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Swinton Estate: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide (2024)

Swinton Estate: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide (2024)

Swinton Estate is one of the largest privately owned estates in all of England. Beautifully located in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the Yorkshire Dales, the estate offers plenty of fun activities for guests staying on the estate as well as for those simply visiting for the day.

In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Swinton Estate in Yorkshire. Whether you’re staying on the estate for an extended period, a weekend or just simply visiting on a day trip, we’ll cover all of the essential things you need to know.

What Is the Swinton Estate?

Swinton Estate is a huge estate in North Yorkshire that has been privately owned by the Cunliffe-Lister family since the 1880s. The estate is roughly 20,000 acres in size and is mostly made up of forest, farmland and open moorland.

For many years, visitors have flocked to Swinton Estate to enjoy the spectacular countryside in comfort. Most notably, since 2001, visitors can stay at the estate’s Swinton Park Hotel, which is the estate’s luxury castle hotel. Whilst, for an incredible glamping experience, the estate offers the rustic Swinton Bivouac.

Additionally, the estate is well-known for its Swinton Country Club and Spa and the Swinton Cookery School. Whilst, most recently in 2019, the estate opened permissive paths in its stunning Parklands and Gardens. This meant greater access to the estate for those just visiting on a day trip who aren’t necessarily staying on the premises.

Read our guide about the Druid’s Temple on Swinton Estate

Dan walks in the Swinton Estate

Swinton Estate History

The history of Swinton Estate dates back to the late 1600s. At this time, the estate was owned by the Danby family. They were responsible for landscaping the Parkland and Gardens, the Deer Park and the Deer House. Whilst, specifically, William Danby, who was a former owner of the estate, commissioned the construction of Druid’s Temple sometime between the late 1700s and early 1800s.

As mentioned, the Cunliffe-Lister family took ownership of the estate in the 1880s and have owned it ever since!

Location: Where Is Swinton Estate?

Swinton Estate is located in North Yorkshire near Masham and Ripon. As mentioned, the estate falls inside the Nidderdale AONB on the eastern border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To help you get your bearings, please click on the link below to access an interactive map of the area.

A screenshot of a map showing where Swinton Estate is located.

A Day Out at a Luxury Castle Hotel in Yorkshire

There are plenty of fantastic activities on offer at Swinton Estate. Personally, Beck and I visited the estate on a day trip and really enjoyed it.

We’re all about exploring the great outdoors and visiting natural attractions. So, we spent most of our time in the sublime Parkland and Gardens. If you’re not staying on the estate and you’d like to visit the Parkland and Gardens, you’ll need to buy a day pass. It costs £5 per adult and £2.50 per child, whilst children younger than five can enter for free. Of course, prices are subject to change. Please let us know in the comments if you’re charged more.

Afterwards, we explored the spectacular grounds at Swinton Park Hotel and checked out the Deer Park. We then visited the charming Swinton Bivouac Cafe and scoped out the Druid’s Temple.

Of course, there are plenty of other fun activities to do at Swinton Estate. Below, we’ll talk about some of the best things you can do during a trip to the estate.

Dan walks on a path surrounded by flowers

Best Activities at Swinton Estate

When it comes to estates in Yorkshire, no other estate even goes close to offering so many amazing activities. To give you a sense of what’s on offer, we’ve listed the most popular things to do, places to see and activities to experience.

  • Parkland and Gardens: wild swimming, nordic walking
  • Birds of Prey: falconry
  • Swinton Cookery School: cookery courses
  • Swinton Country Club and Spa: multiple classes and thermal experiences
  • Shooting: laser clay and clay pigeon
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching
  • Golf
  • Geocaching
  • The Druid’s Temple

Because Beck and I spent the most amount of time at the Parkland and Gardens and Druid’s Temple, we’ll talk about these two places in more detail below. Certainly, these are two must-see places during a trip to the estate.

A sign near the Druid's Temple

Swinton Estate Parkland and Gardens

Once you’ve passed through the Estate Shop, you’ll pass the flower meadow, before heading through the lovely Walled and Cutting Gardens. You’ll then pass a play area, head through the Spring Garden and then follow the permissive path along the edge of the deer park (if you head in a clockwise direction).

Hopefully, you’ll be able to spot many beautiful deer relaxing in the park. You’ll then pass the quaint Coffin Pond and eventually reach Top Lake.

A map of the Swinton Estate Parkland

After seeing the waterfall at the Quarry Gill, you’ll pass the Lake House and Island, which is accessible by hand ferry. You’ll then leave Top Lake, taking in the magnificent Dales View, before passing the exquisite Lily Pond.

