“Triggers” are something that (thanks to the ever-increasing awareness around mental health) most of us understand.

But until recently I was unaware there was actually a word to describe the opposite. Psychologists, it would appear, use the term “glimmers” to describe small moments that spark joy and peace. These moments can help us to feel calm and even help regulate our overwhelmed nervous systems.

The reason I mention this is that at Kesgrave Hall I experienced a glimmer that shone almost as brightly as sunbeams dancing on the sea.

I found myself sat, cosmopolitan in hand, on the terrace, watching my son and husband kicking a football about on the sweeping lawns.

The sun was shining, purple alliums and mauve wallflowers danced in the breeze next to me, and the scent of dinner being prepared in the restaurant wafted gently past.

It was idyllic.

Exactly what a minibreak should be…

The Gatehouse at Kesgrave HallThe Gatehouse at Kesgrave Hall (Image: Kesgrave Hall)

First impressions:

It’s hard not to be impressed when you pull up to Kesgrave Hall. A country house, built in 1812, it is sat in 38 acres of woodlands and fields on the eastern outskirts of Ipswich.

Though it has been through a few incarnations over the years (including housing five different boarding schools!) it has been a hotel and restaurant since April 2008.

Its newest addition is the Gatehouse – where we were staying.

Found near the entrance to Kesgrave, it opened to guests last August.

The Gatehouse at Kesgrave HallThe Gatehouse at Kesgrave Hall (Image: Kesgrave Hall)

The Gatehouse has four double bedrooms and sleeps up to eight guests. It is available for exclusive hire, but bedrooms can also be booked individually.

It also has a sitting room (complete with possibly the biggest and squishiest couch we’ve even flopped on!) and a luxury high spec open-plan kitchen/dinning room. Our bedroom opened out to the private grounds at the rear of house (complete with a bluebell wood!) which proved to be a bit of a suntrap as well as an oasis of tranquillity.

Quite frankly, there’s no real reason to leave the Gatehouse once you’ve checked in. But a night off cooking (despite the loveliness of the kitchen we had to cook in!) had been promised, so we wandered down the lane to the brassiere.


Food at The Gatehouse at Kesgrave HallFood at The Gatehouse at Kesgrave Hall (Image: Kesgrave Hall)

Wining and dining:

Refreshingly for a spot as stunning as this, there’s no need to worry about dress codes at Kesgrave Hall’s restaurant and bar. And they have a no bookings policy.

While I had thrown on a pink frock, the boys were in trainers (they couldn’t resist a few pre-dinner shots at the goal on the lawn!) and the team are keen to make you comfy whether you’ve come straight from the office or from a walk in the Suffolk countryside.

The lounge, reception area, bar and restaurant recently underwent a £350k refurb and the result is a chic combo of soothing, neutral Andrew Martin paints and fun pops of colour with off-the-wall embellishments.

The menus bridge day into evening sublimely. Want a mouth-watering steak? Go for it. Pan fried guinea fowl? No probs. Fresh fish? A light sandwich? A cheeky brunch? Done, done, done. The kids’ menu is far from an afterthought, as is the vegan menu. And don’t get me started on the dark chocolate delice pudding… it’s still dancing through my dreams!

One of the bedrooms at The Gatehouse at Kesgrave HallOne of the bedrooms at The Gatehouse at Kesgrave Hall (Image: Kesgrave Hall)

And there’s more:

Having our eight-year-old lad with us meant that we couldn’t really set ourselves to the task of exploring Kesgrave Hall’s gin library.

But for those who are not on mummy/daddy duty, the bar has a growing collection of 90 bottles, accompanied by eight tequilas, 30 whiskies, and countless rums, vodkas and speciality spirits. I recommend giving some a whirl while watching the chefs at work in the open kitchen.

And I’ve not even mentioned the fact there is an on-site spa! If my weekend hasn’t already been glimmering away, I’m certain a spell in this haven of relaxation would have gotten me well along the path to tranquil.

The only downside to a stay here? The fact you have to leave…