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“Absolutely fantastic” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Bivouac at Druid's Temple

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Bivouac at Druid's Temple
Off of Knowle Lane | Ripon, Masham HG4 4JZ, England (Formerly Bivouac Swinton)   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Absolutely fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

Excellent place I'd go back to again and again. A positive experience for everyone. Comfortable and cosy accommodation and great friendly atmosphere. Beautiful surroundings and excellent service! Food at the cafe was some of the tastiest I've eaten (and I'm a food snob). Very impressed and would recommend to anyone to go!!

  • Stayed May 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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116 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013

Just had a lovely stay at the Bivouac. I was there for a wedding but having seen the wooden lodges I'm looking forward to going back. The site is situated in stunning countryside, it was a peaceful retreat and the cafe was delightful (we all piled in there for breakfast the next day!)

Room Tip: Both the wooden lodges and the Yurts have a good view but the wood fired hot tub near the Lodge shac...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
168 reviews 168 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2013 via mobile

We just went to check the place out for a future stay, and ended up spending a few hours there. The food was great and hospitality outstanding. The location is ideal for kids to run free and we will certainly be back. Looks like there are plenty of activities for children and adults alike.

The food did take a little while to arrive though no longer than if I'd had to have cooked it at home so, given that they are seeking to provide organic locally sourced food, it makes sense that they cook if to order.

We had a look in a yurt and even my non-camping wife expressed interest in staying.

Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2013 via mobile

Our Hen party had a great stay at the Bivouac!! We stayed in the Cosy Bunk Barn which was brilliant!! To have everyone in the same room was great!! We booked the snug attached to the barn which is definitely a must have for a group of you!!! Staff were fantastic!! Always helpful and 'patient'!! Facilities were always clean and tidy!! Beautiful, idyllic location with plenty to do around!! Would definitely recommend 'farm adventure' at Hilltop Farm!!! Awesome!!!
The only downsides that we have are few but there all the same!!
The food that was available was beautiful but there where no cheaper/lighter options.. Everything was a tenner...
Alcohol was about average price except the wine.. Almost £7 a glass!!! This I found was extortionate !!!!
Small issue.. Ran out of hand soap..
Only a few points but still had a brilliant time/experience and will definitely return !!!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Guisborough, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2013

Our stay at The Bivouac was organised through One Off Places and we were asked to write a review for WhatToDoWithTheKids.co.uk. We chose to visit between the 11-13th March and when the day came there was an unseasonable heavy snow fall and temperatures below zero. Perfect weather for testing out the facilities in the worst of conditions!

After a rather tricky journey up a steep and icy bank (our fault as we didn’t read the alternative, suggested route provided by Bivouac staff) we finally arrived to a warm and friendly welcome from Emilie at reception, who took us the short distance to the nearby woods to our Woodland Shack. Kind and thoughtful Bivouac staff had already popped over earlier in the day and lit our wood-burning stove so our shack was nice and toasty.

The shacks are simply, but prettily decorated inside, with a dining/lounge area, a little kitchen area equipped with all the basics, a sleeping area and a private bathroom. Each shack sleeps up to 7 people, with a double bed at ground level, three singles on a mezzanine directly above it, and another double above that right up at the top. The little wood-burning stove provides a source of heat for the shack and hot water for the sinks/showers. It also acts as a mini range for cooking, which adds to the sense of adventure and novelty. There is also a small gas stove provided for making a nice brew. It’s an open plan set-up (apart from the bathroom of course) so you are sharing the space, but the shack is tall and there is ample room for seven people to be inside without feeling cramped. The bed areas also have privacy curtains to pull across if you want to use them.

We arrived just in time to get acquainted with where everything was in the shack before the night drew in. All the accommodation on site is off grid, meaning no electricity, so we set about lighting all the lanterns provided. We had been warned before our arrival that a torch was essential and we would recommend that visitors heed the advice. The tealights provided a wonderful atmosphere in the shack, but did not give out enough light to be able to prepare and cook food or read. We did manage to play some board games by torch light however, which was a novelty!

We ended our first evening sitting in front of the wood burner in the candlelight, with only the occasional hooting owl breaking the silence – no TV, no ipod, no beeps to alert us to a new facebook message. And this is one of the unique experiences that Bivouac can offer to families; a space free of distractions, where you can spend time chatting, playing games, cooking together, enjoying the fresh air and surrounding nature, and then finally climbing into the bunks at the end of the night and calling good night to one another, just like the Waltons.

The top bunk is magical, with a skylight view onto the stars, but on a practical note, it could be a challenge for little kids as it is quite a long climb up the ladder. Parents with small children might want to stay on the ground level double so that they can stay alert to any little feet coming down the ladder at night and also keep little hands away from the wood-burning stove – however fireguards are available to use so this should not be too much of a problem.

Whilst it was literally freezing outside, our shack remained surprisingly warm overnight, with the wood burner managing to remain active into the early hours. We were up at dawn, when the shack was flooded with sunlight, and stoked up the fire again to ensure enough heat to make a cup of tea and provide hot water for showers – it takes a couple of hours to warm up the water supply. If you run out of hot water or if it’s too warm to have the stove on, there is a lovely shower block next to the main building which all guests can use, which even has under floor heating!

