It’s a little like stepping into the pages of a Hardy novel: an untouched corner of rural Dorset; a 400-year-old bailiff’s house; sheep grazing in lush fields. A rich cast of characters pottering about. The Castleman – part country house, part restaurant with rooms – is a true one-off: quirky, intimate, defiantly English (you’ll think you’ve landed in Ambridge). It pays no heed to prevailing fashions, not least because the locals would revolt if it did. Niki and Jez run the place in great style. Touches of grandeur are hard to miss: a panelled hall, art from Chettle House, a magnificent Jacobean ceiling in one of the sitting rooms. Follow your nose and find a cosy bar, fresh flowers everywhere and books galore. The restaurant has garden views, though your eyes are more likely to be fixed on the delicious old-school food, perhaps potted shrimp terrine, haunch of local venison, meringues with chocolate mousse and toasted almonds. Homely bedrooms fit the bill: comfortable, delightfully priced, a couple with claw-foot baths. Magical Dorset will fill your days with splendour. Don’t miss it.