The position here is hard to beat: lawns run down to the river, yacht masts flutter in the breeze, ancient woodland runs along the water, soundproofing this beautiful landscape. As for the house, it dates to 1729 and was home to the shipwrights who built Nelson’s fleet; several ships built here saw action at Trafalgar. These days peace reigns. A chic sitting room opens onto a smart garden, where gravel paths weave past colourful beds to tables for lunch in the sun. There’s a lovely old bar and an airy restaurant – both have terraces that drink in the view, and both serve tasty local fare, too, perhaps a pizza or posh fish and chips in the bar, perhaps smoked rabbit chorizo, pot au feu with local veg, salted butterscotch crème brûlée in the restaurant. Bedrooms in the main house have big views, Indian furniture, then colour and character in spades. Those in the annexe, recently refurbished (a few await their turn), come in crisp blues and whites, with a wall of wood, Bose sound systems and excellent walk-in showers. As for the New Forest, walk, cycle or kayak though it. A great forest base.