Woodstock is the estate village to Blenheim Palace, one of Britain’s finest houses, seat of the Dukes of Marlborough, birthplace of Winston Churchill. As for the hotel, it was once a draper’s, then a butcher’s, so it’s no surprise it became a stylish hotel serving excellent food. In the morning you breakfast leisurely, then stroll up to the big house and spend the day dropping your jaw before coming home for afternoon tea in the courtyard. Inside, elegant, uncluttered interiors keep things simple: beautiful art, smouldering fires, a wall or two of original panelling, flowers everywhere. Ancient windows flood rooms with light, you find colourful rugs on wooden floors, then more gin than you can shake a stick at in the sitting-room bar (over 300 different bottles). Bedrooms have a contemporary feel with smart fabrics, lovely beds, mohair throws, delicate wallpapers. Some have sofas, all come with robes in fancy bathrooms. Back downstairs, delicious food waits in the restaurant, perhaps crab ravioli, loin of venison, treacle tart with blackberry sorbet. Biscester Village and Oxford are close.