This fine old house sits above Bath in 76 acres of woodland and gardens with views that stretch south for miles over unblemished country. It was recently bought by the Elmhurst Foundation (who offer apprenticeships) and plans are afoot to expand into a centre for health and wellbeing, with retreats, talks and meditation. As for Combe Grove, it’s not your average hotel, but a place to wind down; you can have a massage, swim in two pools (one in, one out), join fitness classes from yoga to spin, book a personal trainer or lounge in the sauna and steam rooms, which are shared with country club members. There’s a stylish bar serving fresh juices and homemade cakes, then an outside dining terrace, where you can play boules while waiting for your dinner. Big bedrooms in the main house have padded headboards and beautiful fabrics; garden rooms – most with terraces or balconies – have cool colours and fine walk-in showers. Food is served in the muralled dining room, perhaps roasted courgettes and red quinoa, a 28-day, dry-aged ribeye, lavender meringues with Jersey cream. Bath waits for Christmas fairs and all things Jane Austen.