In-the-know parents have been trying to keep this place hush hush. But the secret’s out and the word is spreading: The Ickworth is one of those cosy havens to while away a few days, where parents glide serenely from spa to room to restaurant, and kids relish back-to-back fun. With a signature level of elegant luxury, this grand dame is as far from naff as you can get. But it’s also the kind of place where no one bats an eyelid when your little monster lobs a spoon across the restaurant or full-blown tantrums escalate in reception.
Keep boredom at bay and swing by the fairy garden, meet the resident farm animals, run wild in the sprawling grounds and wallow in the pool with your brood. Over tip-top breakfasts, mull over which facial you’re going to book during your two hours of free childcare, sit back as spot-on kiddie staples keep the kids beaming at mealtimes (there’s even fresh purees for weaning babies), and let sparks fly over a superb dinner as the little ones snooze in your room, safely monitored by the baby-listening service. And with changing mats, nappy bins, sterilisers, Bugaboo pushchairs and travel cots on tap, this cracking country pile is always going to be a winner.