The moment you step through the old stable door it extends a welcoming arm and says “come on in!”. Gently tucked into the South Downs Park, these flint and brick buildings are wrapped around a courtyard: the owners in the main house and the guests in the single-storey cottage. Mel, friendly but discreet, leaves a homemade cake on arrival, and a bottle of wine to start the holiday off with a swing. All is immaculate and there’s masses of charm, from the long, light living room with Provencal colours to the fabulous kitchen hand-crafted by Paul. Space to stretch too, in an acre of gardens you are positively encouraged to use. Kick a ball around the lawns, try your hand at tennis or skittles, head for the swing seat with a book. There’s a gorgeous extra bedroom with a sitting room across the yard – offering privacy for grandparents – and a B&B bedroom in the house. Jane Austen’s home is at Chawton, Portsmouth is steeped in history, and if you’re madly sporty and love to climb hills, there are biking trails at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.