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Ickworth HotelEast of England

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In Three Words

  • Welcoming
  • Elegant
  • Grand!

Best Bits for Kids

  • Family-friendly
  • Four Bear's Den
  • Trampoline.
Details
  • Intro
  • For Kids
  • For Adults
  • Rooms
  • Food
  • Activities
  • Top Tips
  • Map
  • Review
As you drive through the grounds of the Ickworth Estate (National Trust land of which the hotel forms one wing of a large stately home) you feel the grandeur of luxury of a bygone age; as if you are visiting the family home of landed gentry. When you arrive at the hotel this feeling of being welcomed into a family home is continued. The line of wellington boots in all styles and sizes (the fairy boots with little wings were a particular favourite of my four year old) along with the smattering of scooters outside the enormous historic doors is an indication of what lies behind them. The façade is an elegant stately home with all of the benefits of a luxury hotel but the real soul of the hotel is the thought and little touches which have gone into making this luxury hotel a sanctuary for all of the family, no matter their age.

 

For Kids

  • Trampolines, swings, play houses all in the “Fairy Garden” next to the Walled Garden.
  • Bikes and scooters in all play areas for the children to use.
  • An adventure playground (in Ickworth House grounds).
  • Club Blu - playroom with Wii, table football, table tennis, TV and DVD player (unsupervised).
  • Four Bears Den (OFSTED regulated crèche). 2 hours every day is free for hotel guests (supervised between 10am and 5pm every day). The room is open at all other times so when it is not supervised parents can use the room with their children. You can also borrow toys from the crèche for use during your stay as long as you return them at the end of your stay.
  • Cinema Room where DVDs are shown daily at various times (this is unsupervised).
  • Supervised activities – When we there my little girl took part in the cake decorating activity but there were a number to choose from including potato printing, biscuit decorating, story time etc.
  • Children’s High Tea (during half term and school holidays) between 5.00 and 6.00pm in the Conservatory. Families can also dine together in “Family Dining” in the Conservatory between 6.00pm and 8.30pm.
  • Story time 3.30 – 4.00pm in the Four Bears Den followed by a DVD.
  • Space to play. The grounds are enormous and much of the hotel gardens are safe, walled, flat grassed areas. There is then the whole of the Ickworth Estate and the hotel provide you with a map showing each walking or bike route and recommended family routes and the distance of each.
  • Access to Ickworth House (this is free to hotel guests) which is very hands on for children. In the basement all of the exhibits can be touched and handled. The drawers and cupboards can be opened, the piano can be played and there are old fashioned games such as tiddly winks which are on display to be used in the Servant’s Mess.
  • Access to the indoor swimming pool all day which is at a constant temperature of 31 degrees (floats and armbands are available at the pool).
  • Bikes and helmets to borrow. The bikes come in all sizes with the option of training wheels or not and children’s seats on the back of adult’s bikes.
  • Plastic cutlery and crockery at the restaurant and of course high chairs.
  • Cinema room with bean bags, chairs etc for all to chill out in, big people and littlies, with one or more films each day being shown depending on the weather conditions.
 

For Adults

  • Relax in comfort.
  • Spa treatment rooms.
  • Access to historic Ickworth House.
  • 2 AA rosette restaurant (this is for adults only). It is an elegant and quiet space for parents to have couple time whilst employing a babysitter.
  • Baby sitting is available on request. We didn’t use this service as we knew that the family dining would be a treat for our four year old but this is arranged directly with the hotel. They will always try and provide this but if possible you should try and give 24 hours’ notice. The babysitters all work at the hotel or are known to the hotel and are all CRB checked. They are charged at £8 an hour and are to be paid by you directly.
  • If you have a baby and tell them on booking they will automatically put in your room travel cot, nappy bucket and changing mat. The hotel also has some steam sterilisers and bottle warmers, again please ask on booking.
  • Take Away dishes are available from the Conservatory menu. 30 minutes is needed to prepare and collect. This is particularly useful for people staying in the Dower House who have put their children to bed and can enjoy a hotel meal in their own suite.
  • Dispense Bar – the hotel can serve you drinks in any of the restaurants or lounges.

Rooms

There are twenty seven rooms in the main Hotel, a Butler’s Lodge which is about 100 meters from the main hotel which has three bedrooms and is set in its own private walled garden. 

In addition to this there is then approximately 800 yards away the Dower House which has 11 one and two bedroom suites (more on the Dower House below). You can book the use of the whole of the Dower House – fantastic for a huge family gathering! It can sleep up to 30 adults and 8 additional children under the age of 16. 

The standard double room can fit a cot or extra put up bed comfortably. 

large double can fit up to three extra beds or cots. 

There are a number of interconnecting rooms which consist of two bedrooms and two bathrooms. If you have four children or you want a separate room for the children this would be a good option for you.

The suites then consist of a separate bedroom and living room area and can again sleep two adults and up to four children in cots or put up beds. 

