If youre tired and bogged down with laundry, cooking and the demands of children, and feel in need of a well-earned break, why not treat the family to a stay at Ickworth Hotel in Suffolk a luxury family retreat with an Ofsted registered creche.
Set in 1800 acres of rolling parkland, approaching the hotel in the east wing of a magnificent National Trust-owned Georgian manor house makes for a very grand entrance. Wow, are we staying there? - the kids were impressed!
Inside, the hotel was relaxed and friendly with wellies lined up outside the huge entrance - a bit like being a house guest at someone's country pile. There are 27 elegant and spacious rooms, some interconnecting to give mum and dad a bit of privacy. We stayed in a lovely apartment in the Dower House with grand furniture and all the indulgence youd expect from a luxury hotel - crisp white sheets, bright and lovely bathrooms and plenty of white fluffy towels and dressing gowns.
After settling in we headed out to explore the grounds, taking an amble round the formal Italian gardens with box hedge maze and a little stroll down to the walled vegetable gardens looking onto a lake, then heading back to the warmth of the hotel. The parkland is ideal for bikes which you can hire and theres also an adventure playground and tennis lessons on offer.
Our two kids were very happy in the Den the fab Ofsted registered crèche where you can leave them for up to two hours - while my husband went for a swim in the indoor heated pool and I had a relaxing facial in the spa.
There are two restaurants the Conservatory is the family dining room where the kids were well-fed on wholesome Bolognese and shepherds pie. All the rooms in the hotel have baby listening, or babysitting for those in the Dower House, so you can enjoy a meal in fine-dining restaurant Fredericks. We were very impressed with the elegantly-presented and delicious four-course meal.
After a generous breakfast of pancakes, patisserie, fruit salad and cooked breakfast, there was time for one more quick stroll before driving back home feeling relaxed and restored. This really is the best of all worlds, where you can enjoy lovely family time while someone else does the cooking and cleaning, as well as getting some 'couple time' too. Its not something youd do every day but for a treat, it really does prove that breaks with kids can be just that! We'd definitely go again!
Rooms from £345 B&B. Check the website for deals such as late availability from £145 B&B or £249 for a Sunday night dinner, bed and breakfast stay for all National Trust Members, which also includes afternoon tea on arrival.
Tel: 01284 735350