Shooting and fishing breaks can be arranged; Newbury Races are a short gallop away. Originally small and thatched, the Crab & Boar has been extended over the years, and stands alone in a rural spot alongside the fast road to Newbury (pick up a cab at the station!). Inside: a recent refurbishment has injected a relaxed feel and although the inn is large it still feels cosy. Contemporary but classy is their style: club chairs by the wood-burner, feature wallpapers, warm earthy colours, chocolate banquette seating. For wine by the glass or a pint of the best from local microbreweries there’s a copper-topped, cream-panelled bar, then a big intimate restaurant for fine elegant food. Try seared haunch of venison or roast cod loin with chorizo pommes Anna, tomato and chickpeas. Behind: a marvellous garden furnished with oak tables that’s abuzz on warm nights. If you stay, choose a room away from the road (ideally with a hot tub and a patio – a rare treat). Some have far-reaching views, some welcome dogs, all are comfortable, cosy and handsome.