Hotel Review: Swinton Park, North Yorkshire
Swinton Park is the ultimate destination to get away from it all… experience pure relaxation at their spa, take in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside on their estate, and enjoy some incredible food.
This is a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, and I was absolutely blown away by the kindness of some of my friends when a voucher for a night at Swinton Park arrived in the post. After the difficult time I’ve had recently, a mini-break was exactly what we needed, and we decided to stay for a second night to make the most of our trip.
We had the most wonderful time, and felt completely rejuvenated after our stay.
I think what separates a great hotel from a good one is the level of detail, and Swinton Park really has thought about the full customer experience…
Swinton Park wins top marks for making the best first impression. As you enter the estate, the magnificent castle appears on the horizon, and the road sweeps round so you get full view of the hotel and grounds.
We parked up outside the main reception to check in, and were then directed over to the coach house as that is where we were staying. A member of staff helped us up to the room with our bags, and then left us to get settled in.
The porter actually popped back to the room a couple of minutes later to kindly let us know that there are electric car charging facilities for guests. This is quite standard now at a lot of hotels, but it’s great that we were made aware of this.
We were upgraded to one of the ‘Earls Rooms’ which was huge! It had the comfiest bed, a separate sofa, and an enormous bathroom with double shower and separate bath.
There were all the facilities you would expect in the room, with robes, slippers, tea (Yorkshire Gold!) and coffee, biscuits etc. In the wardrobe they also provided a couple of quilted coats for us to wear for walking around the grounds if it was cold.
When we made our booking, we made the staff aware of Nick’s dietary requirements, and they’d put some gluten free biscuits in the room - like I said, the attention to detail was spot on.
After breakfast the next morning we took the time to explore the castle. A lot of the rooms and interiors are old fashioned, but not in a bad way. It feels luxurious throughout, and I like that they’ve kept the decor in keeping with the history of the building without trying to modernise.
If we’re going away on a mini break, the #1 priority for me is that the hotel has a spa, and of course Swinton has a country club and spa for guests. It was so quiet at the spa (I think because we were there mid week in April - it was a lot busier on the Friday morning before we left), and the peacefulness made it even more relaxing.
We’d booked a few treatments in advance - I booked the wellbeing massage, and Nick had the Bamford body signature treatment and an Indian head massage. All the spa treatments use Bamford products which are completely natural and organic, and smell amazing too! We both felt incredibly relaxed after our treatments, and I’d visit again just for the day to use the spa and have a massage.
In the main spa area there is a large indoor pool, with loungers and comfy seats for guests. And from the pool area you can go through to the ‘thermal suite’ where there are foot spas, an aroma steam room, a Finnish sauna, a salt room, and hydrotherapy pool. We spent a bit of time here during our stay, and again it was very quiet and I quite often had a steam room or sauna to myself.
Outside is a hot tub, and a natural bio-filtered pool. When we were checking into the spa, the receptionist recommended that we try the outdoor natural pool even though it was quite cold. I braved this a few times, and it was extremely cold so I only managed a few lengths each time I went in, but I felt great afterwards.
There’s also a gym - I had good intentions and packed my gym clothes, but didn’t go. And there’s also a wild swimming lake that we saw on our walk around the grounds.
Onto the main event… the food!
There are two restaurants at Swinton.. Samuels which offers a fine dining experience, and The Terrace which has a more relaxed vibe.
On both mornings we had breakfast at Samuels. There’s a large breakfast buffet with all the usual items… cereal, toast, yogurt, fruit, smoked salmon, and some hot items as well. And they have a separate a la carte menu too which has everything you would expect on a good breakfast menu… full english, eggs benedict, porridge etc, and vegetarian & vegan choices too.
There are lunch options available at The Terrace, the Bivouc Cafe, and there’s also a lunch menu at the spa. We opted for a sandwich at the spa, thinking it would be a light lunch before dinner at The Terrace in the evening. But the sandwiches were a lot bigger than we were expecting, such generous portions. I went for a BLT made with locally sourced bacon which was smoky, salty and just delicious.
We ventured out of Swinton Park for dinner on our first night, and on the second evening booked a table at The Terrace. I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant, it was bright and airy, and had a really chilled vibe. The restaurant has an open kitchen as well so you can see the chefs creating the delicious dishes.
The dishes are made using local and seasonal produce, with a lot of the ingredients coming from the estate. I ordered a few of the small plates, with a side portion of triple cooked chips. The highlight of the meal was a caramelised potato custard, with confit jersey royals finished on the josper, asparagus, wild garlic & walled garden herbs. I’ve never had a potato custard before, but it was rich, silky, and so creamy!
There’s also an outside seating area at The Terrace which would be perfect for al fresco dining on warmer evenings.
The main restaurant at Swinton is Samuels, however we decided not to eat there on this visit. But it’s somewhere I would certainly try next time we come.
Nick is gluten and dairy free, and all the staff were extremely helpful everywhere we ate with explaining which options could be made suitable for his diet.
Although we decided to spend most of our time relaxing in the spa, there is plenty to do at Swinton. In the main building there’s a board put out each day with the activities that are happening - for example on one of the days we were there, activities included a walk to see the deer, and an outdoor barefoot walking experience.
Being in the Yorkshire countryside, there are plenty of walks to go on around the 20,000 acre estate. On our final morning, we set off to explore part of the estate, and had a longer walk than expected through the kitchen gardens, and up into the woods and around the lakes. It was incredibly peaceful, I think we only saw two other people the whole time on our walk.
Back at the hotel, there is a games room with a snooker table, darts board, board games, and even a little cinema space. And there’s a cookery school too which I’m certainly going to be booking on soon, I just need to decide which course to do because there are some great options like fish & seafood, modern world street food, or artisan bread-making.
Other activities include… forest bathing, pilates & yoga classes, laser clay shooting, golf, fishing, cocktail & mocktail making, and so much more. You can see what’s on over summer here.
We absolutely loved our stay at Swinton Park, and it’s somewhere we’ll visit again. The service from all members of staff was excellent, everyone was so helpful and we were made to feel so welcome.
They also have an estate shop just next to the spa where you can buy food & drink made with ingredients grown on the estate, like apple juice, chutney and honey. They also stock some local and artisanal food products, and have a curated range of homeware, kitchenware, garden and beauty products too. Guests staying at the hotel receive 10% off at the shop.
And make sure you sign up to their rewards program. It’s essentially a loyalty scheme and you earn points when you spend. The points can then be converted to vouchers on future visits for things such as afternoon tea, spa treatments, or cookery school courses.
We also had fun making a Wes Anderson style film of our stay, I couldn’t resist jumping on that trend and Swinton seemed like the perfect place for it!