Perfect Evershot and rolling countryside lie at the door of this 400-year-old gem in Thomas Hardy country. Natalie and Richard took the reins to revive its fortunes, with head chef Robert Ndungu cooking hearty food. It’s very much a traditional inn; locals sup pints of Otter Ale in the long flagstoned bar and guests sample good food sourced within 25 miles. In the dining room, the atmosphere changes to rural country house with smartly laid tables, terracotta tiles, soft lighting and elegant fireplaces. Good gastropub fare is taken seriously, be it a homemade burger, or open lasagne of confit rabbit followed by twice cooked pork belly, and a warm sticky toffee pudding. Little ones have their own menu, and stacks of colouring books and crayons to keep them busy while they wait. Service is helpful and friendly. Bedrooms creak with age and style; there are antiques and fabric wall-coverings, super little bathrooms, perhaps a wonky floor or a lovely four-poster. It’s worth splashing out on a larger room if you want space.