I am living off all the places we stayed at before lockdow(s). Oh life before COVID! I am in fact sharing our last family weekend away, ever (until now). We are talking back in November. The Ickworth, a ‘luxury family friendly’ hotel is a little bit more than an hour away from ours in Hertfordshire. It was ideal for a last minute booking. A family weekend at the Ickworth to go through the rest of the COVID mess!
I usually do a lot of research before booking somewhere. It annoys everyone. I cannot help myself. It is a case of finding a hidden gem, at the right price. In this instance, I had much less time to research, and I booked just because of the amazing creche facilities. I know, I was desperate. They told us they would take the kids away from us for two whole hours, for free. The kids were booked in straight away, and loved it. I had felt a bit guilty. But we have hardly had any relaxed time just the two of us in the past year. It has been a rollercoaster, so two hours to enjoy was special.
I do love sharing experiences with the kids. So this is a great compromise – with a swimming pool. A night at the Ickworth is a bit more expensive than our usual range. But COVID made us a bit on travel!
And yes there is also the beautiful Ickworth estate, the rotunda, the walled garden, another garden full of the last of the Dahlias. It was so inspiring for my photography.
Ickworth is a family friendly hotel, and I am repeating this because there is probably no way I would go for a luxury romantic weekend. I would expect a lot more. So many kids for a start, running around. This also means that they expect bedtime to be early (ours is not). The menu is also designed with them in mind. We also had a couple of issues with the COVID rules, and booking all sorts of things (breakfast table etc.) – they resolved the issue very quickly. We all had fun, together, separately, outdoors and indoors – and we still talk about our family weekend at the Ickworth.
On the way back, we stopped in Saffron Walden. We had a delicious Sunday roast at the Cross Keys, had a peep at Mini Miss Bread and stopped at the Sparrows End farm shop for some babka. We made this weekend away last as much as we could. Knowing (or not) that we would not get out of Hertfordshire for another few months.
This is not a paid review – or paid shoot (otherwise there would be more pictures of the actual hotel. I got very distracted by the gardens and the estate). You can find other places that I have actually shot for work in my portfolio.