In the picturesque hamlet of Armscote, a few miles south of Stratford-upon-Avon, this building once housed the local blacksmith before becoming a coaching inn in the 18th century. The pub is owned by the family behind the Baylis & Harding toiletries company; its range of luxury products take pride of place in the stylish bedrooms. In the buzzy bar, contemporary furnishings combine with exposed beams, flagstone floors and original fireplaces to create a relaxed setting to enjoy local ales such as Purity Mad Goose. The seasonal menu majors on local produce and robust, innovative dishes. Try the pork pie with date chutney; duck liver parfait; or leek and wild mushroom tart to start, followed by lamb shank with buttered mash, green beans and lamb gravy; or local venison pie. An attractive courtyard garden is a peaceful spot for alfresco dining but if the weather turns, you might be able to make use of the pub’s quirky Hunter welly loan service.