General Press Details

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Swinton Park : General Press Details
Date: 9th May 2004

Swinton Park is a magnificent ancestral castle set in 200 acres of parkland, lakes and gardens at the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. The building dates from the 1600’s, but significant alterations were made in the 1700’s and again in the late 1800’s when the building was castellated in the Victorian gothic style, with the addition of a six storey turret.

Unusually the Cunliffe-Lister family bucked the trend when they bought back their ancestral home in May 2000. Molly, Countess of Swinton, was the last member of the family to live there before it was sold in 1980.

Mark (Molly’s great grand-son) and his wife Felicity Cunliffe-Lister married in June 2000 and on return from honeymoon moved to Swinton to start the refurbishment work. They both gave up their careers for the project, Mark a geophysicist and Felicity a city solicitor. They are joined by Mark’s mother Susan (daughter of Willie Whitelaw) and his uncle, The Earl of Swinton, as directors of the family company.

Swinton Park was opened as a luxury castle hotel in March 2001. The thirty bedrooms have each been individually designed on the theme of a Yorkshire town, dale, garden, castle or abbey. One of the rooms is on three levels in the turret with a splendid Victorian rainbath, and there are four suites.

On the ground floor there are five spacious and elegant reception rooms and also the restaurant Samuel’s named after Mark’s great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Cunliffe-Lister. Guests eat in sumptuous surroundings with an ornate gold leaf ceiling, mahogany panelling, portraits of Samuel and an open fire.

The menu combines modern British style with the very best traditional ingredients (with a selection of meat, game and produce from the 20,000 acre family estate and four acre walled garden). Complemented by an exclusive selection of the finest wines, an evening at Samuel’s is a unique opportunity to savour Yorkshire’s heritage. The restaurant will normally seat 60, with an adjoining private dining room seating up to 25.

Private parties and meetings for up to 120 delegates are catered for in the Library, the Panelled Room and three syndicate rooms, which combine the style and elegance of a country house with the up to date facilities and equipment of a modern venue. The private sitting and dining rooms are particularly popular with smaller parties.

The surrounding family estate offers every country pursuit imaginable, including golf, fishing, shooting, a four mile horse riding course and moorland pony trecking, walking, mountain biking, off roading, croquet, falconry and even model yacht racing on the lake. Within the hotel there is a charming spa in the conservatory, tournament sized snooker table and private cinema.

Swinton Park has an AA rating of four red stars at 82% (“a thoroughly enjoyable visit to a hotel clearly setting national standards of excellence”). The restaurant, Samuel’s, has been awarded 2 rosettes. Swinton Park is now featured in the Michelin Guide and Good Hotel Guide and has been awarded :

Yorkshire Life Hotel of the Year 2002
Yorkshire Tourist Board White Rose Awards Best Hotel 2003
Yorkshire Tourist Board White Rose Awards Outstanding Customer Services Award 2003
Excellence in England/Visit Britain Hotel of the Year 2004

During the winter months of 2003/2004, the first class carriage restaurant on GNER trains is serving a menu selected by our chef. A taste of Yorkshire is now being served from London King's Cross to Edinburgh! Over half a million lunches and dinners are served on GNER trains every year, and you can read more about Chef and his menu in the on-board Livewire magazine.

The four acre walled garden has now been restored by Mark’s mother, Susan, (Country Life Gardener of the Year 2001) to a working vegetable garden, supplying the kitchen and cookery school with herbs and fresh produce, along with flowers for the house.

Rosemary Shrager, the celebrity TV chef, joined Swinton Park in May 2003 to run her award winning cookery school in the converted Georgian stables. Her 2004 programme of residential and day courses cover a wide range of techniques, skills and styles of cooking. The school is also available for private hire.

In recognition of the hotel’s commitment to the development and training of their staff, Swinton Park was awarded the Investors in People Standard in April 2002.