This is one of those lovely places that delivers what many of us want: lots of style, delicious food, happy staff, attractive prices. The setting is just as good, a slice of Georgian England, with the river Stour to the left, the ruined castle to the right and the old bowling green in between. A riverside path leads down to Christchurch Quay, and another to the gardens at the priory – blissful stuff. As for the hotel, you’ll find a cool new bar with big orange armchairs, green leather bar stools and candles everywhere at night – not a bad spot for champagne cocktails. Comfy bedrooms have lots of style: smart colours, fine beds, good bathrooms, perhaps a sofa if there’s room. Three overlook the front, those in the eaves have a cute, cosy feel. Back downstairs you find the big draw – excellent food in the candlelit restaurant. Try Dorset cheddar soufflé, turbot with garlic and thyme, lemon meringues with limoncello. It’s all local with menus from an amazing £15. Lobster nights bring in the locals, the Christchurch Food Festival comes in May with stalls on the bowling green. Perfect.