Swan Inn - Swinbrook, Oxfordshire
The Swan Inn has everything a real English country pub should have: an absurdly pretty riverside setting close to a cricket green, buckets of old-world charm, award-winning food and – absolutely essential – noble pedigree. Swinbrook is where the Mitfords lived and Deborah, the last remaining daughter (now the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire), owns the pub. These days it is managed by Archie and Nicky Orr-Ewing and has six elegant individually designed bedrooms housed in a stone barn, fusing classic and contemporary in a warm, unpretentious way. Its central location in the village means life revolves round it and you will find locals, hikers and tourists alike piling in for a Cotswold lager and a plate of seasonal food (Sunday roast, beetroot risotto, warming stew, and scrumptious chocolate and orange tart) – the Good Food Guide has just pronounced it County Dining Pub of the Year. You can walk off lunch by heading across the fields along the River Windrush to the medieval town of Burford, home to the cathedral-like St John the Baptist Church, built in 1175.