Exploring Ickworth by tours
Ickworth House was designed to impress and entertain on a grand scale. It was built as an 18th century palace to showcase the many treasures and art collected by the Earl Bishop. Visitors can explore the property with daily tours; a great opportunity to learn about the family history that brought Ickworth to the present day, to uncover how we care for our collections and to look forward to an important year for Ickworth’s future with a multi-million-pound conservation project to restore its roof.
Take your first steps into Ickworth’s story with one of our morning tours:
Life below Stairs - Discover the hustle and bustle that went on below stairs in the 1930’s. Learn about how 4th Marquess and Marchioness of Bristol ran the House and hear the stories of the staff, who were essential to keeping the house running. Runs at 11am.
State Rooms - Learn about how Earl Bishop designed Ickworth, and how his son, the 5th Earl later the 1st Marquess, developed the estate for future generations. Discover more about the grand artwork he bought to Ickworth and the fine furniture collected by the family. Runs at 11.15am.
Securing Ickworth’s Legacy- A new tour which uncovers Ickworth’s upcoming roof conservation project. Discover some of the methods used to care for our significant collection and our plans to preserve the fabric of the building to secure Ickworth’s legacy for the future. Runs at 11.30am
Explore the development of Ickworth and its Gardens with one of our outdoor tours:
Myths and Masonry- This tour takes a look at the spectacular engravings which surround the house, discuss their provenance, design and construction, and the fascinating characters and stories that they portray. Runs at 11.45am
The Origins of Ickworth- Take a stroll through the parkland and learn about Ickworth’s development from medieval village, to its use as a deer park and a working estate with the largest Walled Garden in the East of England through to the present day. Runs at 1.15pm.
Italianate Garden- Discover the stories and design features within Ickworth’s Italianate Garden, take the tour through what is believed to be the earliest Italian influenced garden remaining in the UK. Runs at 2.30pm.
Please note the outdoors tours do not run everyday - check with a member of the team on arrival to see what tours are running the day you visit.
Every afternoon one of these tours will give you a chance to hear further stories at Ickworth:
Ickworth Voices - Explore the unique experience of hearing the voices of many of the people who lived and worked at Ickworth in the 1930’s. Listen to their living conditions, their relationships with one another and with their employers, the Hervey family. Learn about the social changes that were happening at the time and the changing attitudes of the people who worked “in service”. Runs at 4.05pm.
Torchlight - Ickworth houses one of the finest collections of 18th century family portraits in the National Trust by renowned artists such as Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Hogarth. Using our ‘magic torches’ discover another side to our magnificent paintings and learn how they came to be at Ickworth. Runs at 4.15pm.
Every Wednesday take a different look at Ickworth with a morning or afternoon Conservation tour- a perfect opportunity to learn about how the National Trust cares for the vast collection at Ickworth; see some of the techniques used to care for various objects and the different aspects of conservation undertaken. Runs at 11am and 4.15pm.
All tours subject to availability (led by volunteers), not all tours available each day - check with the team on arrival.