Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal

Ripon, North Yorkshire

Yorkshire’s first World Heritage Site and Britain's largest monastic ruin in North Yorkshire.

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Get the camera ready. From the moment you see the towering arches of Fountains Abbey appearing through the trees, you’ll probably be snapping away all morning. Perched on the banks of the River Skell, the Abbey became Yorkshire’s first World Heritage site in 1986 and if you’re keen to find out more, there’s a free guided tour which takes in all the nooks and crannies.

As you wonder beneath the vaulted ceiling of the Cellarium, keep your eyes peeled for the bats that have made their home where the monks once slept. And don’t be alarmed if you see the hooded figures of Medieval monks shuffling around the grounds; it’ll be schoolchildren here to experience ‘a day in the life of a monk’ – dressed up especially for the part.

By now you’ll probably be getting peckish, so crack open the picnic box, spread out on the lawn and contemplate how on earth the Abbey is still here after 800 years of Yorkshire weather.

Once lunch has gone down, why not head across the estate to the Studley Royal Water Garden, for a wander around the ornamental lakes, canals and waterfalls. You might want to bring a spare memory card for the camera.

 

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