In Woodstock – picturesque estate town to magnificent Blenheim Palace – is an old pub with a new lease of life: Johnny and Damion, seasoned operators, have turned the former boozer around. Enter a large welcoming space, be-rugged and pattern floor-tiled, with a green-painted bar and a roaring fire beneath a copper hood, sturdy tables for eating and drinking, and wing-back chairs in elegant leather. Behind the bar: real ales, cocktails, well-priced wines, and an impressive selection of soft drinks. In the dark beamed restaurant is the best of old British with a firm eye on provenance: pints of crispy whitebait from Brixham, duck salads, hearty pies (including vegetarian), crumbles and brûlées. It’s a pretty stone building on Market Street, blessed with a large courtyard behind, and if you’re here for the palace and its gardens (‘England’s Versailles’) stay the night. Three bedrooms wait above, carpeted, compact, light and bright, with stylish new bathrooms. Hypnos mattresses, Roberts radios, Tassimo coffee machines, smart TVs, laptop safes… all has been properly thought through.