Swinton Park Hotel: luxury autumn mini-break in the Yorkshire Dales

As the nights draw in and the days get colder, this means one thing – autumn is officially here and there couldn’t be a more perfect time to consider a luxury mini-break. Before winter hits and Christmas is on the way, why not relax in the rustic and picturesque surroundings of North Yorkshire?

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Swinton Park Hotel in Yorkshire (image source: BKMWorld Flickr)

Swinton Park Hotel and Spa is the perfect choice for a romantic getaway, incorporating that luxurious element which makes a mini-break extra special. Located in 20 kilometres above Harrogate in Masham near Ripon, North Yorkshire, this historic castle dates back to 1695 and has been home to the Earl of Swinton’s family for generations.

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Map of Yorkshire (source: Yorkshire-Cottages.info)

Upholding tradition at Swinton Park

The estate is now owned by the great-grandson of the first Countess to live in Swinton Park, Mark Cunliffe-Lister, and his wife Felicity. The castle has been fully refurbished – transforming it into a five-star luxury hotel and spa, whilst maintaining its original, historical features and charm.

The couple maintain an eco-friendly approach to running the hotel, which is heated using a carbon-neutral woodchip boiler that also provides all the hot water for the hotel. The hotel’s laundry is done on-site using ozone-friendly technology and cleaning agents.

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Grounds of Swinton Park (source: Tricky Flickr)

Electricity and lighting are also energy-efficient and guests are provided with reusable water bottles, ensuring everyone does their bit for the environment during their stay.

The rooms have been perfectly restored in keeping with the original English design, even though parts of the edifice, such as the grand tower, have been added over the years. The hotel stands on an 81-hectare estate consisting of stunning gardens and wide expanses of parkland. It’s the perfect place to go walking and to take in the scenery of the Yorkshire countryside in the fresh autumn weather.

Room with more than a view

Each room in the hotel boasts a spectacular view of the surrounding gardens, so you’re never far away from taking in the tranquil landscapes of North Yorkshire. Modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV are also available in each room. For that extra indulgent edge, the suites and “Duke” rooms provide luxury Jo Malone bath products.

There’s also plenty to do in and around the hotel. During the autumn and winter months, there are cookery courses available in the hotel as well as themed lunches and dinners (if eating rather than cooking is more your thing). For the wine connoisseur the hotel also hosts a Wine Appreciation Lunch that includes both wine-tasting as well as an illuminating talk on wine.

For that extra bit of luxury and relaxation, Swinton Park has its own spa with six treatment rooms, a relaxation room and a Canadian cedar hot tub. There are a multitude of treatments and complimentary therapies available as well as packages that include either one or two nights staying in the hotel.

Fresh approach at Swinton Park

The restaurant at Swinton Park is quite unique. Susan Cunliffe-Lister (award-winning gardener) created a walled two-hectare garden to provide the hotel’s restaurant with the freshest produce possible. The garden includes various vegetables and fruits such as artichokes and asparagus, raspberries and blueberries, as well as 60 different types of herbs and vegetables.

In keeping with the eco-friendly ethos of the hotel, the caretakers and on-site gardeners have a wholly organic approach to maintaining the kitchen garden. They do not use pesticides, weed-killers or any other harmful chemicals.

The restaurant also uses fresh local produce such as fish, poultry and fresh game, from the surrounding area. This contributes to the restaurant’s stellar reputation (it has been awarded 3 AA rosettes). It’s also a member of the Chaine de Rotisseurs association and is listed in the Michelin Guide.

Swinton Park Hotel and Spa
Swinton Park,
North Yorks HG4 4JH
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1765 680900

About Esme Vos

Esme Vos is the founder of Mapplr, a travel site featuring boutique hotels, luxury resorts, travel guides and restaurant reviews. You can find her on and Twitter.