Afterwards, you’ll pass by follies before crossing a bridge that leads by the side of Coffin Pond once more. You’ll soon pass the Wild Swimming Platform, which may be calling you if you’ve worked up a sweat. We simply enjoyed the views, before heading to the Swinton Park Hotel to explore the grounds there.

Beck at the Wild Swimming Platform on Swinton Estate

Druid’s Temple

After wandering around the breathtaking grounds at the Swinton Park Hotel, we then headed to the Druid’s Temple. On initial inspection, the temple seems to be pre-historic, similar to Stonehenge. But, in reality, the temple is nothing more than an elaborate folly! Still, there is a lot of uncertainty about the history of the temple, making it one of the most mysterious and intriguing attractions to visit in Yorkshire.

The temple itself consists of a prominent stone circle with various stone features such as cairns, chambers, obelisks, altars, menhirs, dolmens, sarsens and other free-standing stones. Indeed, the temple very much resembles an authentic pre-historic temple built by Druids.

To reach the Druid’s Temple, you’ll want to park at Swinton Bivouac. If you’re a guest staying on the estate or you’ve bought a day pass, you can park at the small parking area for free. From Swinton Bivouac, it’s just a short walk to the fascinating attraction.

Definitely, you’ll need to enter the stone circle and check out all of the unique stone structures. But, one of the best vantage points to enjoy the folly is from above. So, after you’ve walked inside the stone circle, follow the short trail leading up and away from the temple. The lookout is definitely a great place for photography.

Read more: Druid’s Temple – 12 Things to Know About Visiting

Swinton Country Club and Spa (Swinton Park and Spa)

Undoubtedly, the Swinton Country Club and Spa (AKA the Swinton Park and Spa, Swinton Park Hotel Spa and Swinton Estate Spa) offers one of the best spa breaks in the Yorkshire Dales.

Other than the usual thermal experiences (several pools, steam rooms, saunas, etc.), the Swinton Country Club and Spa offer some other unique activities. These include forest bathing, sound baths, wild swimming, reiki drumming, pilates classes, yoga classes and meditation classes.

Personally, we didn’t take part in any of these activities. But, if you’re after relaxation, you’ll definitely want to head here!

Beck at the Swinton Country Club and Spa

Where to Stay at Swinton Estate

One of the main attractions of Swinton Estate is staying at the historic Swinton Park Hotel near Masham. Certainly, when it comes to luxury hotels in Yorkshire or the best Masham or Ripon hotels, it’s hard to beat Swinton Park Hotel.

Swinton Park Hotel (AKA Swinton Park)

Also known as the Swinton Estate Hotel and the Swinton Estate Castle, the Swinton Park Hotel is perhaps the most highly-rated accommodation option in the Yorkshire Dales. Beautifully set next to the Deer Park and Parkland and Gardens, the Swinton Park Hotel enjoys a gorgeous natural ambience. Whilst, the four-star luxurious castle hotel is actually a Grade II listed heritage building. So, as expected, the hotel itself and its rooms are opulent, grand and immaculate. I mean, let’s be honest, staying in a luxury castle would be an amazing experience.

At the Swinton Park Hotel, there are actually two main accommodation types. Let’s briefly explore these options below.

Stay at Swinton Park Hotel

A hotel room
  • An exclusive 42 bedroom luxury castle hotel
  • Three swimming pools
  • Fitness centre
Swinton Park Hotel
Deer in the woods

Bedrooms and Suites

The Swinton Park Hotel offers bedrooms and suites in the form of double and twin rooms, with standard, classic, superior and deluxe options.

Self-Catering Cottages

Otherwise, Swinton Park Hotel also offers gorgeous self-catering country houses. For more information about both bedrooms, suites and self-catering cottages, please head to to look at more images, descriptions and reviews.

Swinton Bivouac

Whilst, another amazing accommodation option at Swinton Estate is Swinton Bivouac. The yurts and tree lodges at Swinton Bivouac are some of the most unique places you can stay in the Yorkshire Dales. Indeed, staying at Swinton Bivouac is an unforgettable glamping experience.

Again, we recommend heading to to look at even more photos of the epic yurts and tree lodges. Additionally, you can read more descriptions and suss out reviews to make sure Swinton Bivouac will be an appropriate place for you to stay!

