Jacobean Shipton Court has been carefully preserved by the Arathoon family – flats created, outbuildings restored, gardens kept. You stay in Martin and Paul’s Summerhouse – splendid with antiques and china galore. Bedrooms (one ground floor) have well-dressed beds and immaculate shower rooms; step through a ‘Narnia’ door (cleverly reclaimed old linen press) into the huge second double. Martin rustles up a generous breakfast and the view from your table is a treat: a 300-foot pond with ducks darting between the lilies. Blenheim and Oxford are both an easy drive; ask Martin about hiring his refurbished 1968 Classic Morris 1000 Traveller – she has a fascinating history: featured in the 2011 Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy film, and was driven by ex Dr Who, Peter Capaldi, in the TV series Cricklewood Greats. She comes with a picnic table, stools and hamper – perfect for a Cotswolds day out. Return for drinks by the fire in the richly furnished drawing room.