Teffont Evias, in the Nadder valley, has been owned by the same family, father to son, since 1692. It is picturesque and has great charm without being twee. In the grounds stands Howard’s House, opposite a marvellously knotty topiary hedge, and embellished by a Swiss gabledroof in the early 19th century – its then owner had fallen for all things Swiss on the Grand Tour. It is surrounded by two acres of pretty garden.
Its raison d`être is the food, created by chef Nick Wentworth. Dishes might include seared scallops with sauce vierge and crab mayonnaise, rack of lamb with onion puree and tomato and olive salsa, followed by summer berry jelly and elderflower ice cream. The smallish dining room, recently refurbished, is a soft cream and off-balanced by some deliberately striking artwork, as is the decoration in the cosy sitting room. The bedrooms: pastel-coloured walls, floral fabrics, oak furnishings. The four-poster room is the prettiest; rooms 1 and 2 look out over the garden.
Breakfast here is above reproach: excellent coffee, warm croissants and toast wrapped in a white napkin, and the mouthwatering orange juice. You might choose a boiled egg, or something more sophisticated such as poached egg tartlet with Hollandaise sauce.