Gilpin is one of the loveliest places to stay in the country, simple as that. It’s a family affair and delivers at every turn, its staff delightful, its Michelin-starred food divine, its interiors a treasure trove of beautiful things. It is one of those rare places that never stands still and recent additions include five stunning spa chalets above a small lake and a second restaurant serving pan-Asian food. Despite all this, it remains an English country-house hotel. A cool elegance flows throughout with smouldering fires, Zoffany wallpapers, gilded mirrors, flowers everywhere. An elegant sitting room runs into a chic bar, where doors open onto a terrace for Pimm’s in the sun; magnolia trees, cherry blossom and a copper beech wait in the 20-acre garden. Bedrooms are divine: crisp linen, smart fabrics, robes in beautiful bathrooms. The garden suites have hot tubs, the spa suites have saunas, too. As for the food, it’s all whisked up by Hrishikesh Desai (who won Chefs On Trial to land his job), perhaps chilli-glazed lobster, spring lamb with masala sauce, Yorkshire rhubarb with Bergamot panna cotta.