Three hundred acres of National Trust land, with a smart yet well-priced hotel in the middle, seems too good to be true. Not so: The Bear is all your country house hotel should be – real ales, roaring log fires and all manner of good walking routes from and to the door. And of course a good walk is only enhanced by a pooch- dogs are welcome here (but book ahead - they have an upper limit on the number of dogs they'll accept each night). Accommodation is split between the main building and an annex, which is less popular with many guests as you need to cross the grounds in order to access the hotel's main facilities. But the committed and professional staffing is the same whichever side you're on, and the idea that you can pretend to be lord of your very own country house estate for a night or two makes a stay here too good to be missed.

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