I’m just home from a blissful 3 days in the Yorkshire dales, staying in a Mongolian inspired yurt at the Swinton Bivouac. I’ve stayed here a few times before and once again, it didn’t disappoint.
I’m hesitant to publish this review because I kind of don’t want everyone to know what a special place The Bivouac & the Swinton Estate is- in case it gets full & I can’t book in next time… It is one of the places that you’ll end up going back to time & time again- I genuinely can’t recommend it highly enough.
I had booked a 3 day stay with my daughter as a reward trip for a great school report- we haven’t got a foreign holiday planned this year, so this felt like a lovely treat in the middle of the school holidays instead- plus when I booked, Swinton were doing an amazing 3 nights for 2 offer (so be sure to sign up for their newsletter here to keep on top of any great deals)
The Bivouac is part of the Swinton Estate- 20,000 acres of countryside and of course, the beautiful Swinton Park Hotel. It’s located 18 miles from Harrogate and took about 45 minutes to drive there.
The Bivouac & yurts are a 10 minute drive from Swinton Park Hotel- the road between the two has a ford which was an unexpected bonus as my kids absolutely loved me driving through it!
The Yurts themselves (there are 7 of them) are situated in a field overlooking the breathtaking Nidderdale scenery, You can see a tour around our Yurt on my instagram reel here. There is also a communal camp kitchen (complete with fridge, electric kettle, gas BBQ, hot & cold water & 4 gas hobs) and a wood-fired hot tub.
Within your own Yurt, there is a woodturner stove (we didn’t need it in August, however it’s lovely to have earlier or later in the season) plus there’s a kettle so that you can heat water & fill the hotter bottles that they provide to help keep you toastie!
There is a cool box (ice-packs are freely available in the communal freezer) towels, robes, sleeping masks, a double bed and 2 single beds. It is beautifully done- rustic and outdoorsy yet with a really great eye for style.
Also each yurt has its own private loo, situated in a little shed outside the yurt. Be aware it’s very dark in there at night so don’t forget your torches!
In the Yurt, there is no electricity however they are equipped with lovely fairy lights and plenty of tea-light candles. These I’ve an absolutely gorgeous ambiance at night and really add to the relaxing vibe.
If you don’t fancy cooking yourself, there is the Bivouac cafe, serving food all day long as well as delicious looking cakes & decent coffee. While we were there, we ate a mixture of both options- we BBQ’s ourselves and booked into the Bivouac cafe for a pizza night.
During the day there is tons to do- much of it for free. As a guest at the Bivouac your welcome to explore the grounds at Swinton Park Hotel- We made the most of this and booked wild swimming in the lake (book this with the Spa) we walked up the the Druids Temple and made the most of the sunset whilst enjoying the view over Leighton Reservoir. We also enjoyed doing a bit of Geocaching around the Druids Temple (make sure you take a few cracker-type toys to exchange the caches if you do have a go- they’re the type where you can swap collectables)
The cookery session was 2.5hrs long and is based at Swinton Park Hotel in their cookery school. The age range for this particular session was 10-14 years old however they also offer classes for younger kids (6-9years old) as well as adult courses for all types of food and even Weber BBQ courses.
Eva thoroughly enjoyed her cookery session- in fact, almost as much as I enjoyed stuffing my face with the delicious treats that she made- bread, shortbread and fruit scones. Yum!
Swinton also kindly gifted me a Birds of Prey taster session. This was a half hour session with Mandy from the birds of pray centre in the grounds. Mandy told us all about a variety of their birds and we even got to experience flying three of the birds- we all loved it and it felt like a huge privilege. As well as short introduction sessions, there are Hawk Walks, Owl Encounters & falconry displays.
We also explored the gardens of the hotel- there’s a deer park within full view and you can watch hundreds of deer while you enjoy a picnic. There’s a kids play area in the woods and our favourite bit- a woodland wellness area which consists of large hammocks. Lying in those hammocks taking in the forest (whilst the kids messed around and tried to throw each other out of the hammocks!) was a total highlight for me.
If you’re look for a UK staycation, then I can’t recommend Swinton Bivouac highly enough. If yurts aren’t your thing, then there are also wooden tree-lodges with private hot tubs (which sleep up to 7) and a “loft” which sleeps 6.
Reviewed August 2023
Disclaimer- Sally booked & paid for her yurt independently of this review. Swinton Park hotel kindly gifted her a family swim session at the spa, a junior cookery session and the birds of pray taster session.