Stow has delicious architecture, antiquarian bookshops, teashops a go-go, and is delightfully small – there’s the centre of town, and then there’s the countryside. The old Bell is a handsome inn recently revived, with a big open-plan interior where two imposing bay windows offer view-filled dining, or spill onto the small green and soak up the sunshine in summer. You can eat where you like, and bring the family and dog – grab a handy doggy towel to wipe off walkies – the place has an easy vibe guaranteed to appeal to families, visitors, and locals. Pop in for crispy pork rillettes and a pint of Young’s Champion, fresh seafood or a full Sunday roast. Stay the night and you’re spoilt for choice with five bedrooms above the pub and a further eight at Stuart House in the high street (quieter, more private, with an honesty bar and cute courtyard at the back). Indulgently comfy beds with padded headboards, drench showers in sparkling bathrooms, coffee machines, iPods and more, even mini decanters of port and local shortbread. Stow is a delight for shoppers and strollers; the staff at the Bell are helpful and exemplary.