A bucolic drive through the New Forest (use a proper map) brings you to the water’s edge, the yacht club and Gins Barn, ancient and magnificently beamed. Step inside for chunky oak floors warmed by enormous woollen rugs, a big modern kitchen with all the stuff you need, and smart bedrooms. Best of all you get a massive beamed living space for reading (find plenty of books) and relaxing. Sofas are large and squishy, logs for the wood-burner are on the house, and the whole place oozes good taste and generosity.
The kitchen has a big table for convivial meals, and you can stock up in Bucklers Hard, an historic fully restored 18th-century village on the riverbank. You’ll also find pubs and restaurants there along with an interesting Maritime museum and a ferry to Yarmouth. Head off for watery fun with views over the Beaulieu river in one direction and across the Solent to the Isle of Wight in the other – sit on the jetty for a good mull, perhaps with a book, while yachts drift by through marshes full of birdlife. Don’t forget to bring binoculars if you are interested in birdwatching.
Return to a large lawn for picnics, a potager to walk about in and a terrace round the other side to escape any wind – all with more dreamy views.