All of the main Hotel rooms have recently been renovated. They are decorated either in a contemporary or traditional style to fit with the era of the property. Compared to standard hotel rooms even the standard is pretty huge! Some of the rooms also had enormous bathrooms! So if you have one little one in a cot and don’t fancy sharing your room ask for a room with a large bathroom there is plenty of room to put a cot in and still have use of the bathroom. The bathrooms are beautiful and are full of fabulous Elemis toiletries and of course bathrobes for the adults. 

We stayed in the Rowen Suite at the Dower House. This was the original family home of the Hervey family. It is 800 yards from the main hotel set in its own 4 acres of walled garden complete with trampoline and bikes! The Dower House is perfect for families wanting more of an apartment with separate rooms for adults and children whilst having the facilities of the hotel nearby. 

Our suite had a very large living/dining room with a kitchen unit complete with a fridge, a microwave and a dishwasher in addition to the usual coffee and tea making facilities, an opulent bedroom with an ornate French style bed and wardrobe and very large bathroom with free standing bath. There were only two adults and one child staying but there would have been plenty of room for at least two more children in the living room in put up beds. There was a TV in both the living room and bedroom so parents could put their children to bed and still have another room to relax in.

 

Food

In the Conservatory....

High Tea
The children can eat high tea between 5pm and 6pm. This is a very informal affair with child friendly crockery and cutlery and food choices. Even though the setting is elegant if your child is in the food throwing phase no one would raise an eye brow.

Family Dining 
We chose this option as it most suited us with a four year old. It is a little bit more formal than the High Tea with silver service place settings but no less welcoming for children. As she sat cross legged in her chair and slurped her pineapple juice noisily we could relax with a glass of wine and dinner and know that other guests were not in the least bit disturbed. The children’s menu was extensive, healthy and varied. There was a choice of seven dishes from the usual penne pasta to the more exotic lamb and mint burger for around £7 for a main course. We had crayfish and lime salad and steak, pesto and pine nut salad both were plentiful and tasty. We chose salads because it was a beautiful summer evening but there was a wide variety of delicious options to choose from, not just salads, ranging from £12 to £29 for a sharing platter. 

Like most children my four year old got fed up after half an hour or so of sitting still but the waitress was more than happy to serve us our dessert in the walled garden (just outside) so she could run around and play on the trampoline while we finished our drinks and puddings.


The Frederics Restaurant is for adults only a two AA rosette restaurant. We didn’t eat in the restaurant but we went for a sneaky peak and it did look lovely. Certainly I can imagine coming again and opting for a babysitter for one night to have a more relaxed and peaceful meal with my husband, sans enfant! Those were the days….. 

 

Activities

Bike riding

Swimming

Visit Ickworth House and the adventure playground.

Nearest beach is at Southwold approximately 1.5 hours away.

Again approximately an hour and a half away is the theme park Pleasure Wood Hills with its usual attractions of rides and roller coasters.

Jimmy’s Farm made famous by the reality series is approximately 45 minutes away and has a farm park and attractions on for the whole family. 

Go Ape with the Ultimate Forest Adventure is approximately 40 minutes away and Wild Tracks an off-road activity park is approximately 30 minutes away.

Banham Zoo is approximately 50 minutes away. 

 

Top Tips

No need to pack the car with toys, scooters, bikes they are all here for you!

Even if you forget your buggy you can borrow one from the hotel. Don’t forget the baby though!

The hotel welcomes your dogs too. There is a £15 supplement per night for your pet. The grounds are perfect for dog walking.

Check out the activities on offer. Your child might not want to be left at the crèche alone but my four year old was coaxed into giving us some child free time by joining in with the cake decorating. She then played there alone quite happily. 

Look out for the sport activities. The kids can get involved with tennis, hockey cricket, football etc. 

Ask directions – we got lost on a few occasions the swimming pool, crèche and spa are not that well signposted although David at Front of House had told us the crèche was in the basement we just couldn’t find the stairs. The staff were very helpful though and didn’t just give directions but showed us the way. 

Don’t attempt the cattle grids on a bike with training wheels it doesn’t work. It led to a small tumble and plenty of crocodile tears, made better by a plaster and ice-cream! 

There are only two changing cubicles in the pool which got a bit busy at what was clearly rush hour (5 – 6pm) for parents to leave the pool with their children. As the pool is an old stable block of the stately home you can’t really walk in a dressing gown from the hotel to the pool so you have to use the changing facilities to get dressed and undressed. We had to wait a while to get a changing room and one of the other parents I spoke to said she had had this problem the day before. Make sure you plan for this when you decide to go for a swim!

Ask the staff anything – they are more than happy to help. Sandra (from Four Bears) supplied the cure all plaster and sticker to go with it (after the bike tumble) and understood completely the “serious nature” of my child’s injury! 

There is plenty to do on dry and even wet weather days. 

 

Map

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