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Seckford Hall Hotel is a splendid, historic hotel with a magnificent Tudor façade, in the heart of Suffolk's Constable country. Set in manicured gardens, with mature trees and a lake, Seckford Hall Hotel is situated 7 miles to the north of Ipswich and a mile from Woodbridge, on the A12. It offers luxurious accommodation, award-winning fine dining and a health club with indoor pool and spa treatments.
Step back in time as you arrive at Seckford Hall Hotel and admire its an impressive Tudor façade, tall chimneys and huge carved oak entrance door. Inside, its Elizabethan history is also apparent with beautiful oak panelling, ceilings, doors and archways, intricately carved with depictions of its splendid period.
All bedrooms at Seckford Hall Hotel are non-smoking and come with broadband Internet access and digital radio and television. Hi-Speed Wireless Internet is available in the public areas and is free.
Seckford Hall has one restaurant - The oak panelled award winning, Fine Dining Restaurant in the main house specialises in fresh lobster dishes, the local Suffolk Duckling and pays particular attention to fresh ingredients available from local farms and fishing waters. There is also the Tudor Bar and Lounge areas within the hotel that serve bar lunches.
The courtyard leisure facilities are set inside a 1550's Tudor Tithe barn adjacent to the hotel with its large swimming pool and fully equipped gymnasium. There is also a health & beauty salon. Next door, only minutes walk from the hotel, is Seckford Golf Club, with an 18-hole course.
An ideal location to explore the many attractions in the area including the many villages and towns in Dedham Vale that inspired John Constable, the famous romantic landscape painter.
Two main conference rooms are available at Seckford Hall, together with smaller rooms. The Lakeside holds up to 120 people.
Rooms at Seckford Hall Hotel are split between the Main House and the Courtyard. The Courtyard Rooms are located in a separate building diagonally across the front courtyard of the main building, which also houses the brasserie restaurant and leisure facilities.
All 32 en-suite bedrooms at Seckford Hall Hotel feature bathrobes, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, international direct dial telephone, iron and ironing board, razor electrical socket, smoke alarms, trouser press, digital radio and television and free high-speed wireless internet access. All bedrooms at Seckford Hall are non-smoking.
Seckford Hall is a mile west of Woodbridge. The hall as it appears today began taking shape in the 1530s, yet the building's origins probably predate this by as much as a century. Timber fragments found in the hall suggest that the Tudor structure was built around an earlier house. Both buildings seem to have been the work of the Seckford family.
Built from bricks made of alluvial mud from the nearby River Deben, it was built in the traditional 'E' shape, common to large houses in Elizabeth I's reign. Originally the large front door would have opened straight into the Great Hall, a miniature baronial hall around which life at the house would unfold. Three of the walls supported a balcony, the forth was dominated by stone framed widows that lit the room. The panelled lounge of the hotel was once the Great Hall and in it sits the very chair where King Edward VII was said to have died! The physical changes to this Great Hall capture Seckford's evolution over the last century, although much of the original soul remains.
Sir Ralph Harwood, former financial secretary to King George V, instigated much of this change. It was Sir Ralph who purchased the hall from a demolition contractor in May 1940, only to see the building commandeered by troops six weeks later. He regained the property in October 1945 and, early in 1946, began restoring and modernising the neglected property.
Sir Ralph had made restoring Tudor houses something of a hobby in the 1930s, amassing large quantities of old oak. Much of this stockpile was used to revamp the Great Hall at Seckford. Panelling, doors, carved beams and, most radically of all, ceilings were used to redefine the space. The cavernous room that once rose up through the building's two storeys was divided to create two floors comprising various different spaces. An entrance hall and what is now the hotel reception were both born of this reshuffle, partitioned off from the Great Hall that survives on a smaller scale.
Despite the processes of restoration and reform unleashed on the Great Hall, it retains a genuine sense of medieval drama. Indeed, in its location at the heart of the building, the Great Hall remains a social hub. Whereas lords and ladies - Queen Elizabeth once held court here - used to dine on sumptuous feasts of game and poultry, today it's a place where hotel guests mingle and chatter.
Elsewhere, Seckford Hall retains all the grandeur you'd expect of a manorial seat. Throughout the lower floor of the property visitors are watched over by 60 different faces, carved into doors, over fireplaces and on wooden panelling. Large oil paintings, suits of armour, sturdy four-poster beds and darkly stained pieces of furniture all contribute to the heraldic air pervading the property. The magnificent Tudor room four poster bed, circa 1587, could possibly have been used by Queen Elizabeth I.
Some of these items are native to the property, but were picked up at auction. A number of pieces, including a stool and a bed warming pan in the Great Hall, originate from Windsor Castle. In the Garden Room, a cabinet displays savarin and jelly moulds that once graced royal households. The pack of cards in the same showcase belonged to George V.
These intriguing quirks are what make Seckford Hall such a rewarding experience. It's grand and stately in the best traditions of a Tudor mansion, but it's the details - often the product of extension and addition over the centuries - that make for such a fascinating whole.
Seckford Hall has remained a home to the Bunn family since its purchase in 1951. Augmented and renovated, in their hands this Tudor mansion has become a much loved country hotel.
Seckford Hall Hotel
Suffolk IP13 6NU
Tel: +44 (0)1483 776344Fax: +44 (0)1483 730202
From London Stanstead - Take the A120 towards Braintree/Coggershall & A12. After approx 30 miles join A12 heading towards Colchester/Harwich/Ipswich. Continue for approx 30 miles to outskirts of Ipswich, then right onto A14 towards Felixstowe. Join back onto A12 after approx 10 miles heading towards Lowestoft/Woodbridge. Seckford Hall is well sign-posted & situated left off the A12 past Woodbridge roundabout.
From London Heathrow / M4 / M25 - From the M4 join with the M25 towards Watford, exit at junction 28 for A12 towards Colchester. Continue for approx 80 miles to outskirts of Ipswich, then right onto A14 towards Felixstowe. Join back onto A12 after approx 10 miles heading towards Lowestoft/Woodbridge. Seckford Hall is well sign-posted & situated left off the A12 past Woodbridge roundabout.
Rail: Woodbridge Station (2 miles)
Air: Stansted Airport (58 miles)