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Ickworth House

The unique home of an English eccentric

An Introduction to Ickworth House in Suffolk

Ickworth Rotunda
Ickworth House Dome
Ickworth House and Gardens
Ickworth Lounge
Ickworth House

Frederick Hervey, the fourth Earl of Bristol, was a renowned eccentric, who was just as likely to spend his vast fortune on charitable causes as he was to blow it on works of art. Ickworth House was to be the finest of his residences, but when he died in 1803 only its centrepiece was completed - a huge circular dome called the rotunda. His wife called it "a stupendous monument of folly", but perhaps she'd change her mind if she saw it today, as the wonderfully unusual heart of England's most idiosyncratic manor. A recent achievement of the Trust is to transform the rotunda basement into an accurate representation of the early 1900s. This is the "Ickworth Lives" exhibition, where the stories of the manor's cooks, servants and housekeepers are told. The estate is a frequent hosts of events as varied as theatre performances and bat walks. These take place out in the house's surrounding parkland. Some of the trees in its 1800 acres are so old that they pre-date the arrival of the Hervey family in the 15th century.

Ickworth House and Gardens (NT), The Rotunda, Horringer, Bury St Edmunds, IP29 5QE. Open daily, 11am to 5pm (Gardens from 8am). House only open at weekends in winter.


Ickworth House Local Map

Ickworth Map


Ickworth House Guided Picture Tour


It's likely that Ickworth's Italianate garden was one of England's earliest. The formal lines and classic views are as beautiful as ever. Next door is the more subversive Victorian stumpery, a shadowy, but magical secret garden where gnarled tree roots curl into menacing shapes. The grounds also contain the only commercial vineyard on National Trust land, producing Ickworth brand red and white wine.
Ickworth House and Gardens
Ickworth House and Gardens
Ickworth Entrance
The entrance to the main house
Ickworth Hotel
The East Wing of the House, which is a hotel
Ickworth Rotunda
The main Rotunda
Ickworth House
The back of the house, facing the lawn
Italianate Garden
Steps down to the Italianate Garden
Ickworth Garden Path
One of the many paths in the garden

Inside, the rotunda has barely changed. It was only ever used for special occasions, so its furnishings and decorations survived in near-perfect condition. Keep an eye out for the many respresentations of snow leopards; they're taken from the Hervey family's coat of arms.

Ickworth House Dome
Inside the magnificent dome at Ickworth
Ickworth Dome Landing
The first floor landing under the dome
Ickworth Floor
The Floor under the dome

Other rooms contain the collection of art and furnishings that the fourth Earl of Bristol began. There are paintings by peerless European masters like Gainsborough and Velasquez. The silverware is exquisite and furniture is antique. The Hervey family lived in the east wing, which is now a hotel. The west wing was originally added purely for symmetry, and was left completely empty. It's since been filled by a conference centre and restaurant, which is open to the public in the daytime. It uses local produce, and serves cakes baked on site.
Ickworth Lounge
One of the lounge rooms inside Ickworth House
Ickworth Dining Room
The Dining Room
Ickworth Bedroom
One of the many bedrooms in the house


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