Four miles from the sea at Stiffkey, in peaceful private grounds, is this sunny 1820 cottage that once belonged to Banes, the gardener for Hindringham Hall. All is wonderfully cosy inside. In the sitting room: games, books, WiFi, DVDs, and a cream sofa and comfy chairs arranged around a coal fire. Cooks will be happy in the kitchen/dining room, compact but fully equipped, with chunky cream-painted cupboards. Bedrooms are upstairs, with views over the gardens and a sweet traditional décor: painted wood furniture, flowery headboards, white bedspreads and bathrooms spotless and small. As for the gardens, open on Wednesdays for six months of the year, they’re yours to explore in every season. The ancient moat – a listed monument – is home to eel and carp, the Wild Garden is glorious in spring, and all you hear are the birds. This is a popular North Norfolk AONB. Blickling, Felbrigg and Holkham Halls are close, as are much-loved Blakeney, Holt and Wells-next-the-Sea. There are walks from the door, a bridle path too, and you can store your boots, your bikes and your muddy dog towels in the scullery to the side.