Travelling with a baby
As culture lovers, gardens addicts and adepts of sustainable luxury – what better way to celebrate my birthday than a week-end with Luxury Family Hotels collection at the Ickworth Hotel within the National Trust Suffolk?
Once the family seat of the Earls of Bristol, this beautiful 18th century estate spoilt us for 2 days in so many ways: 1,800 acres of Capability Brown designed parkland; magnificent lounge areas with high ceilings and huge Georgian windows looking out over the estate beyond; tones of history and heritage mixed with children’s toys, facilities and pampering for the whole family.
The Ickworth Hotel’s interiors blend classic furniture with more modern pieces; the walls are styled with a mix of bold, contemporary artwork, portraits and an eclectic collection of Hervey family memorabilia. The lounges are furnished with roomy, comfortable sofas and designer Eames chairs; perfect for late lunches, a snack, wine or cocktails.
We stayed in De Walden lovely spacious traditional bedroom in the main house. The views over the Italianate Gardens are the most amazing and for my birthday I have been treated with the loveliest breakfast in bed and Elemis massage thereafter 😉
The grown ups loved:
i. The estate’s vast parkland for wandering and cycling. Ickworth parkland is one the finest examples of Capability Brown landscapes – a legendary figure that I got to know and love at Claremont Landscape Gardens, Wimpole Estate, Wrest Park, Stowe, Bleinhem Palace, Hampton Court– to mention just a few of London nearby gems. With our monkeys rather young, on this occasion we preferred leaving them to have fun in the Four Bears Den, aka Ickworth Hotel kidsclub and us enjoying some grown up time and escape in the rural stunning landscapes.
ii. National Trust Rotunda’s – Ickworth hotel guests get complimentary access. Begun in 1795 and completed in 1829, the Rotunda has much to intrigue and amaze; curved floors and corridors, a library with only two walls and plenty of priceless treasures collected over 200 years by the eccentric Hervey family.
iii. The Italianate gardens – one of the first and finest in England.
iv. The Elemis spa products at the hotel – a brand that I got to know so well and love over the last 20 years. For a bit of indulgence, the hotel Treatment Rooms offer a range of Elemis treatments including facials, massage and body scrubs.
v. The dinner was superb and it was very handy to use Ickworth baby monitor facilities. There are two restaurants to choose from – either the family friendly Conservatory or the adults-only Frederick’s.
With menus using many local ingredients, including vegetables from the hotel’s own kitchen garden, there is a tempting choice of lighter, simpler dishes, as well as a more fine dining option. We thoroughly enjoyed a sophisticated dinner in the two AA Rosette Frederick’s restaurant: modern-European cuisine, fine wines and candlelit tables.
The kids loved: a. The fairy playground complete with climbing frames and swings; b. the trampoline set up just outside the tennis courts and the assortment of lawn games; c. The Ickworth hotel’s Four Bears Den – the complimentary Ofsted registered crèche which is packed with toys and crafts for kids of all ages.
d. The Teenagers and older children have a ‘Club Blu’, complete with Playstation, Nintendo Wii, Table football, pool and table tennis.
e. Even on a day with moody skies, the hotel can entertain the most energetic of children with plenty of indoor activities and an indoor heated pool – which grown-ups might just like too!
f. Breakfast in the bright Conservatory, with a great choice of pastries, fruits, yoghurts and cereals.
g, h, i. The flowers, the spring trail, the lambs – Ickworth House with kids is a delight. The stories of the bats living inside and very next to the Rotunda also intrigued and fascinated.
Overwhelming conclusions: the Ickworth is one of the best family friendly and most luxurious heritage hotels 2 hours of London! We will be back!
PS: Many thanks to The Ickworth Hotel for the small press discount and gorgeous birthday goodies champagne and chocolates included.