It’s a good idea to start a weekend away with a head massage. This proved to be an excellent buffer between the world outside and the one within. The Ickworth Hotel, one wing of a National Trust house, is full of families because children are welcome in every corner, save for one restaurant. My children loved the crèche (two hours free childcare a day, they played there whilst I had my head done). I loved being able to sit out, sipping a cocktail, lazily looking at the sun setting over 1800 acres whilst they played in the fairy garden (20ft high walls, only one way in and out, bliss for the paranoid). Interconnecting rooms or huge beds for the co-sleepers, bike hire, indoor swimming pool, good, proper food, tennis court, a cinema and lots to do outside. You must explore the Italianate gardens early morning or late at night – look for the bat cave.
Rooms from £165 per night. Children under 16 stay free in parents’ room. Interconnecting rooms from £345 a night. The Ickworth, tel: 01284 735 350 or www.luxuryfamilyhotels.co.uk.
This was first published in National Geographic Travellery Family, Spring 2013, Room Reviews.