May 19, after a night pub hopping in Edinburgh we woke up and headed out for a morning tour aboard City Sightseeing Edinburgh, which once again highlighted interesting historical buildings and attractions en route, where we hopped off at Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile.
With an exciting evening ahead of us, we opted to hop on the train at Edinburgh Waverly to continue our journey to Northallerton station, in the Yorkshire Dales of England. The TransPennine Express train has a nice first class carriage, complete with at-table menu service and hot meal options that can be ordered and enjoyed en route. This first class experience was just beginning as next it was onto Swinton Park Castle Hotel! After a picturesque 25 minute taxi ride through farmland and quaint towns we arrived at our castle for the night. First impressions:
- Wow! Driving through the gates, you make your way up a large circular driveway and step through the tower entrance.
- Reception welcomes you with a warm smile and takes you around the castle hotel to point out the different rooms, including a drawing room, library, bar, dining room, spa and path to the gardens.
- People are enjoying the surroundings, with a few groups sitting on the terrace having drinks, others making their way to the adjacent golf course and strolling through the gardens.
- When you enter your suite, the views are breathtaking, the furniture is antique rich, and the bathroom is beautifully lit, complete with Molton Brown products and plush bath robes.
After taking in all the splendor of our suite, we made our way to the gardens, where rhododendron trees are bursting with bright fuchsia flowers, lily pad lakes are spotted throughout the trail and nature is perfectly present – where birds, ducks, bees, rabbits, deer and sheep roam around freely.
Next it was time to freshen up and present ourselves for drinks and dinner. Where to begin…the ingredients are so fresh and grown in the castle’s very own gardens. The service is unbelievably efficient, informative and friendly. The plates arrive in beautiful displays of textures and colours and, most importantly, they taste absolutely delicious. We enjoyed tuna tartar, smoked duck, roast lamb and grilled bass. Feeling utterly content, we retired to the drawing room to relax and read before calling it a night – a fairytale night in our very own castle!
Note: Castle stays are offered throughout England and are quite a unique experience to compliment any visit. After flying in from abroad, touring the countryside and cities, it’s nice to have a special night planned to treat yourself to something you most likely don’t have the opportunity to do at home. Swinton Castle Park is a leading choice for your castle stay as it is not only stunningly beautiful but it has also won numerous awards including, Family Hotel of the Year, Hotel of the Year, Sustainable Tourism Award, Green Business Award, among many others. Another great way to travel green!
For more information on planning your trip: Visit England.
Stay tuned for day 7 where we conquer the city of York…
Jen’s highlight of the day: our evening in the castle’s drawing room, where the atmosphere was cozy, the furnishing lavish and the mood tranquil.
Angela’s highlight of the day: walking through the gardens on the castle’s 200 acres of landscaped parkland, peaking through all the gates so as not to miss one nook or cranny.
By: Angela Guezen
Photos by: Jen Crane