Travel: Hertfordshire

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Cosy in Motoring through picturesque parkland towards a grand Jacobean-style manor is a promising way to start a weekend away. Drop your bags in your traditional, elegant bedroom and head for the wood-panelled library with that all-important open fire – it's an instant stress buster.

Chill out It's not unusual to spot a well-known sportsman struggling at the 9th hole of the Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course. It's a classic parkland experience, teamed with tennis courts, and a health club with pool and spa. Welcome autumn with a self-heating lava shell massage, from £50. Or defy it with a sneaky St Tropez cream tan too, from £52.

Go explore Ware town has a quaint high street with good boutiques - in late autumn, it holds Dickensian shopping evenings. To double your manor experience, visit sumptuous, 400-year-old Hatfield House, 12 miles away.

Eat and drink There's a tempting mix of different dining choices. Meander from afternoon tea to cocktails in the Oak Hall before dinner at the two-AA Rosette Zodiac Restaurant. From £39.20, you romp though delicious concoctions such as clam risotto and caramel panna cotta with ginger ice cream.

What it costs Doubles from £164 B&B. Call 01920-487722 or visit

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