A magnificent stone and slate building that started life as a five-storey medieval tower, this National Trust property balances abundant period features (grand fireplaces, wood panelling, brooding oil paintings) with sensible modern touches – including a spa and tennis courts in its 200 acres of grounds. Food-wise, take your pick from the informal Bistro 1620 or the more traditional restaurant (chandeliers, mullioned windows et al), where the cooking is intelligent, inventive and driven by flavour. Seared scallops on chorizo and cucumber salsa with smoked paprika and cucumber foam is a case in point; so too is a balanced main course of tender poached Welsh beef fillet with cured tongue, baby carrots, salsify and gravy-rich cheek pie. Desserts pull a similar trick – witness a pretty plate of poached rhubarb with sorbet-filled rhubarb cannelloni, saffron soup and vanilla crunch. The wine list offers plenty from France and further afield.