What shall we do today? Whether it’s a tour of the house, a bike ride or a brisk walk, there’s over 1,800 acres of National Trust parkland for you to explore.
Home to the Hervey family from 1702 until 1996, the most striking thing you will notice as you arrive at the Ickworth Hotel and Apartments is the Rotunda. At over 100 feet high, this impressive building was the brainchild of Fredrick Augustus, 4th Earl of Bristol and the Bishop of Derry (also known as the Earl-Bishop), to house his estranged family and provide galleries for his art collection.
The Earl-Bishop only ever saw the Rotunda built and never got to see the completed building as he met an untimely death in 1803 on the road to Albano whilst waiting to retain one of his collections in Italy. It was only in 1821, that work resumed on the building and the creation of the Italianate Garden. The family moved into the East Wing in 1829 as the Rotunda state rooms served to display the collections and for entertaining. The West Wing was merely an architectural shell completed for balance.
Extensive improvements on the East Wing, servants quarters and the Rotunda were carried out in 1910, when the 4th Marquess, completed the upper floors of the Rotunda, installed electricity and other up to date facilities and equipment throughout.
It was only in 1956, that the house, contents and gardens passed to the Treasury in lieu of death duties and it was from there that they passed to the National Trust. However, the Hervey family continued to live in the East Wing under a leasing agreement. The last family member was the 7th Marquess who sold the lease in 1996 after his chequered lifestyle left him in debt.
The East Wing opened its doors as a hotel in 2002 and this was followed in 2005 by the West Wing opening as a visitor centre.
In recent years, aided by a grant from the Heritage lottery fund, Ickworth Lives was created providing visitors an insight into life below stairs in the 1930’s and is a must when visiting!
All guests have a complimentary ticket to the house (when open) and exclusive after-hours access to the Italianate Gardens until 9pm (or dusk during shorter months). Why not take a glass of champagne on a warm evening and soak up the tranquil atmosphere in total seclusion.
If you’re up for discovering the rest of the grounds, there are over 1,800 acres to choose from. Reception have maps available from a sedate stroll along the half mile ‘Lady Geraldine’ walk to the energetic seven mile bike ride along ‘Grand Tour’. Why not try out Geo Caching whilst you’re here too! It is a great new way to navigate the parkland and great fun too, all you need is a GPS device and you’re off!