Shared between Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, with guest appearances from Worcestershire and Warwickshire, the Cotswolds are only a 2-3 hour drive from London. Their genteel hills attract walkers and riders, their villages are mobbed in summer. Though the old walled gardens, honey-stoned cottages, lush churches built by rich wool merchants and stone footbridges over trout-flecked streams have been described by A A Gill as "the honey-dipped bollocks", the fact remains that the Cotswolds are gorgeous, pastoral England-as-you-imagined-it. No wonder the celebs - Liz Hurley, Kate Winslet, Damian Hurst - have homes here.
The glorious green hills of the Chilterns stretch from the River Thames in Oxfordshire to Hitchin in Hertfordshire and are some of the finest countryside in the UK, hence their protected status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Dunstable Downs is the highest point in the east of England with stunning panoramic views, and Wendover Woods is owned by the Forestry Commission and has lovely woodland walks - come in spring for bluebells.
BERKSHIRE & BUCKINGHAMSHIRE
Within striking distance of London are Berks and Bucks whose prosperous towns are also home to many a celeb. Indisputedly posh, what with Windsor - the Queen's favourite castle – and Eton, the country's most famous public school, horse racing at Ascot and rowing at Henley (actually in Oxfordshire). Flowing through them all is the glassy Thames, so grab a bike and negotiate towpath and river, preferably squeezing in a pretty pub on the way.