If you’ve followed me on here or on my social media for a little while, you’ll know I’m due to give birth to our second child any day now. You’ll also know that I run my own business and have found juggling the work-life balance, whilst pregnant, quite tough. It’s been hard to let go, stop working and rest-up when my body has been telling me I need to! So it took me until I was 37 weeks pregnant to arrange a babymoon at Swinton Estate, Yorkshire…long overdue!
Babymoon at Swinton Estate, Yorkshire
I will say, the best thing to do, is grab a cuppa (or glass of wine!) and take the ten minutes to watch my vlog of our experience, as it’s the best way to truly see how beautiful Swinton Estate is and get a feel for how relaxing our babymoon and spa experience was.
But if you don’t have that time right now, then I’ll tell you a bit about Swinton Estate right here, right now…
So the estate an epic 20,000 acre site in Yorkshire is made up of the luxury Swinton Park Hotel, Country Club and Spa, Cookery School and Bivouac (aka glamping!). It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Manchester and a 1 hour drive from York – so the perfect distance for a UK getaway in the North of England.
The drive-up is beautiful and the estate grounds are incredibly impressive on approach, so you know you’re in for a good stay as soon as you arrive. We pulled-up to the castle-like turret which marks the Main Reception and were instantly greeted by friendly staff, offering to take our bags, park our car and welcome us into the hotel.
Within minutes, the hubby had a glass of bubbles and me a bucks fizz in hand and we were being shown to our suite…the Harrogate, which had double-aspect views across the front and side of the hotel grounds (which were unspoilt countryside and wildlife…bliss!).
There’s a room walk-through in the vlog, so do check it out, but the Harrogate is a large suite, with walk-in wardrobe, huge bathroom and humungous bed (perfect when heavily pregnant!). The personal touches like locally made shortbread to go with our Yorkshire tea and a mini bottle of Sloe-gin, made for a wonderful welcome and settling-in to our room and I quickly nestled into the hotel guide, story and amenities folder (my favourite part of arriving at a new hotel!).
We unpacked and didn’t waste any time in heading down to the Country Club and Spa, as we were able to use the facilities throughout our stay at Swinton Estate, Yorkshire and both of us were in dire need of some down-time, without our phones/emails and to just lie there and do nothing (our toddler was happily at home with the grandparents!).
The Country Club and Spa
Just a short (maybe 100 metre) walk across the hotel courtyard and through the estate, is the spa. It’s modern and beautifully designed and entirely spotless and welcoming on arrival. On our first afternoon, we decided to laze by the indoor pool (it wasn’t quite warm enough for us to lie by the outdoor natural pool, though some guests were happily tucked-up under warm blankets and cuddling hot water bottles as it was dry and sunny and the views are lovely). It’s a great size and the loungers extremely comfortable, with plenty of cushions for me to support my epic baby bump and aching legs. I dipped in and out of the pool throughout the afternoon and explored the Thermal Suite, which unfortunately wasn’t suitable for me to use that heavily pregnant, but the hubby happily indulged in!
With our headphones in, listening to podcasts, we dozed the afternoon away happily, before meandering back to our suite for an hour or two, before getting ready for dinner.
My Pregnancy Massage and relaxation
I’ll jump ahead to the next day here, as we’re talking about our spa experience. I had a special Bamford Pregnancy Massage one of their Baby and You treatments at the spa. It was 60 minutes of utter bliss! I arrived 30 minutes earlier, to take my time getting ready and to relax, pre-treatment and I’m so glad I did! I was welcomed into one of the relaxation rooms, with the most comfortable chez lounges, overlooking the pool area below, where I set myself up with pillows, that felt like my whole body was supported. I was then invited through for my 60-minute massage.
Now, pregnancy massages done well are amazing, as just having the pressure taken off your joints and muscles is exquisite. The pregnancy massage at Swinton Estate, Yorkshire is exceptional!
The massage bed is the most comfortable I’ve ever been on – super soft, wide and supportive, it seems to adjust in every possible way and angle to ensure I was lying at just the right position for my body, bump and back. My knees were supported with cushions, as was my bump when I was laid on my side for the back massage. It genuinely was the most comfortable I’d been in 37 weeks!
The massage itself was ideal, just the right pressure and entirely relaxing. Following which, I was guided through to the “sleep room”, which was a dark room, lit only by a few lanterns, where I could lie happily and peacefully on a water bed, in the dark and rest after my massage. I managed to sleep in this room for about twenty minutes and felt amazing when I awoke. I then made my way down the corridor to the “slumber pods”, which were cosy, dimly-lit relaxation nooks, where you could fully lie out amongst cushions and twinkly star lights and come to before you have to return to real life.
The whole experience was entirely blissful and for anyone pregnant, should not be missed!
Dinner at The Terrace Restaurant
Back to the night before, when we enjoyed dinner on the Swinton Estate, Yorkshire. This really was a feast for the eyes, as well as the belly! Located in between the spa and the main hotel, The Terrace restaurant is a contemporary, seasonal “estate to plate” menu that’ll have you salivating just reading it! Head Chef Chris McPhee and his team, have a wonderful herb and vegetable garden, visible from The Terrace and make use of the game and meat available and reared on the estate too.
