The Ickworth, Suffolk

There's nothing like an elegant country pile for a chilled British break

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Reviewed by Natasha Pearlman

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PRICE: FROM £115, B&B

HOTEL LOCATION: BURY ST EDMONDS, SUFFOLK

ADDRESS:  HORRINGER, BURY ST EDMONDS, SUFFOLK, IP29 5QE

 TYPE OF HOTEL: LUXURY|FAMILY FRIENDLY|DOG FRIENDLY

 TYPE OF BREAK: ROMANTIC GETAWAY|FAMILY WEEKEND|WALKING|CYCLING

HOTEL STYLE: CONTEMPORARY|ECLECTIC

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Set in 1,800 acres of parkland, The Ickworth location is spectacular,-  an amazing base for walks and bike rides  (the hotel provides wellies and can arrange wheels ). But if you’d rather not leave the grounds, there’s a fantastic heated indoor pool and sauna as well as a lovely spa. The hotel itself is in an 18th century traditional country house, but with art deco, slightly eclectic furnishings (which don’t always work as well as they were intended). Each of the 27 rooms is unique, from the more luxurious to shabbier chic, the atmosphere is homely and welcoming and the staff notably friendly.

It is very family-orientated, so if you're not, you might want to go out of school holidays.   When it comes to meals, the formal dining room is a grown-up haven. The steak and lamb rump are a standout, and you'll need to work your dinner off with a walk round the impressive grounds come morning.

What’s hot?

- The grounds. 1,800 acres of them to be precise. Amazing for walks, cycling or just gazing at from your window 

- The heated indoor pool and sauna – we swam every day

- Dog and family friendly (each room has ‘baby listening’ – a monitor service where reception look out for your kids while you eat dinner. Plus free Ofsted-approved childcare crèche for when you just need a break)

- The spa – small but with a great range of treatments from mud wraps to manicures; mostly using the Comfort Zone range 

What’s not?

- The décor is a bit hit and miss. The house is beautiful, but we thought it would look  better furnished in a slightly more traditional style

- The mix of rooms. Some are super luxe, but others were a bit too far  on  the shabbier side of  chic for our taste

Need to Know:

Number of rooms: 27 plus 11 apartments

Check-in/check-out times: 3pm /  11am 

Swimming pool: Yes

Spa: Yes

Dogs welcome: Yes

Eating and drinking:

On the website it advertises various different menus for the bar, lounges, conservatory and fine-dining restaurant Frederick's, but when we went we only ever ate off one menu. It was lovely, affordable and the steak was a standout, as was the seabass ceviche starter. But the tagine didn’t quite hit the mark and the salmon was good but nothing to write home about. The lunch menu in the lounge on the other hand was brilliant - the halloumi ciabatta a favourite – and the kids menu (the conservatory opens early for afternoon tea and kids’ dinners) was fantastic quality. The menu changes regularly as well.

Near to? Bury St Edmunds

Getting there:

80 miles from London, 3 miles from the train station at Bury St Edmunds and 50 miles from Stansted, the nearest airport. Huge grounds to park in when you arrive.