One of the most complete Jacobean properties in Britain opts for a beguilingly lived-in appearance, taking advantage of almost 400 years' worth of furniture and trappings accumulated by many generations of the single family that owned it until 1991. The house was built between 1605 and 1612 for William Jones, a wealthy wool merchant, and has an appealing authenticity: bric-a-brac is strewn around, wood and pewter are unpolished, upholstery is uncleaned. The top floor is
a glorious, barrel-vaulted long gallery, and throughout the house you can see exquisite plasterwork, paneling, and tapestries. The gardens include rotund topiaries and the first croquet lawn (the rules of croquet were codified here in 1865). Admission is by timed ticket on a first-come, first-served basis, so it's a good idea to arrive early. Note that there is no tearoom or shop here. Chastleton is 6 miles northeast of Stow, signposted off A436 between Stow and A44.
Off A436, Moreton-in-Marsh, GL56 0SU, England
01608-674981; 01494-755560-(info line)