The Terrace Restaurant has a modern and unique “small plates” dining experience, where it is recommended that you pick circa eight dishes between two people, to enjoy in a sort of tapas, served-as-it’s-cooked style at your table. It’s informal and relaxed, but stylish and chic, so you definitely feel like you’re out for a treat (or date night, as in our case).
You’re welcomed and sat in the bar, to enjoy drinks (two of the best mocktails I’ve ever tasted!) and peruse the menu and your order is taken in the bar too. This is a really nice approach, as you get to enjoy the space, take your time and relax. You’re then walked through to the main dining room, overlooking the terrace (perfect for al fresco dining) on one side and the open kitchen on the other. I really liked the scandi-meets-Yorkshire interior design influences and ceramics they use in the restaurant.
What we ate…
You can see a sample evening menu here to give you an idea. We actually found it quite hard to narrow-down to just eight dishes and did so by process of elimination, but boy were we happy with what we chose!:
Teriyaki Glazed carrots (genuinely do NOT miss this dish out because it’s carrot! It’s stunningly tasty and will blow you away…one of our favourites of the night!)
Aubergine with toasted pistachio, tomato, creme fraiche, preserved lemon (probably our least favourite, as it just didn’t pack much of a punch, though visually, it was stunning!)
Baked ratte potatoes, sour cream, rosemary, raclette cheese, pickled cucumber (reminded me of being in Switzerland with the gooey raclette and sharp cornichon pickles…mmmm)
Yorkshire ham and wild garlic arancini, with wild garlic mayo (another of our faves!)
Lamb burger, rosemary, mint, tzatziki, crispy crottin, goats cheese (the hubby devoured this happily as I don’t eat lamb)
Tempura Monkfish, Pea, Samphire, Saffron aioli (delicious, meaty piece of fish with a perfectly light and crispy batter)
Jospered Beef Bavette, Roscoff Onion, Bearnaise (we asked for this rare, so I couldn’t indulge, but did eat the seared edges, which were delightful with the yummiest bearnaise!).
Pork Belly, Kimchi, Apple, Hot Sauce, Yoghurt (another of our favourite dishes, this was perfectly balanced, with melt-in-your-mouth crispy pork crackling and succulent belly and for me, the best kimchi I’ve ever tasted!).
So you can see the array of dishes on offer and they came out in twos and threes, which made for a really fun, relaxed and interactive way of eating with each other.
Then it was time for dessert…
And because we couldn’t choose, we opted for all three! (Well, why not ‘ey!).
Peanut Butter Parfait, Banana, Peanuts (everything to throw you back to your childhood of peanut butter and banana sandwiches…though the hubby says I’m weird for eating that?! Are you with me or him?)
Chocolate Mousse Cake, Orange Ice Cream (essentially a posh jaffa cake and absolutely delicious! The mousse was light and airy, not rich and dense like we worried it could be, sandwiched between two sponge layers and balanced perfectly with orange ice cream).
Garden Rhubarb Pavlova (although not my immediate choice, it was recommended by our waitress and was the stand-out dessert of the three! Seasonal, light, packed full of flavour and texture…it was also a feast for the eyes!).
Needless to say, we left our dinner at The Terrace, Swinton Estate, entirely satisfied and full and happy to indulge in a stroll around the grounds to walk it off. Do not miss out on eating here if you visit the estate!
Anyone who’s been heavily pregnant will know that getting comfortable enough to sleep well is incredibly difficult. But our bed was so large and laden with pillows, that I could totally spread out and support my entire body enough to get a really good night’s sleep. (Plus there was no toddler in the middle of us, kicking-us in the ribs and back!).
Following a restful night’s sleep and waking up to the stunning view of the Yorkshire Dales, we head down to Samuel’s Restaurant, the hotel dining room for breakfast. We were spoilt for choice when walking into this impressive room and chose a table by the grand windows overlooking the grounds. The room is incredibly elegant and we enjoyed a continental breakfast of pastries, granola and a shot of the hotel’s yoghurt smoothie which they brought round for everyone. Then I couldn’t resist the french toast, with crispy bacon and maple syrup (which was perfection!) and my hubby enjoyed a yummy local full english breakfast, black pudding and all!
Will we go back?
The answer to this is…absolutely, 100%, without a doubt, yes!
In fact, we can’t wait to go back to Swinton Estate, Yorkshire and are already thinking it could be a bi-annual ritual for us, as we both realised the importance of getting away together, just the two of us, even if for only one night. And as it’s not far from Manchester, but far enough, it’s in just the right location for us. It’s the perfect balance of grand formality and impressive surroundings, with friendly and approachable staff and amenities. It feels like a treat, without being stuffy and over the top. It really is ideal.
And actually, I know our daughter would love it as much as we did, especially with the sprawling grounds and wildlife, so perhaps we’ll even take her one day…
For more of my travel posts, click here, as we venture across the UK often, as well as further afield, with and without the toddler!