Slap bang in the heart of Constable Country and handy for the timeless villages of Lavenham, Kersey and Long Melford, this 16th-century free house sits above the Stour and Box Valleys on the Suffolk and Essex border. The stylish dining areas are informal, and there’s a great choice of local ales in the contemporary bar. These are matched by an award-winning cellar of some 250 bins; over 30 of them can be bought by the glass. Tasty seasonal and local produce underpins a modern British menu. Typical starters are steamed Shetland mussels with saffron, white wine, chilli, herbs and toasted almonds; and potted Long Melford rabbit with carrot salad and walnut bread. Children are welcome but dining is for adults only after 8pm. Dinner might feature Jerusalem artichoke and feta tart, toasted hazelnuts and apple and watercress salad; or steak and Guinness pie with blue cheese and walnut mash. Finish with blood orange meringue pie or tiramisù cake. Eleven luxury en suite bedrooms complete the jewels in this crown.