The house does look grand but you’ll simply feel like you’ve gone to stay with friends for the weekend. Alastair is blessed with huge generosity of spirit and gives you proper afternoon tea with scones and cakes and offers of lifts hither and thither – he and Mary just want you to have a happy time.Breakfast is round the huge kitchen table and, if you’re hiking that day, will set you up. You get freshly laid eggs from their own hens when they’re behaving. The setting is gorgeous: the garden with its sweeping lawns is surrounded by a 50-acre oak wood (a swathe of daffodils in spring) within the 700-acre estate. You can walk straight onto the South Downs Way.Just down the road, you’ll find the award-winning Flower Pots Inn and their microbrewery (if you don’t want to walk back the local ex-postman runs a taxi service), the attractive village of Alresford (four miles) has plenty of bijou shops, restaurants and another good pub, The Bell. Back at the house there may be a wee dram waiting for you in the guest sitting room and a short walk upstairs to a very comfortable bed.