Stay at Swinton Bivouac

A hotel room
  • One of the best glamping experiences in Yorkshire
  • Serene and peaceful setting
  • Communal hot tub
Swinton Bivouac sign
Swinton Bivouac yurts

Swinton Estate Accommodation ​​​​​​Prices

It probably doesn’t come as a great surprise that spending a night at the Swinton Park Hotel isn’t cheap (£250–430/night). Whilst, a night at Swinton Bivouac will cost around £160–200/night. Sure, both options are nowhere near budget-friendly accommodation. But, if you’re looking for somewhere special to stay in the Yorkshire Dales, certainly look no further than Swinton Park Hotel or Swinton Bivouac.

Dining at Swinton Estate

There are some delightful dining options at the Swinton Estate. The estate is well-known for having exceptional restaurants, namely Samuel’s Restaurant and The Terrace Restaurant. Otherwise, the Swinton Bivouac Cafe is a great option for a lighter meal or hot beverage. Let’s briefly look at these dining options below.

Samuel’s Restaurant

Samuel’s Restaurant actually dates all the way back to 1880. The elegance of the decor is certainly matched by exceptional levels of service, a top-notch wine selection and a seasonal fine-dining menu. Whilst, the restaurant also provides far-reaching views over the Parklands and Gardens. Overall, Samuel’s Restaurant provides stellar service and a wonderful dining experience.

The Terrace Restaurant

In comparison, the Terrace Restaurant offers a more modern vibe combining globally-inspired flavours with estate-grown seasonal produce. The menu has an extensive range of options, offering food and drinks for any occasion, whether it’s brunch or a cheeky cocktail at the bar in the evening.

Swinton Bivouac Cafe

Located at Swinton Bivouac, you’ll find the delightful Swinton Bivouac Cafe. It’s a delightful cafe offering yummy treats, whilst having a charming decor. Beck and I really enjoyed visiting the Swinton Bivouac Cafe after exploring Druid’s Temple. Certainly, if you’re after a cake or a hot beverage, head to the cafe to get your fix!

Swinton Bivouac Cafe
Swinton Bivouac Cafe

How to Get to Swinton Estate

The quickest and easiest way to get to Swinton Estate is to drive yourself there. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Discover Cars for very reasonable prices. Also, the website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy. Have a look at car hire from Manchester.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

There is no public transport to the Swinton Estate. If you need to use public transport, your best bet is to get to Masham and then a taxi to the estate.

Things to Do Nearby in the Yorkshire Dales

There are many other fantastic things to do in the nearby Nidderdale area of the Yorkshire Dales. Let’s look at some of the best attractions in the area, so you know what else to do in the Nidderdale AONB during a visit.

  • Hackfall Woods: gorgeous woodlands next to the estate with plenty of natural attractions and monuments to visit.
  • Masham: a gorgeous town located near the estate – definitely worth doing a brewery tour at the Theakston Brewery!
  • Brimham Rocks: a mindblowing area of uniquely shaped gritstone rock formations.
  • Stump Cross Caverns: one of the most famous show caves in the UK.
  • How Stean Gorge: an incredible limestone gorge where you can do many adventurous activities.
  • Swinsty Reservoir and Fewston Reservoir: you can walk around each of these reservoirs individually or walk around both of them during a longer circular walk.
  • Yorkes Folly: the walk to Yorkes Folly is one of the best walks in Pateley Bridge.

Read more: Nidderdale AONB Visitor’s Guide – 20 Awesome Things to Do

Dan at Brimham Rocks in the Nidderdale AONB
Brimham Rocks


Below, we’ll answer the most frequently asked questions about Swinton Estate.

Dan walks in woodlands

Who Owns the Swinton Estate?

The Cunliffe-Lister family.

What Is the Nearest Train Station to Swinton Estate?

The nearest train stations to the estate are Thirsk (24km / 15 miles) and Northallerton (25km / 16 miles). As you can see, using public transport to get to the estate isn’t convenient or straightforward. Certainly, driving there yourself is preferable.

Is Swinton Estate Dog Friendly?

The estate is an ultra-dog-friendly site. For an additional cost, you’re even able to have pooch stay with you at Swinton Park Hotel or Swinton Bivouac.

Other Yorkshire Dales Guides

Hardraw Force

For more information about the best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales, click the button below. Otherwise, to help you get started, read our 42 Best Yorkshire Dales Walks or 48 Best Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls guides.

Best Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales

Bonus Tips For Visiting Swinton Estate

  • Swinton Park Hotel offers: if you’re a Genius member on, you may have excellent deals and offers for Swinton Park Hotel or Swinton Bivouac. Click on the links to find out!
  • Consider packages at the Swinton Country Club and Spa: for the best value, consider purchasing a package to combine multiple experiences together for an overall better price.
  • Other things to do nearby in Nidderdale: visit the Himalayan Garden and Sculpture Park or the famous Fountains Abbey.

Please leave us a comment below.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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