SOMEHOW I don’t think Charles I and Oliver Cromwell ever met in the bar at the Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds.

They weren’t likely to have got on. After all, the monarch who believed he was God’s appointed absolute ruler of England and the General who was later to be responsible for removing his head, were on opposing sides when both stayed at the wonderful hotel in the village of Broadway.

Luckily, for the management at the time anyway, their visits during the English Civil War were on different dates. I can only imagine the manoeuvres the staff would have been forced to undertake to ensure the two never bumped into each other.

Today you can still meet Charles, or at least so the legend goes. He occasionally drops by, in spirit form anyway, to visit guests who sleep in his old suite of rooms – which just happened to be where Mrs M and I were staying.

Not that I mentioned any of this to Mrs M as we settled into the sumptuous rooms with their huge four-poster bed, marvellous period furniture, wood-panelled lounge and quite tremendous bathroom – the latter not being at all an original feature, of course.

No, Mrs M doesn’t do creaking doors and whispering voices half heard in the night.

Which was why, after learning from reception staff while she was out of earshot that the 500-year-old hotel was indeed haunted by many former occupants and guests (there’s even a body known to be buried beneath the flagstones on the ground floor) I decided discretion was the better part.

Mind you, our waiter didn’t help much that evening while at dinner. “There’s the window where Cromwell used to look down on everyone,” he explained, pointing to a small, lead-quartered pane high on the 16th century original brickwork.

Mrs M peered to see if she could make out a shadowy face behind the glass, but I directed her away from such spirited thoughts and towards the drinks menu, a neat trick I thought.

Broadway had looked like something from another era when we arrived late on a Saturday afternoon when the summer sun was still bright. Not medieval, in fact far more modern, but still from a time gone by. The village looked like a scene from a Miss Marple TV special as a vintage car club staged its gathering on the green, members in 1950’s period attire, plenty of picnics and, one suspected, lashings of ginger beer.

After watching the cars parade through the glorious village, Mrs M and I ambled off through the gardens of the hotel itself.

They seemed to go on forever. Not quite formal, and a little overgrown in places, with plenty of shady spots to sit and read the papers or a good book while sipping on afternoon tea or something a little stronger.

The Lygon Arms was created as a hotel way back when knights of old were truly bold. Over the centuries it has expanded to cover a large area. The seventies saw what might be considered by some an unsympathetic addition to include a fabulous spa and indoor pool. But on reflection Mrs M and I loved the place in total; the old – very old – blending in with the modern.

The many rooms and courtyards make ideal spots for lunch, dinner, entertaining and, of course, weddings. The hotel is cosy enough to be intimate, yet large enough to swallow all manner of parties without feeling crushed.

The food at the Lygon Arms lives up to the setting, with Mrs M and I enjoying a menu of salmon and lamb. The presentation was superb and the tastes mouth-watering.

The following day, having survived the night without any interference from any long dead monarch, I appraised Mrs M of who we might have spent the dark hours with. She was grateful I had not mentioned the possibility of a royal visitor before breakfast.

Later, we had a quick tour of the hotel peeping in on the room where Cromwell stayed as he prepared his plans for the Battle of Worcester.

If he was there, he didn’t seem to mind.

“There really is a grave just behind the reception area,” I added, as we bade farewell to the staff.

Mrs M told me that again she was grateful for being kept in the dark about such matters, but somehow not even the knowledge she was sleeping with the dead would have ruined such a lovely stay. I took the comment in the spirit she no doubt intended.