In idyllic Woodstock, down the road from Blenheim Palace, is the listed, mellow old Crown. Inside? A large, light, bright, sleek, smiling place. Palest walls, orange lights, Nordic chairs, background music and a dog called Rory (belongs to the chef). There are two open fires, a sitting area with sofas and a stunning decorative sweep of Portuguese floor. Butcombe or Bellini, vodka, gin, champagne by the glass: the drinks are various and classy. So is the food; there’s Provençal fish stew, roast rump of lamb with spinach, salmon with brown shrimp butter, and small plates that look sensational: Jerusalem artichokes with kale; wood-roast king prawns with chilli. The wood-fired pizzas are awesome as is the blood orange posset. Outside: a little furnished courtyard. Upstairs: brand-spankingly new bedrooms done with flair and to a top-notch standard. Our favourite, the largest, has a retro-colonial vibe; all have original art by a family friend. Bathrooms sparkle, bathrobes are fluffy and breakfasts are spoiling. A real gem.