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Park set in 200 acres of parkland, lakes and gardens is an exclusive 30 bedroom luxury castle hotel. Its beauty is quite an experience – surrounded by rivers, reservoirs, moorland and of course the lovely Yorkshire dales.

LondOnTheInside’s oldies took the trip up to Ripon to stay a night at this extravagant stately home. Upon entering the grounds the castle becomes more impressive the closer you get, driving under an archway and along a sweeping gravel driveway we felt like we were on the set of Jane Eyre.

A glass door entrance takes you in to the reception area with high ceilings and a grand contemporary look. Greeted with a warm welcome we were given a quick tour of the hotel, first to the drawing room with grand piano, then to a huge lounge with an open fire and bay window looking out over the lake.

There is a private dining room available for hire and a small bar. The dining room with gold inlay marked on the high ceilings and beautifully decorated tables is impressive to say the least. A sweeping staircase hung to one side of the wall with portraits filling the wall space. From the upstairs landing the views look out over the Avery, home to the birds of prey. With a well equipped spa and award winning kitchen Swinton Park Hotel is quite the country retreat.

Our room for the night had high ceilings and was decked out with old antique furniture (one side board was from 1600) along with more modern pieces. A king sized bed, corner fire place, flat screen  TV, radio and views looking out over the lake created a romantic setting. There are facilities to make tea and coffee and  you are welcome to help yourself to the decanters of whisky and gin. Easy! The bathroom was ultra modern with a free standing bath, glass cubical with power shower and Molton Brown products lay on the dressing area.

Dying to experience the award winning cuisine we headed down to Samuel’s restaurant. The menu provides a good selection of gourmet dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, some of which are from in the grounds of the castle itself. 

After a couple of hors d’œuvre we started with the goats cheese and lemon mouse, the presentation was second to none, so perfect its delicateness almost refrained us from spoiling it…almost! The mouse itself was light and fluffy and the lemon essence complemented the cheese without overpowering its strong flavour.

Starters were followed by a second tasting of truffle foam which was an experience in itself. For mains we opted for the Yorkshire Beef on a bed of risotto accompanied with mushrooms drizzled in a garlic sauce. The beef was cooked to perfection and whilst risotto might not be the the first thing that comes to mind when you serve Yorkshire Beef it provided an excellent contrast in textures and flavours.

With time to digest and mule over a glass of house red wine the waiter returned with the sweet menu. The chocolate mouse with a chocolate crust was rich and dense whilst the summer fruits were fresh and juicy. Choosing to take coffees into the lounge we were offered homemade chocolates truffles which provided the perfect end to an indulgent meal.

During our stay we tested a treatment in the spa, located in the conservatory, which is open to the public not just guests. The therapist was welcoming and knowledgeable and we thoroughly enjoyed our foot and back massage.

The Swinton Park Hotel offers great settings, top notch gourmet food and the chance to unwind in comfortable and beautiful surrounding. A romantic get away or country break you will be impressed with more than just the castle.

Room rates start from £150 per night, bed and breakfast

Swinton Park, Masham, Ripon, North Yorks, HG4 4JH.