IF Chipping Campden stands proud amongst the most exalted royalty of quintessentially English villages, then the Cotswold House Hotel and Spa is surely the jewel in its crown.

Nestled in the very heart of this picture postcard corner of the Cotswolds, it offers the last word in luxury, opulence and style - with a state-of-the-art spa facility into the bargain for good measure.

This award-winning home-from-home blends a grandiose Olde English charm with the very best modern facilities and a choice of dining experiences combining local, seasonal ingredients with innovative and inspired menus.

The 28 bedrooms and plush suites are like stepping back in time without sacrificing 21st century comforts, boasting a wealth of original character features alongside modern bathrooms, flat screen TVs and free, ultra-fast wifi.

The two restaurants, standing as they do surrounded by a host of mouthwatering neighbouring pub and restaurant options, simply have to go above and beyond the call of culinary duty - and they hit the mark with considerable aplomb.

You can choose between the upmarket, fine dining menu in the hotel's Fig restaurant, featuring such utter delights as dry-aged rare fillet and slow-cooked short rib of beef, local and lovingly prepared free range pork belly, or hake fillet with crab bisque; or the equally tempting but more casual Bistro on the Square, where the likes of sea bream fillets served with crushed potatoes, samphire grass and mussel nage, pork loin steak with sautéed potatoes, kale and mushrooms, or squash and sage risotto with rocket and parmesan take centre stage. The desserts, as you might expect, are simply to die for - and, equally unsurprisingly for a hotel which epitomises the very essence of English country living, there is an extensive gin menu, which is often featured in tasting evenings.

But, hidden away at the top of the hotel's perfectly manicured country gardens, lies its undoubted pièce de résistance, in its small but perfectly formed spa.

Aside from the seven treatment rooms, offering a vast array of Decléor pampering procedures, is the spa itself, with a hydrotherapy pool, steam room and jacuzzi - the perfect way to idle away an afternoon while wrestling mentally over what to pick from the menus for your evening meal. It's a tough old life here, to be sure.

But perhaps best of all, it's all only a hour's drive away at most. What better way to treat yourself to an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle or daily life and immerse yourself totally in Olde English opulence and beauty?

Rooms start from £140 B&B in winter and £180 B&B in summer - for more visit www.bespokehotels.com/cotswoldhouse.

WHILE you're there, it'd be most un-Englishly rude not to scoot away the 45 minutes or so it takes to reach one of the finest country estates in all of this sceptred isle - Blenheim Palace, where 300 years of history lie surrounded by formal gardens and peaceful country and woodland walks within its vast grounds.

History is brought bang up to date with the 3D virtual, interactive tour of its chequered life down the centuries, and tours of the stunning state rooms are also available.

It was also the birthplace of Winston Churchill - and it can't get much more quintessentially English than that - and there is a permanent exhibition to the life and work of its most famous son.

For more visit www.blenheimpalace.com/.

Between the two of them, Cotswold House Hotel and Blenheim Palace are enough to make the most unpatriotic soul feel proud to be English.