Ickworth House – Bury St Edmunds
A fantastic day out, just half an hour from Woodfarm Barns, Ickworth is a National Trust property, an amazing house set in 1800 acres of woodland.
The origins date back to 1253 with a timber house that no longer exists. What is here now is an impressive house dating back 100 years, with its centre-piece, the incredible ‘Rotunda’ providing an imposing sight as you approach.
We toured the house, starting in the basement, which is ‘staged’ as it would have originally been, with the finishing kitchens, the pump rooms and some of the servants’ quarters. It’s very life-like, giving us a real sense of how life was 100 years ago for the working classes.
The tour then winds up the stairs into the most incredibly ornate dining room, drawing rooms, smoking room, the silver room and one of the bedrooms. Opulence is the key word here! Grand ceilings, fine art, rugs and furniture are in abundance. We were lucky to attend on a day when the National Trust was photographing all of the silver-ware for cataloguing and publishing.
I met James Rothwell, curator and principal adviser for silver for the National Trust, who told me that the masses of silver on show was just “part of the collection” and there were stacks of silver plates to go through. He wouldn’t let me have any though so that was disappointing; very mean!
Wandering round the woodland walks was great. It’s all very well laid out, with a mix of themes including their fascinating Victorian ‘Stumpery’ with hundreds of interesting upturned tree roots. We have about three here so far so we are catching them up!
The main area in front of the house is an Italianate Garden, leading down to the Stumpery, then to Ickworth’s own private Church and a fabulous walled garden beyond. They used to have a vineyard next to that, which has sadly been removed and they have sold off all the vines. We went in November 21012 to help dig up the ones we bought for guests to enjoy in the future. If we don’t manage to make any wine then we will certainly have some freshly picked grapes to enjoy with some cheese!
We also had two pit-stops in their pleasant café/restaurant for lunch, then afternoon coffee. There is also the obligatory gift shop and a great second-hand bookshop.
£11.50 for non-concession adults to get in at the time of writing, Ickworth is a great way to spend a day out in Suffolk.
The full address details for Ickworth;
Bury St Edmunds
Telephone: 01284 735270