diamond geezer

 Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Suffolk postcard: Ickworth House
Horringer, nr Bury St Edmunds, IP29 5QE
House opening times:
11am-5pm. Entrance price: £14



Ickworth's a most unusual building. The central portion looks like it's landed from outer space, a double decker monster with a giant rocket booster on top landed unexpectedly in the heart of the Suffolk countryside. In truth it's an Italianate rotunda built around the turn of the 18th century for the Marquesses of Bristol, a dynasty renowned for hell-raising behaviour right up to the present day. Two single storey wings curve off to each side, each deceptively thin, more for show than practical use. The family lived at the end of the east wing, and the central rotunda was usually used only for guests, especially when shooting parties descended and needed a luxurious base. Today the National Trust owns the lot, leasing the east wing as a posh hotel and much of the west wing as a conference centre, leaving visitors the glorious centre to explore.

Entry is via the servants' quarters, the entire downstairs slice, expertly dressed up with as it might have been one day in 1935. Even the scratchy toilet paper looks authentic, but it's a bit cold down there in places, even in August. Climb the staircase to enter a broad high opulent entrance hall, and a trio of grand state rooms dressed with drapes, chandeliers and accumulated works of art. The upper level houses bedrooms for guests and is on an equally lofty scale, with daylight streaming down through a void in the hollow roof. As usual the Trust's volunteers are on hand to tell you more, even more politely helpful here than usual, and there's a tasteful cafe (and second hand book stall) tucked away in the west wing.



Outside is the first Italianate Garden in Britain. It's more topiary-based than floral, with a secret "stumpery" hidden behind hedges at the rear where decades of spiky tree roots have been decoratively positioned to create a fairy tale vibe. Assuming you're up for a walk the estate stretches for miles, down past the parish church, walled garden, ornamental river and beyond. Various tracks are signposted, although the prescribed times for completing them are ludicrous as if calculated for joggers rather than genteel NT patrons. The park and gardens are open all year, with the house open most days of the week from Easter to the end of October. The full package isn't cheap, but if you're ever in the Bury St Edmunds area... yeah right.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream