Billesley Manor has had many lives since William Shakespeare stayed here. Its most recent facelift last year saw £5.6 million lavished on the four-star hotel near Alcester – the place is now stuffed with velvet seating and quirky art, although its rich history still seeps from every corner.
The higgledy-piggledy interior is all part of the romantic appeal. Make your way through an oak-scented maze of passageways and if you are lucky enough to check in to the Shakespeare Suite (room four), you’ll find an original priest hole above the fireplace.
The former library has been renamed the As You Like It Lounge and its writing desk marks the spot where the Bard wrote his famous comedy more than 400 years ago.
Full of romance: Billesley Manor is where William Shakespeare is said to have put pen to paper
Historians also believe he married Anne Hathaway in the tiny All Saints Church in the grounds – guests can take the key and look around it.
The church and manor house are the only remains of the original hamlet of Billesley, which was wiped off the map by the Black Death in the 1300s.
There is a more formal feel in the Stuart restaurant, with its enormous fireplace, chandeliers and 16th Century oak panelling, and that’s in keeping with the cuisine: think apricot and chicken terrine, pan-fried Gressingham duck, and confit-drizzled Herefordshire beef…