In the daylight we were fully able to appreciate the exterior area of our accommodation. The shacks are set on the edge of the woodland with wonderful views over the valley below, and with enough room between each plot to have complete privacy. Every shack has a lovely veranda at the front, equipped with a rocking chair and bench, perfect for making the most of long summer evenings, and it little bit of private garden area for the kids to run around in.

We decided to head down to Bivouac café to sample the breakfast . In our case we chose the locally-produced sausage sandwich, which was fab, along with a great cup of coffee, but there was lots of choice, including plenty of kids bites. James the café manager informed us that all the food is locally-sourced and seasonal where possible, and that chef Tim had previously worked in some fine-dining establishments. This is certainly reflected in the innovative and tasty menu, not to mention the presentation of the food. Breakfast was great so we went back late that afternoon for posh burger and chips.

The café itself is completely geared up for families. Colourful, quirky decoration, books, board games, high chairs, a well equipped family room downstairs which opens out onto a terrace with swings and beautiful views over the country side – an idyllic way to spend a summer’s afternoon or a cold winter day! We understand there are also plans to create a play park on site too, which will be open to the public, like the café.

After breakfast we had a little look in the gift shop, which had an array of essentials in case you forget anything, including food, torches, walking guides, extra tealights and firelighters, as well as local arts and crafts. The helpful staff also provide a facility for charging your phone if necessary.

We decided to take a stroll up to Druids Temple, which was only a few hundred metres into the nearby woods. The impressive folly is a significant size and well worth a look around. A few hundred meters past the folly the forest opens up to an incredible view over the valley and reservoir below. There are a number of paths running through the forest and The Bivouac provide a number of kids trails that can be followed.

When you’ve fully explored the site, there are loads of other nearby attractions to keep the kids busy and entertained including Aysgarth Falls, Hackfall Woods, Newby Hall, Jervaulx Abbey, Fountains Abbey, How Stean Gorge, Forbidden Corner, Studfold Adventure Nature Trail, Brimham Rocks, and many more. If you’re travelling without children, you may also want to take a short drive to the town of Masham, famous for its Theakston and Black Sheep breweries - both provide tours and there is a great cafe/restaurant at the Black Sheep. The town also has a number of fantastic looking pubs and restaurants, a local market on Wednesday and Saturdays, and a several craft and gift shops.

Visiting Bivouac was a unique and unforgettable experience for us, and we would recommend it to any family who wants to do something a bit different on their holidays. It’s also a great place to go for a day visit – combine walking with a delicious meal and maybe an event. We love the fact that the Bivouac team has a strong ethos of sustainability, value family time, and have a real desire to make memories and get back to nature.

We can’t wait for our next visit – in fact we have booked to go on one of their bread making courses and hope to try out one of their yurts at the same time!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

We visited the cafe on Good Friday just after 2 pm, there were a few people in the cafe but not too many. We ordered a ciabatta and a soup (no drinks just water). We waited, and waited and waited, at 2.40 pm my husband asked if our food was on its way and we were told it would be 2 or 3 minutes. At 2.50 pm we gave up waiting and left. A couple who arrived at the same time as us left at 2.30 pm as they could not wait any longer.

We did think it was a bit pricey but are unable to comment if the food was worth it as we never got to eat anything.

On a positive side - it looks a very nice set up, obviously catering for families but if the basics can't be delivered it is pointless to return.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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Leeds, England, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

We booked a Shack in August, three couples (including one pregnant lady!) looking for time away from the modern world of computers, mobile phones and TV - a weekend of 'back to basics'.
We certainly found it!

The reception was friendly, professional and made us feel right at home straight away - even introducing us to a local Hedgehog who'd been found trundling around and looked a bit lost!
The shack itself was perfect - no electricity, but a powerful log burner that powered the shower and hot water, and gave off plenty of heat - more than enough for the six of us!

Situated miles away from reality (or so it seemed), the shack and surrounding area was eerily quiet at night, even more so in the misty morning when all one could see were Sheep and Grouse frolicking a few feet away from the doorstep!
Even the wet weather didn't put a downer on things - there was plenty to explore and even time for a delicious evening meal in the café - veggie and pregnancy friendly too!

Overall, I'd recommend a shack vacation to anyone looking to get away from city life for a while - true, having no electricity or lighting takes a little getting used to, but it was more than worth it - since then we've talked about trying the Yurts (in Summer, if we get one this year).

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bivouac at Druid's Temple

Address: Off of Knowle Lane | Ripon, Masham HG4 4JZ, England (Formerly Bivouac Swinton)
Location: United Kingdom > England > Yorkshire > North Yorkshire > Masham
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Restaurant Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in Masham
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Handmade rustic luxury Woodland Shacks, Meadow Yurts and Bunk Barn on a picturesque farm in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. Barns converted to a cafe/bistro, shop, comfortable facilities and luxury showers. Open every day with stunning views across the Yorkshire Dales, open moorland and beyond. Non-residents welcome to enjoy cafe, walks and views. 19th Century folly stone circle ‘The Druid’s Temple’ in the heart of 40 acres of woodland. Find a hearty Yorkshire welcome, with activities including climbing and foraging and (nearby) pony trekking, falconry and fly-fishing. Hot tub by the Woodland Shacks and massage treatments. Enjoy fresh air, long views, outdoor adventure, relaxation by the fires. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bivouac At Druid's Temple Masham/Ripon

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