want to shout about it.

While I’m sure that, like all pubs, it still has its moments, fair’s fair, after my last pub visit of 2014 I have to agree with them, it’s changed beyond all recognition, well done.

Lullingstone Castle, High Street, Swanley

Decor: **** (a different world to my last visit)

Drink: *** (all the basics are present)

Price: **** (the prices were always good)

Food: **** (couldn’t fault it)

Atmosphere: **** (knock me down with a feather, it was great)

Staff: ***** (best barmaid I encountered in 2014)