You approach from the back, down the bumpy track, over the cattle grid… but the glory of the house is the front and the view. Overlooking estuary and hills, this handsome villa sits above the Italianate fantasy village Portmeirion. Hafod Cae Maen was built in 1919 for the botanist who planted the estate’s subtropical woodlands, and it is within easy reach of the village (restaurants, cafés, a deserted beach). The house’s terraced gardens, part-overrun, are heaven for children to hide in, while adults have long lawns and a barbecue for dining. Inside, all is as luxurious as it is possible to be. Edwardian windows and polished oak floors, wood-burners in fireplaces, local art on white walls. Toys, games and DVDs invite children to settle in, there’s a panelled library with an open fire, a hamper waits on the slate worktop, warm towel rails gleam, and bedrooms – heritage colours, seagrass floors – are enticing. The master room flourishes a balcony for sunsets and champagne, and well-behaved pets will be happy to sleep downstairs. Best of all, you could spend two weeks here and leave the car untouched.