A fine example can be found in the shadow of Ben Nevis, in the Scottish Highlands. Old Pines, at Spean Bridge, 10 miles east of Fort William, is a Scandinavian-style single-storey house surrounded by Scots pines. Here, English proprietors Bill and Sukie Barber have hit upon a winning formula that combines a warm welcome and child-friendliness with beautiful surroundings and culinary distinction. Think Woolley Grange minus the decorative grandeur.
Old Pines has been rightly praised for what it offers to families - not least the system whereby your children get to eat with the Barbers at around 6pm, giving adults the chance of a civilised dinner later on. There's one sitting, with shared tables for residents, chalet party-style, and a set menu. But it is as a restaurant that Old Pines would really like to be judged, and there's no doubt that Sukie Barber, her skills forged on the directors' lunches circuit of the Home Counties and in Glasgow, is a seriously talented cook.
As pioneering members of the "Taste of Scotland" scheme, which seeks to promote good food and local produce across the country, Old Pines' heart is in the right place. It has its own smokehouse, and bakes its own bread. Poached trout, haunch of venison and roast leg of Scotch lamb are typical (and spot-on) main courses, while Sukie does wonders with her chocolate desserts.
And for Southerners who might rule out Old Pines on grounds of remoteness, this is the really clever bit. Spean Bridge is the penultimate stop on the sleeper from Euston to Fort William, and the Barbers are happy to pick you up at the station and/or arrange car hire.
Old Pines, Spean Bridge, by Fort William, Scotland (01397 712324); dinner, B&B from pounds 60
11 Mostyn Ave, Craig-Y-Don, Llandudno, Wales (01492 870070); B&B from pounds 25, a la carte dinner around pounds 25
The Peat Inn
by Cupar, Fife, Scotland (01334 840206); B&B from pounds 135 for two, set dinner pounds 28
Lochinver, Sutherland, Scotland (01571 844407); dinner & B&B from pounds 67Reuse content