We wanted to make the most of the spring sunshine today, and so decided to visit Ickworth House www.nationaltrust.org,uk which is just outside Bury St Edmunds . Instead of taking the main roads we drove through the countryside. The route took us through Sudbury and then past the turning for Long Melford. which is a lovely village to visit in the summer. On the way to Bury we drove through a village with one of the best names in Suffolk – Bradfield Combust.
We drove along some wonderful sunken Suffolk lanes where the daffodils were in bloom and the hedgerows were full of blossom.
Ickworth is set in beautiful rolling parkland and Suffolk countryside. In the fields bordering the main drive to the house were lambs, and to complete the picture postcard scene the gardens were full of yet more daffodils.
We walked past a redundant church which is about to be restored by English Heritage to have a look at the vineyard. This is set in the old walled kitchen garden – with over 50 rows of vines! The walls of the garden are made from lovely red bricks, and support lots of fruit trees which were just beginning to have buds on them.
There’s a really lovely restuarant in the Orangery – but it was a bit busy at lunchtime, so we stopped to have lunch at a little kiosk which is near to a very attractive garden centre. We then went into the house. The house is famous for its rotunda, which is balanced by two wings. In the spring sunshine the stonework of the house was silvery and really stood out against the blue of the sky.
The house itself is full of lovely furniture, paintings and books. The things that really stood out for me though were the staircase and the view from the museum landing over the balcony into the hallway below, and a painting by Titian that was several hundred years old but looked like it could have been painted yesterday.
We finished off by looking around the Italianate Gardens and discovering the yew walk, with the hedges very neatly trimmed – I kept imagining the scene from an old episode of French and Saunders where they keep popping out from either side of a very similar walk.
And finally we went back to the Orangery and had some cake – which I can thoroughly recommend!