Jacobean Shipton Court has been carefully preserved by the Arathoon family – flats created, outbuildings restored, gardens kept. You stay in Martin and Pauls’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 both an easy drive; drinks by the fire in the richly furnished drawing room on your return.