Book glamping near Swinton Bivouac
Little Seed FieldRipon, North Yorkshire, North East England
Glamping in Ripon
Glamping in North Yorkshire
Glamping in North East England
Over on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales the countryside is less rugged and, dare we say, a tad more refined. Instead of hardcore hiking and hill-farming, think of glamping as rolling greenery, meadows and woodland – country-house country if you like, radiating out from well-to-do market towns like Masham. Swinton Bivouac fits these surroundings like a well-bred lady’s glove, offering genteel outdoors’ overnighting in a bucolic corner of the grand 20,000-acre Swinton Estate.
The glampsite is an enchanting location, set beneath a tree-shrouded, 18th-century folly known as the Druid’s Temple. Here you'll find a scattering of fully furnished hillside yurts with see-for-miles views (each sleeping up to five), Robinson-Crusoe woodland lodges (sleeping up to seven), a bunkhouse (for up to eight) stylishly fashioned from former farm buildings, and a rustic-chic terraced café at the heart of the operation, the eponymous Bivouac.
It’s so achingly cool it could have been constructed just for us – from the hand-built, round-wood beds, bunks and timber shacks (using materials sourced from the estate) to the wood-fired stoves and rocking chairs. Fixtures and fittings are handmade or recycled, from chunky, locally made ceramic crockery to wall mirrors fashioned from gnarled tree off-cuts.
There’s running water in the yurts along with an attached toilet, plus gas-stove and terracotta “fridge”. The lodges, meanwhile, not only have bathrooms with instant hot showers and flushing toilets, but also wood-burners with a kitchen range attached – it seems entirely in-keeping that you’re encouraged to pop in a warming stew before you set out for the day.
There are some hardships – erm, let’s see, you have to walk over to the café for internet access and the site is off-grid so don't forget your torch – but between a soak in the wood-fired hot tub (using their own eco-toiletry range, naturally) and a scenic stroll acround the stunning estate grounds, we’ll think you’ll manage.
FacilitiesShacks have toilet, warm-water shower (if you light the burner) and sink; yurts and bunkhouse share excellent facilities down at the café and reception – 6 showers (including 1 disabled-access and 1 dedicated family shower, both with twin shower-heads) and 6 toilets (including 1 disabled-access). Site shop sells some food and supplies, but it’s more of an organic chocolate, eco-toiletry, arty-crafty outlet. Hot-tub requires pre-booking (£60 for a day’s use). Off-ground BBQs are fine, but no campfires.
Suitable ForFamilies, couples, friends, groups, weddings, walkers, basically everyone – yes. Dogs are not permitted.
Food & DrinkYurt dwellers are free to self-cater, making use of the communal kitchen and Weber BBQ area. However, with the Bivouac’s onsite cafe (open daily 9am–4:30pm, until 8pm at weekends) serving up delicious snacks and light meals, you could do a lot worse than this reasonably priced menu. Posh trip out is down the road for afternoon tea, lunch or dinner at Swinton Park (01765 680900) – estate HQ – which is an honest-to-goodness castle with grounds plus swanky cookery school.
Opening TimesThe site and lodges are open all year. The yurts are only available March–October.
Accommodation8 yurts (sleep up to 5 in 1 double bed and 3 singles), 6 lodges (sleeps up to 7 in 2 doubles, 3 singles), and an 8-bed bunk-barn.
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Rated ★★★★★ over 1 reviews