Hampshire has it all, not least a coast that’s perfect for yachties, whether the fairweather sort or the hardy type like Ben Ainslie, who lives in Lymington (with a gold letter box outside his house).

But it’s not just about its long seaside stretches. With quick access to London and two national parks, it makes the perfect place to gulp a few lungfuls of fresh country air before knuckling down to another week’s work. The Hampshire stretch of the South Downs National Park takes in rolling hills and market towns, while the New Forest is an enchanting place, little changed since the days when it was a royal hunting ground, where pigs, cattle, donkeys and ponies still roam free. It’s liberally scattered, like the rest of the county, with spot-on hotels to stretch out, relax, revive and dine in style. And the Isle of Wight, with its many gentle charms, is just a short ferry ride away.

hotels in hampshire and the isle of wight